When the clocks go back, you know it’s winter. The benefits of that single extra hour in bed soon fade as it gets dark at 4.30pm and you wish you were tucked up on the couch instead of dashing around madly as college life starts to pick up the pace. Deadlines that seemed endlessly far away are suddenly tomorrow. Class tests are rampant, the nasty things. Mystery tours and balls and projects and essays descend in swarms.
The season to be jolly is approaching, though I refuse to name it directly, as it’s only early November and that heart-warming and ingenious Coke ad has yet to reach our screens. It is perhaps this stretch of the year between Hallow’een and the festive season that people are most in need of a little uplifting. I suggest the Heathrow flash mob T-Mobile ad for precisely this purpose. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll immediately want to hug your loved ones. Guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart. Failing this, go and find a puppy to cuddle. Scientifically proven to lower your stressed heart rate.
In events that were almost the exact opposite to hugging puppies, our government failed yet again to warm the cockles of anyone’s hearts this week at the fees protest, as the clocks seemed to be put back to a time of student revolution. Whatever your opinion on education cuts and the introduction of fees, the violent clashes between some protesters and the police at Merrion Row are shocking in the extreme. At the biggest student protest Ireland has seen since the 60s, there was bound to be some incidents, but there is something shocking to the core about seeing members of our Garda Siochana, the supposed ‘keepers of the peace’, beating seated protestors back with batons, dragging a girl by the hair and transforming one protestor’s face into a bloody mess.
Every member of a democratic society has the right to protest peacefully. If the violence caused by about 50 protestors outside the Department of Finance only served to weaken the overall message of the march, the Gardaí’s violent response has only bred outrage and caused students’ trust in our government and law enforcement to further plummet. The protest may have been a law enforcement nightmare, but their handling of the Merrion Row clashes left much to be desired.
It’s all fine though, there’s cheese on its way. Absolutely un-brie-lievable. As if turning the clocks back to the Famine, in a government scheme that has already predictably been dubbed ‘cheesegate’, 818, 000 euros worth of free cheese is being distributed to the needy in the run-up to the festive season, a token cheesy gesture that will fail to fill the holes in our Emmental economy. But enough of that doom and gloom. This week, among other things, the section looks at Wayne Rooney’s ridiculous pay increase, the immense power of the government watchdog website WikiLeaks and the Movember phenomenon. We’re young and hopeful in a tough time for the country. Let’s stay positive and keep each other warm as we face into winter with Glee’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ ringing in our ears.