Interesting selfconsciousness in that video: cabbie says "they should do it like France" (ie more violent) but the students wanted less violence, concerned how they'd appear to the "middle aged". We must ask ourrselves how the free-education middle class who grew up in the postwar consensus, "appear". Students need to understand the objective, systemic violence against them, not just the moral high-ground they appear to have over the unprovoked subjective police violence. And even just thinking in subjective violence fighting the police makes sense as they are preventing the protest. It doesn't matter how protesters "appear". 2003 alone showed how genteel protests do not sway parliament. This has always been the beauty of strike action. Like that, students have to FORCE politicians to listen.
We've heard "I listen to rational debate, not protest" from MPs too much. They do not listen, and even when defeated in arguments they still go ahead. The point of a protest is to threaten the government. That's doable electorally, sure, but this is too early for that.
Public order and the running of the economy are much more frightening things for the government. to lose. Hence "direct action".
A protest must not be a self-conscious action, as it is a form of expression, and self-expression is not subject to others' opinion. Anyway, there's an excellent history of criminal damage etc being quashed in court as it prevented a greater crime taking place - Kingsnorth being a recent example.
^ ramblings on twitter