The royal attack has distracted attention away from fees

The public sympathy the students deserved will now go to Charles and Camilla.

As I feared, the attack on the royal car has distracted much attention away from the fact that we now have the highest public university fees in the world. The assault dominates this morning's front pages, with only the Independent and the Financial Times relegating it to the inside.

The return of student protest is one of the most inspiring developments in recent years, but yesterday's Robespierre wannabes have ensured that the public sympathy the students deserved will now go to Charles and Camilla. Had it not been for the attack, the story would have been one of Lib Dem betrayal and extortionate fees.

Meanwhile, in a chilling interview with the Today programme, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Paul Stephenson, declared that the "officers who were protecting the Royal Highnesses showed very real restraint. Some of those officers were armed."

The revelation that the police considered shooting students gives us an indication of just how high tensions are running.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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