Radical activists pose a threat to climate action and civil society

Anna McGovern

November 9, 2021

“Be Impossible, Demand The Realistic.” An “impossible” notion set forward unitedly by Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, who on their terms, are being completely reasonable.

Both declaring themselves as a “non-violent civil disobedience movement,” they claim that their unorthodox methods are inspired from past demonstrations such as anti-apartheid resistance and the actions of the suffragettes; a superficially convenient mitigation to “justify” their ludicrous actions. It is ostensibly rational, too, to cause mass hysteria to thousands of commuters, disrupting their daily lives and blocking ambulances with dying patients all in the purpose of saving the planet. Let’s not forget that Tracey Mallaghan, an active campaigner for Insulate Britain, would happily let her mother have a near-fatal stroke in a traffic jam of their own doing for the obstinate sake of their cause. 

We know that Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, has declared his open defiance against these civil disobedience movements, stipulating that the Government will “never be in tune with Extinction Rebellion nor Insulate Britain’s doctrines.” Priti Patel, too, has recently set out measures to curtail these disruptive protests, specifically focusing on criminalising the interference of crucial national infrastructures. 

Has this put them off? Insulate Britain, in response to these measures, affirmed further action: “You can throw as many injunctions at us as you like, but we are going nowhere.” 

Extinction Rebellion feel no remorse for how their actions may impact others on a national scale, as long as their message is being delivered. With the recent launch of Insulate Britain, which Extinction Rebellion publicly endorse and support, we now have two imbecilic groups operating under the same egomaniacal agenda to force their proclamations down other people’s throats.

The world is at attention to the developments of COP26, accompanied gracefully by Greta Thunberg’s unsolicited attendance and “blah blah blah.” Yet we cannot help but turn our minds towards the deranged nature of these two social activist groups and the futile actions that follow them so — we don’t have a choice either way, as they cause major disruption and disorder in how we go about our daily lives. With Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain now emulating one another in their eccentric protesting mechanisms, I propose that it is time for these “activists” to wake up, change their tact, and realise that their actions are fundamentally flawed.   

In reference to Extinction Rebellion protestors smashing nineteen windows of the HSBC headquarters building in Canary Wharf, Rabina Khan, councillor for Tower Hamlets, reported how a young man freshly out of prison asked her: “If those white women can smash Barclay’s windows in Canary Wharf, why can’t we smash the town hall windows for cutting youth centres?”. Her response, which many would not have a difficult time agreeing with, is that “you cannot go around causing criminal damage and putting yourself and others at risk just because you don’t like something.” 

Moreover, we recently had Insulate Britain declaring the M25 as “a site of nonviolent civil resistance” on the 27th of October, publishing the following demands:

  • People do not use the M25, or that if they do, speeds are reduced to 20mph to minimise the risk of accidents. 
  • The Highway agency acts on its responsibilities to keep the public safe by enforcing this speed limit. 
  • The police refuse to arrest us, as we are upholding the British constitution and they have a duty to refuse to obey any government that fails to uphold its first and most important responsibility: the protection of people in Britain. 

This followed after an additional injunction was granted in opposition against the environmental group’s protests, covering the “entire strategic road network”.  

The entitlement and narcissism of these individuals speak volumes for their actions alone. What gives them the right to break the law, deny other people their freedom and cause mass disruption of their daily lives, simply to get their initiative across? What makes them better than everyone else? 

“Be Impossible, Demand The Realistic” — a realistic notion, in their eyes, to give up cheap meat, heating, travelling on a plane, and cut down on water usage — to prevent climate change. What gives them the right to deny the luxuries that we take for granted, and oppose those from third world countries from ever experiencing?

I applaud initiatives that organisations such as the Conservative Environment Network and the British Conservation Alliance set forward, raising awareness of issues surrounding climate change and proposing sensible solutions in how to solve them. They did not block major roads, dance around next to Parliament like a circus parade and pageant a naked OnlyFans star across excessive publicity stunts to do this.  

Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain are, rather than gathering support, alienating voters and turning wider society against their cause. There should be no sympathy offered to the negligent lawbreakers that cause criminal damage, propose a major disruption in people’s daily lives and fundamentally put the lives of those not involved in the protests at risk. As Greta Thunberg so eloquently sets forward: “you can shove your climate crisis up your arse.”

Author

  • Anna McGovern

    Anna McGovern is a social and political commentator and an Executive Director for Terrestres Servo Coronas (TSC Commonwealth). Anna is an award-winning national humanitarian and social action campaigner, working in education and studying BA English at Queen Mary, University of London. You can follow her on Twitter: @AnnaMcGovernUK

Written by Anna McGovern

Anna McGovern is a social and political commentator and an Executive Director for Terrestres Servo Coronas (TSC Commonwealth). Anna is an award-winning national humanitarian and social action campaigner, working in education and studying BA English at Queen Mary, University of London. You can follow her on Twitter: @AnnaMcGovernUK

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