I am beginning to form a theory about something which has perplexed me for quite a few years now - why is it that the youth of Britain go out onto the streets every night and behave as if they have just been told that the end of the world is about to happen at 5.00 a.m. the following morning?
Because, I am beginning to believe - the world is about to end for them, and they need to get a lifetime's worth of cavorting in, in a very short period of time.
Scotland Yard has today announced that they are training more Metropolitan Police in the use of plastic bullets, so they must know something that the drunken students suspect. When the time comes to pull the triggers, I doubt if it will be the students they are aiming at though - it's more likely to be the teachers that are out on strike today, giving their charges an extra 8 hours of drinking time in the Union bar.
In my day, it was the students who demonstrated against the 'system' - something that caused even more resentment amongst taxpayers, since we all had huge grants to support us whilst we sat on our arses in the street. These days, the average student leaves college with a debt of about £20,000 - half of which went on tuition fees, and the other half on alcohol.
Being an ex Guildford School of Art revolutionary, I was invited to give a talk to the sit-in students of Canterbury school of art in 1972. I was amazed to find that the Canterbury crew did not have a clue what had occurred only four years previously, and spent their brief period of occupation drinking themselves stupid in the union bar, to the great embarrassment of their union representatives who had invited me in the first place. Nothing has changed in the 40 odd years since then, other than that I am more likely to join them in the bar to help drown their sorrows and dispose of their student loans.
It's an expensive business, this striking, but someone has to do it.