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11 Aug, 2021 14:11

Extinction Rebellion's infantile plan to cause chaos in London will only put off those it supposedly wants to attract to its cause

Extinction Rebellion's infantile plan to cause chaos in London will only put off those it supposedly wants to attract to its cause

With Greece literally on fire and a climate change report sounding the alarm, Extinction Rebellion protesters are choosing to smash windows and cause mayhem for commuters in London rather than doing anything approaching useful.

As if the nation’s bosses haven’t got a hard enough job trying to convince people to return to their offices for work, now the tone-deaf lunkheads from Extinction Rebellion are planning to make it even more difficult for put-upon wage slaves to earn their crust.

If the protesters are serious about doing their bit to help climate change, it would make more sense if we sent them all off to Greece, where they could fight wildfires and do something useful. We could even waive the mandatory PCR tests on day two of their return from the flaming suburbs of Athens.

Or maybe we could organise a trip to China, where the wealthy Western activists could try their luck against the stone-faced Communist Party leadership in urging them to do something about the 25% of all global emissions they produce? Maybe try to persuade Xi Jinping and his pals to stop building all those coal-burning facilities?

That would be time and money well spent. Certainly more productive than antagonising the weary public they are supposedly trying to get onside by destroying private and public property and clogging up the capital’s thoroughfares, in a student-level political debate that involves chucking paint everywhere and breaking a few windows.

XR’s planned return to the streets of the capital from August 23 – while the climate-change-enhanced weather is still warm – is a reprise of the massive disruption they brought to the capital in 2019 and initially plans to last for two weeks, but maybe even longer, until the government agrees to the immediate cessation of all public investment in fossil fuels. 

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I don’t really want to be the one to poop in their tent, but that ain’t gonna happen.

The lengthy protests in April and October two years ago, where numbers were bolstered by the attendance of bored, middle-class women from the well-off Home Counties, cost Joe Public £37 million in policing.

Ironically, the most memorable images of the chaos at the time were not of people playing African drums on Waterloo Bridge and singing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, but of frustrated commuters dragging protesters from the top of Tube carriages who were preventing the trains from running as they sought to get to work.

And after all that inconvenience and mind-numbing virtue-signalling, literally hundreds of the obstruction charges and fines issued against activists in the wake of those protests were later dismissed, adding to the cost of their actions and intensifying the irritation most of us feel towards those who seek to make difficult lives even more so.

But Extinction Rebellion hasn’t had it all its own way. A flurry of police activity in June broke up a planned protest against the press targeting newspaper offices and print works. XR pushes the line that the mainstream media has long colluded with global forces to deny the existence of climate change or distort its effects through biased reporting.

The ‘Code Red’ headlines of the last few days, following the release of a report from UN’s international panel on climate change, might suggest to some that this is not actually the case – but the naive, woke self-righteousness of Extinction Rebellion doesn’t counter opposition. If they say the Man is to blame, then that’s how it is. And if you disagree, you’re a climate denier or a fascist or a carnivore, and you don’t ride a bicycle.

All this, of course, is a dress rehearsal for what we might expect at the UN’s COP26 climate event in Glasgow starting at the end of October. The problem XR (ER, surely?) faces in trying to cause mayhem while global leaders try to talk tough about a universal challenge – and enjoy all those sustainably sourced banquets – is that at such events the local forces of law and order are less relaxed about scruffy protesters gluing themselves to street furniture, causing criminal damage, or throwing bricks and bottles.


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People tend to get hurt, and extended scenes of running battles with the police played out on the evening news bulletins are not what the organisers want, so they crack down fast and hard to quell any unseemly outbursts.

That puts XR on the back foot. So to make a point, they choose to inconvenience the working stiffs of the City of London, commuters weary of WFH heading off for some face time with colleagues, and the Metropolitan Police, who dare not raise a finger for fear of being filmed while clumping activists with their truncheons.

This is not protesting from Extinction Rebellion. It’s posturing. If they really mean action, then grab a flight to Athens. There are still plenty of seats available.

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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.