Just when you thought it was safe to travel into London again without getting caught up in the mayhem of yet another protest, climate change activists have organised a whole two weeks of it, which kicked off on October 7. Pictured: Climate change activists protesting on Lambeth Bridge, in London, on October 7, 2019. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Just when you thought it was safe to travel into London again without getting caught up in the mayhem of yet another protest, climate change activists have organised a whole two weeks of it, which kicked off on October 7.
"Extinction Rebellion UK" appears to be a rag-tag collective of millennial and post-middle-aged eco-warriors, with three attributes in common -- conservation, the love of the sound of their own voices, and having not enough to do with their time.
Not content with having already brought mayhem to London earlier in the year, or having brought Manchester to a standstill last month, or even having disrupted cities throughout the UK, during the September 20 "strike" -- where their school-age counterparts bunked off for the day to do the same thing, "XRUK" have planned to occupy parts of central London, supposedly "in an attempt to save the planet".
The protestors' strategy, an unusual one, has so far backfired. Rather than gaining support from those whose lives they are hindering by obstructing their passage to work, they are driving away people who, at least tacitly, might otherwise have supported them. How is someone to be taken seriously when appearing to hate the rest of humanity; communicating in emotionally driven hyperbole, then demanding respect -- all whilst wearing a "Fuck Boris" T-shirt?
Not just London will be affected. The protests at Trafalgar Square, the Home Office and the Mall, are expected to form, they claim, part of an "International Rebellion" involving 60 cities across the world. London's Metropolitan police -- already overstretched thanks to an ever-increasing threat of terrorism, and an epidemic of knife crime in the capital -- will be out in force to prevent protestors from again blocking crucial transport links, including the main bridges and roads.
The demonstrators, by utilising their right to protest, are putting the whole of London in danger. The chaos caused by blocking busy roads, spray-painting government buildings, or super-gluing themselves to bridges and gates, demonstrates one thing -- that the protestors they do not give a damn about the people in the world they claim so to cherish.
In what may well be the Year of the Child Stalking Horse, their poster child is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. With a lot of help from her wealthy parents, friends and a "P.R. guru", as well as the ubiquitous left-wing billionaire George Soros, Thunberg has led the way for similarly affected, whipped-up teenagers and others with a penchant for following the pack. This disparate group of uninformed middle-class pawns may not even realise that they are uninformed. They appear to have no idea of the scientific bankruptcy of their cause: Mother Earth seems not about to flatline.
While it is undoubtedly better not to choke the world with plastic, the Israelis and others have fortunately invented several varieties of a fibre as strong as plastic but as soluble as an orange peel – here, here, here and here – and often reportedly safely edible.
Rather than shedding some light on a difficult, and complex problem, the climate protestors seem merely to be fuelling the increasingly divisive world in which we live. As the former chief of staff of US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted this summer, the "Green New Deal" was not conceived as an effort to deal with climate change, but instead a "how-do-you-change-the-entire economy thing".
What they seem to want to change it into, however, is socialism: governmental control of the economy, including the means of production and distribution. Historically, socialism has only led to lowered standards of living and rationing for everyone, to cut costs. Here in the UK, in the National Health Service, qualified people apparently do not want to work hard for less. Everyone ends up poorer and with services that are wanting.
In the US, the history of government-controlled medical care for veterans has been a horror show. The Trump administration finally this summer offered veterans a private option. Public education has also been found inadequate: most voters support school choice. U.S. President Barack Obama did not send his children to a government-run school. What is needed is growth: a free economy with better education and the creation of more jobs -- "making the pie bigger" or growing a "garden" -- rather than attacking the "rich" [read: middle class] and blaming them for inequalities.
How many of these Earth-loving demonstrators do you suppose enjoyed a summer vacation abroad in an ozone destroying airplane? How many would have happily cancelled their European jaunt, or backpacking around Asia in their gap year for the sake of the planet? How many would be throwing wobblies on Twitter had their chosen airline been on strike, or their hotels been shut down for the two weeks of their stay because of a protest?
Their "cause", right or wrong, seems to be what matters. Even as they are cheered along by doting parents, political agitators and junk science, the sad fact remains that solar flares -- apparently the leading cause of climate change -- do not award monetary research grants.
These terrified, tearful demonstrators truly seem to believe they are doing something useful for humanity, when in fact, they are often just being used by power-hungry politicians and bottom-line-hungry corporations, who dream of overturning the economy to make themselves rich and the rest of us poor -- the invariable pattern of socialism whether in Russia, Cuba or Venezuela.
These impressionable souls, whose imaginations have evidently been captured, are mainly simply making life more difficult than it needs to be for those of us who actually have to go to work to earn a living. When the closest one has ever got to an occupation is by occupying other another person's place of work, the right to preach morality appears a dubious one.
Andrew Ash is based in the United Kingdom.