20 September 2021 | OPINION
A cause will never be favourable to the public if it means a nuisance to the average, everyday lives of people trying to get to work, run the kids to school, or in the latest tragic tale, cause a mother to be paralysed after suffering a stroke as a result of a six-hour delay to the hospital. How many more lives of ordinary people must be tragically and severely affected by selfish and self-appointed eco-extremists before they stop, or the Government finally ceases to be a mere spectator throughout the course of these events?
Last week, the climate protests reached a new extreme. Insulate Britain took it upon their conceited and self-appointed selves to decide to protest in a new, outrageous and incredibly dangerous way, by sitting down at traffic lights on the M25, preventing members of the public from going about their lives freely and peacefully.
Some of the scenes of these protests which inevitably made their way to social media are disgraceful. On some occasions, it is clear that the police were there. Not to arrest the selfish protesters for causing such a nuisance at these ‘peaceful’ protests, but instead just to be on the scene; one wonders what the point of the police actually is if it is not to clear the streets, and apparently now motorways, of this loony lot.
On this occasion however, a tragedy occurred – not that it will be much of concern to these protesters, and nor will they show much remorse for a mother whose son was driving her to the hospital, having suffered a stroke, and who subsequently went on to become paralysed after being caught up in the protest that caused six hours of standstill traffic. The “heartbroken” son said he was forced to watch his mother “slip away”. How unimaginably painful. How inconceivably horrific.
What is most degrading and shameful about this heartbreaking incident is that only on the same day the story broke, the lonesome Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, waded in on the debate saying that the protests were “reasonable” and “legitimate”. One wonders whether she would have the guts to defend her comments to the woman left paralysed, and her son – and the numbers of other people who may have been late for work or hospital appointments? It is unlikely she would.
Are these totally inconsiderate protests really worth the collateral damage forced upon this mother, and indeed potentially many other people? Is the doom-and-gloom of the climate apocalypse fear-mongering justified, even if it means some people will suffer so tragically as a consequence of the actions of these protesters? Do they even care for the repercussions of their actions, and how many people must suffer to such great extents at the hands of the likes of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain before they cease to indulge in their ‘protests’?
Indeed, the extremist lengths that climate protesters go to know no bounds. Only last September, we saw an Extinction Rebellion protest preventing an ambulance from reaching a hospital in London, as a direct result of a traffic jam that it caused. And, in the same month, they “delayed the distribution of several national newspapers after blocking access to three printing presses owned by Rupert Murdoch” up and down the country, again supposedly in protest against climate change.
It should come as no surprise that these groups tend to be self-appointed, left-wing autocrats attempting to shut down freedom of the press – something we value greatly in Britain – and have clearly, on several occasions, prevented people from receiving the healthcare they so desperately need.
What is remarkable – though concerning, but not surprising – are the links between these green activist groups. Insulate Britain claim that they are an entirely independent operation to Extinction Rebellion, yet exposed WhatsApp group chat messages reveal that IB is using the same network of support from XR’s Police Station Support (PSS) service. This is a network of climate activists who come in to provide support – reinforcement, one might even suggest – for their comrades in committing ‘actions’ (as they’re fond of calling their work) to provide “moral support”, while arranging transport home or a place to stay the night after their release.
But to what extent will these eco-extremist groups go? Because evidently, inconveniencing ordinary people at the least, and preventing them from accessing vital – perhaps even life-saving – healthcare at the most, and impeding our democracy, doesn’t go far enough for the climate cause. This is in spite of the fact that Britain is world-leading in minimal carbon dioxide emissions, compared to countries like communist China. In 2020, the UK’s CO2 emissions had decreased by just under 5% from the previous year, as compared to China’s, which had increased by between 5% and 10%.
It certainly is convenient that these climate protesters choose to demonstrate in the comfort of their first-world democracies, as opposed to the gloomy and fatal alternative in China, whereby, should they attempt to protest, the world would probably see a repeat of Tiananmen Square. So in fact, they do value democracy – but only when it suits them.
Climate change is a legitimate cause – of course it is. But the democratic process of protest must not obstruct ordinary people to the extreme extent that life-altering changes are made, and other democratic processes are impeded – and this is despite the fact that these eco-extremists are failing to win the support of the public as a result of their outrageous actions.
Without the public on board in support, the press will not get on board, and whilst press coverage of these groups remains negative, this will almost certainly mean the Government will continue to ignore them. Ultimately, these extreme and selfish actions by climate protesters are self-destructive, and will only serve to bring down their cause. Not even a terror attack in the style of the anti-nuclear People’s Lobby would bring the Government to the table over climate conversations; sadly, though, it would probably take an extremist action like an act of terror, or an attempted act of terror, for the Government to proscribe these groups and take forceful action against them.
For now, these eco-warrior factions see themselves as untouchable, as so far they have gone untouched by the people in ‘power’.