I suppose it is every left-y parents' dread that their kids will rebel against them by becoming Young Conservatives, Born Again Christians - or doing a degree in Marketing.
But when my daughter led the student walkout from her school yesterday, my feelings went way beyond relief. Not because she simply joined in the protests but because she used the full force of her teenage smart-arsery (which we are usually on the receiving end of) to challenge and face down the authorities at her school. We are all slightly nervous of what the repercussions of this might be today - some teachers are taking a principled stand in supporting the students - but the spiteful wrath of humiliated authority cannot be underestimated.
Fingers crossed on that account. She has already experienced the arbitrary and naked misuse of power when she, along with thousands of others were kettled by the police for eight hours on the coldest day of the year. I had given her some advice about how to handle being in a situation that like - but nothing in all my years of demos and protests has come close to that experience. It is a conscious tactic to intimidate protest. And I suspect to create situations - such as the unsurprising trashing of a police van conveniently 'left' in the middle of the kettle - which will make good media stories to de-legitimize protest.
Someone I spoke to this morning told me that I was irresponsible to encourage my daughter (as if she needs any encouragement). I said that the day had more genuine educational value than any school trip to the Houses of Parliament to learn about our political system or so-called 'civics' lessons - and watching the manipulated news coverage is worth any amount of 'media studies'.
Here's to the future - there's still hope ...