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On my way home tonight, passing Pimlico School, I saw a couple of policemen inside the gates. I prickled, thinking poor them, it’s so cold and they’ve got to go in there and find someone who’s disappeared over the fence or something.
It turned out there was something less dramatic but just as interesting and exciting going on. A group of ex-governors are protesting against the demolition of the school and its transformation into an Academy. They were helped by some anti-grafitti artists who used a high-pressure hose to clean off the words “Anti Academy School” on the front wall.
I went and filled their hot-water bottles for them – it’s bloody cold out there and then came back for a chat. They were keen for me to climb over, but the combination of my inflexible legs, the anti-climb paint and my general scaredy-catness meant that I conducted my interview from the other side of locked gates. One of the protestors, Hank, very kindly rigged up an alternative ladder combo to help me, but I gratefully declined.
I spoke to Anthea Masey about what they were doing there. The interview petered out as we were interrupted by a year 10 pupil from the school who was passing but didn’t want to be seen on camera but had a lot to say in praise of the school as it is.
I have no opinion on this issue either way – I personally think the building’s ugly. I can imagine how uncomfortable the classrooms are when the sun shines. I know nothing of the academic record or merits of the case for the current regime, Westminster Council or the protestors, but I’m happy to lend a hand to people who are passionate enough to spend a night under the stars on a
freezing February monkey-ball-freezing March night in order to have a say on what they believe in.
Much is written about generational divides, mostly about frightened older people disturbed by young hoodies. Tonight I witnessed a different one where the spirit of protest lives on in those over 50 while 14-year-olds think making a stand like this is pointless and stupid.