One of the most striking things about yesterday’s student protests, culminating in the ransacking of Conservative Party HQ at Millbank Tower, was not the numbers involved (50,000 or so), or the violence (sporadic and not very serious), but the shiny and sterile quality of many of the images of dissent we’ve been offered in today’s papers.

Window smashing

This iconic moment of window smashing was a gift to the Daily Mail, but doesn’t exactly justify their description of ‘militants from far-Left groups’ who ‘whipped up a mix of middle-class students and younger college and school pupils into a frenzy’. The phalanx of photographers at the back clearly outnumber any militants or frenzied schoolchildren in the shot.

In other photographs the whole thing appears incredibly sanitised, as though it were part of a fashion shoot or music video. Here the protesters look more like members of a boy-band than violent revolutionaries:

This picture was on the Daily Mail site, too, but they’ve taken it down, presumably having realised that it doesn’t quite tell the story they’d like it to, though it surely doesn’t tell the story the protesters would like it to either.