On Saturday, I was in Bloomsbury and watched the march against the cuts go by. Apart from the slightly surreal experience, as a Lib Dem, of watching the crowds go by chanting against the government and realising they mean us, the whole thing appeared to be passionate, enthusiastic, well meaning and orderly.
The rest of the day proved an illuninating experience for me as the various forms of digital media I use brought varous different slants on the story.
Firstly, I leant from Twitter via Guido Fawkes that Aaron Porter had been arrested for his own safety.
This gave vent to one stream of comment on the story - that Aaron Porter had lost the support of a sizable part of his constituency.
I then learnt on The Guardian that in fact, violence had featured in both Manchester (seemingly targetting the NUS leadership) and London. You can link to the story here
Then I learnt from Martin Bright (@martinbright on twitter) and also the Union of Jewish Students that there had been anti semitic chants aimed at Porter - which is a disgrace.
And finally I was tweeted by Liberal Conspiracy - with a piece questioning the veracity of the reports about the abuse aimed at Porter - and suggesting it might be a smokescreen to obscure the real issues at hand.
So, depending on who you believe:
1. The London protest was hijacked by anarchists
2. The Manchester protest turned on the NUS leadership
3. The NUS leadership was targeted with anti semitic abuse
4. The abuse story was cooked up by media with an axe to grind.
All in the space of about 12 hours.
The real point being: Whatever your view on the issues of cuts and student funding, thousands of good natured students (and others) with a legitimate view to express have had their protests drowned out by a load of competing groups obscuring the original issue.
Which I think is a disgrace in itself.