Trouble at Lib Dem HQ?


London riots

Tomorrow will see student protests happening in Edinburgh culminating in a demonstration at Scottish Liberal Democrat HQ in Edinburgh.  I truly hope that the demonstration will pass off without violence or damage to property but reading the Facebook page created for the event leaves me a little worried.  The organisers of the event say that they ‘intend to teach the LibDems a lesson’ but not quite sure what they mean by this.  Here are just some of the comments on the site:


“are things likely to kick off because I’m sure more people would be interested if there was a prospect of violence?” – G Ward

“Can’t we just go London style and wreck the place? or is this frowned upon?” – R Kelly

As hundreds of students forced their way into the Tory HQ in London this month there were only 20 uniformed officers on hand to deal with the situation.  More than 30 people were arrested and 14 others were injured.

So I’d be interested to know the following from Lothian & Borders Police:

  • Have they spoken to their colleagues at Metropolitan Police to learn the lessons from London?
  • What level of policing will they be providing to ensure public order?
  • Have they been using intelligence such as reading online chatter about the event to assess the risk to persons and property?

Personally I have concerns for the safety both of the staff at Lib Dem HQ and the majority of students who will be there to protest peacefully.  As we saw from London it only took a small number of idiots to damage the entirely legitimate student protest.  I recently spoke at the NUS Council Conference in support of free education and my concerns about tuition fees echo those recently made by former Dundee University rector Craig Murray here. For the sake of the cause of free education let’s hope that tomorrows demonstration is a peaceful one.




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