“When I was asked to speak at University College London’s campaign for a living wage for college cleaners, a couple of months back, I was not expecting that many students to turn up – but things turned out differently.
On Thursday, the day of the meeting, a student occupation was in full swing. The epicentre in the Jeremy Bentham room – where protesters are still camped out – was packed to bursting. A living wage, with the outsourced cleaners brought back in-house, had become one of their key demands. Here, as elsewhere, what started as protests about tuition fees accelerated into a political movement against cuts of all kinds. Inequality, poverty, the shredding of public services, unemployment, bankers and boardroom bonuses had become part of the protest. One fight, one struggle, they said, as if 40 years had suddenly fallen away. Not exactly Paris 1968, but in their sit-in meetings they were beginning to see themselves as the vanguard for a wider campaign. Thatcher’s children, selfish, materialist, apathetic? Not at all.”