Don's diary

December 3, 1999

Saturday

It is the first weekend in a while that I have properly concentrated on my university work. The extra academic work this year has meant I have had to give up my part-time job in a Christmas gift shop. I will apply for another loan next week.

Sunday

Wanted to visit my parents today but am already behind with my work. Intended to read some of my books, but instead spend most of the day discussing coursework with my flatmate. Try to get someone to write an article for Rhubarb, the Kingston University student paper for which I am news editor, about Thursday's national student march but no one seems interested.

Monday

Lectures all morning, late again. Meet up with friends for coffee in the bar. I ask whether they are going to Thursday's march. They say: "What's the point?" Tuition fees are already in place and grants were swiped behind our backs. It is a bit late for protests.

Seminar discussing the decline of Britain. Have we modernised or declined? I argue that we have modernised because now everyone is provided for. In the afternoon I change my mind after a trip to the bank; must get my overdraft extended to pay the rent.

Tuesday

Lectures at 1pm, study in the library for an hour or so before going to the union - someone has handed in an article for Rhubarb at last! Subject: apathy. Funny how everyone seems to want to talk about apathy. Ask a fellow student if she is going to the march. Slightly depressed to be told that she got her degree before tuition fees were introduced and hence cares not a jot. Accuse her of being a Thatcherite. Cheer myself up by having a few pints.

Wednesday

Still have no one to write about the march - it is meant to be my front page. I know it won't even make page 13 in the nationals. Another student tells me that the National Union of Students proved its powerlessness when it failed to halt the introduction of tuition fees. Spend afternoon in union putting newspaper together, then go to library to do some coursework.

Thursday

Between 5,000 and 10,000 students from all over Britain march past the Houses of Parliament. 1,025 plastic ducks representing Tony Blair "ducking" student hardship are thrown in the Thames, where they are hit by a large wave of indifference. The Socialist Workers party and marchers from Reclaim the Streets provide extra "contraversial" banners, then stage a sit-in. Riot police get involved. The march features on the six o'clock news, but what has it really achieved?

Friday

Nothing in today's press. How are students supposed to drum up support if even the media does not take an interest? Kingston Student Union's president says (again) that student apathy is to blame. Ponder debating this in the next edition of Rhubarb; decide I cannot be bothered.

Francis Gudgeon is a third-year history student at Kingston University and news editor of Rhubarb, the Kingston University student paper.

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