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23 Nov, 2020 18:11

Extinction Rebellion now encouraging financial crime as climate protest turns into anti-capitalism madness

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
Extinction Rebellion now encouraging financial crime as climate protest turns into anti-capitalism madness

Initially promoted as climate activists, Extinction Rebellion attracted well-off, middle-aged women but a new anti-capitalist campaign could see supporters lose homes, be jailed for fraud or denied credit as extremists take over.

After their attack on freedom of the press by blockading national newspaper printworks backfired, having been condemned from all sides, the perpetual students of Extinction Rebellion have devised a new campaign that is not only self-destructive – it’s idiotic.

The big new idea is Money Rebellion. Yep, and you thought it was all about the climate. The brand new cunning stunt encourages financial fraud on a grand scale because of the “political economy’s complicity” in the climate crisis.

If followed, their plans could see supporters lose their homes, have their credit scores trashed or even end up jailed for fraud.

Wildly overstating Extinction Rebellion’s importance and its following by referencing Gandhi’s resistance to the salt tax, the Mexican farmer-led El Barzon debt resistance movement and er, incongruously, the poll tax protests in the UK as examples of overturning injustice and changing the course of history, their toolkit now encourages “rebels” to apply for a Barclays credit card, take out credit on it and refuse to repay the money. The fact that taking out credit or a loan which you have no intention of repaying is fraud, a criminal offence, and can quite easily land you in jail, is not deemed worth a warning.

Alternatively, there’s the small business tax strike idea. The suggestion is to underpay taxes by £5 and send that money to Extinction Rebellion to invest in green recovery.

Surely, and I’m deeply sorry if I have missed the whole point here, but don’t we have elected politicians from all sorts of parties, including a well-supported Green Party, to collect and spend our taxes on policy platforms that a majority of the nation broadly support? There are think tanks, climate experts, and arguably even Extinction Rebellion to help refine the issues and the direction of travel if needed.

We don’t need a second Treasury run by climate activists. Thanks for the thought.

It might be boring to suggest but to provoke the taxman is madness. Anyone who has had to deal with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs will wholeheartedly agree that deliberately sabotaging your own tax payments and attempting to short-change the Treasury is a fool’s errand. It’s the same as a prisoner’s dirty protest where no-one cares that you’ve covered yourself and your cell in faeces, set course on that path and you’re the one who has to live with it.

And this is just the start of the Money Rebellion. With banks as designated targets, Barclays and HSBC chosen as specific villains, there are more whacked-out suggestions about occupying the bank branch, hogging queue places to bombard staff with questions about the climate, cutting up your bank card on social media, plastering ATMs with stickers, gluing the branch door locks, turning the branch into a climate “crime scene” and cooking up fake oil – recipe provided – to splatter all over the front of your local outpost.

None of these are a good idea. Not only does it show that these numb-nuts have clearly not visited their deserted local high streets in months, but they’ve not even bothered to give a second’s thought to those who do actually visit a bank branch – when it happens to be open – these days.

Also on rt.com XR’s stupid stunts are masking the fact that the establishment agrees with its ridiculous aims

Customers are made up of the elderly with their cheque books and non-internet-able inquiries seeking elusive customer service, shop owners with bags of coins to deposit, and more humble inquirers on their knees seeking a loan or payment holiday to tide them over as work has dried up but the bills keep coming.

These ordinary folk will not be happy to have their efforts to stay on top of their own perilous finances derailed by self-absorbed virtue signallers holding the mistaken belief that they have been handpicked by Sir David Attenborough as de facto defenders of the planet.

Ironically, it is these bank customers who, if Extinction Rebellion were paying any attention at all, are exactly the sort of people who willingly change their behaviour in order to do their bit for the planet.

A poll just out shows that it’s the over-35s who are leading the charge on climate change, and not the millennials and Zoomers who might be making all the noise but are not really not up for any sort of commitment.

Energy supplier Pure Planet, who commissioned the poll from Opinium, found that half of those over the age of 55 say they shop locally, buy fewer clothes that last longer, and try to avoid single-use plastics. Only around a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds said they do the same.

But it only goes so far. Before the climate activists start calling on the boomers to default on their Barclaycard payments, it should also be noticed that real, hand-in-the-pocket gestures are not as palatable as all that.

Opinium found climate tax proposals would receive a muted welcome just a week after Boris Johnson announced a “green industrial revolution.” Only 11 percent of those asked backed the idea of a road tax pegged to the distance a motorist drives; just 14 percent favour an extra tax on diesel, and only 17 percent thought a cap on how often people fly was a good idea.

With that basement-level support for the type of grand-scale, behaviour-changing taxes that are needed to make a real difference indicative of how far people are prepared to commit financially to a cause, it is naive for Extinction Rebellion to expect people to risk losing their homes and even jail to make an indirect point about the financial system somehow being largely responsible for climate change.

It’s one thing to buy a bag for life for £1 to spare a bit of single-use plastic. It is quite another to refuse to pay a mortgage which results in having your home repossessed and your family kicked out on the street.

The climate warriors of Extinction Rebellion have failed miserably once more to understand the public mood. The last thing their well-educated, comfortable and middle-aged supporters want is financial mayhem. That’s certainly not what they signed up for.

As feared, this climate campaign group has been overtaken by socialist extremists bent on overthrowing capitalism, starting with the financial system. It’s an old play, but an obvious one and a final reveal of the true socialist wolf disguised in climate-activist sheep’s clothing.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.