They’re back: banners, bull horns, whistles, and threats of strikes. Unions, students and internet activists lost no time in the new year launching themselves at ministers’ plans for cuts—and at ministers. Jeremy Hunt was the target of one boisterous disruption, as 30 students banging drums invaded the culture minister’s talk at the LSE.
It’s noisy; is it serious? Yes, say Ed Howker and Shiv Malik in “The new age of protest.” They argue that the scale of unrest is a threat to the coalition, and that even though union power has dwindled, the sour disaffection of a new generation could take its place. That’s surely right.
Across Europe, unions say they plan more strikes than for 30 years. Fear of the new austerity flickers through Prospect this month. Roger Boyes describes how tough times have inspired German nostalgia for Prussia, while Vicky Pryce, a leading City economist, writes of the struggles of her native Greece to keep its young people. In the US, Dahlia Lithwick relates how Republicans want to scrap the rule that if you’re born there, you’re American. Sam Knight reports on the regret at the space shuttle’s last flight; Nick Harkaway says the new superhero films reflect American anxiety.