What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability… Too often police seem to care about the thugs not the victims, writes LEO MCKINSTRY
Arrogance, self-righteousness and immaturity are among the many faults of the radical green agitators. To that list can be added a chronic lack of any sense of irony.
For at the very moment our country is desperate for cheaper energy, these radicals want to make the generation of power even more expensive by halting the use of oil and gas, as well as disrupting supply networks.
They bleat about ‘fuel poverty’ but their policies would inevitably lead to blackouts and further dramatic hikes in energy bills.
The ongoing protests at Thurrock in Essex are typical of their attention-seeking, self-indulgent style. Organised by the group Just Stop Oil – which now joins the green hall of infamy alongside the permanent adolescents of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain – they are designed to halt deliveries of oil from the huge plant at the site.
The group did not entirely succeed in that goal, thanks to the Essex police, but other supply chains were stopped, including the local council’s refuse collection service and the distribution of newspapers, including this one, from the major printing facility at Thurrock.
For at the very moment our country is desperate for cheaper energy, these radicals want to make the generation of power even more expensive by halting the use of oil and gas, as well as disrupting supply networks
This is a timeline of how the mayhem unfolded when activists blocked an oil tanker on Sunday evening
Winston Churchill once wrote that ‘a free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize’. But, according to police, this is not enough to have it classified as an ‘essential service’, so no attempt was made to clear the way for the Mail’s lorries on Sunday night.
What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability.
A group like Just Stop Oil has no mandate to block lorries or vandalise petrol pumps – as they did last week – but their members think that the justice of their cause gives them the right to hold our nation to ransom.
And the Thurrock protest by Just Stop Oil is only part of a wider programme of mass chaos planned for the autumn. As Extinction Rebellion warns on its website, in early September there is to be major rally in central London, preceded by direct action stunts including a ‘Paint the Streets’ initiative.
This will then be followed in October by ‘the Big One’, another monster meeting in the capital which will be at the centre of ‘a prolonged period of disruption until the Government agrees to establish an independent Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice’.
The call for the Assembly will be accompanied by a drive to sign up at least 100,000 people for ‘major, non-violent, civil resistance’. In uncompromising tones, Extinction Rebellion states that ‘we will refuse to leave until our demands are met’.
The right to protest is a fundamental part of our civilisation. However the antics of Just Stop Oil and the other dogmatists go way beyond that. Their behaviour has shown that they are the enemies of freedom.
Thanks to activists who glue their hands to the tarmac of arterial routes, van drivers deliver their goods late, business people en route to airports miss their planes and children turn up late for school.
What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability. Pictured: An activist from Just Stop Oil seen on top of a tanker in an attempt to block the main road to Oil Terminal in Grass, Essex
All too often police come across as being more concerned with the welfare of the protesters than the ordinary working people whose lives they make a misery.
In one video clip released online, a police officer tells a group of demonstrators: ‘If any of you need anything, just let us know.’
Not surprisingly, perhaps, furious motorists are sometimes tempted to take the law into their own hands. But anyone who makes any attempt to drag away protesters themselves is physically prevented from doing so by police officers.
Under legislation such as the Public Order Act or the ban on Obstructing a Public Highway, the police do have the authority to break up threatening demonstrations.
But the scenes at Thurrock at the weekend reinforced the need for the police to be given stronger powers to tackle these irresponsible, anti-democratic trouble-makers.
When Parliament returns, Tory MPs should unite to ensure that legislation imposing tougher sentences for their criminal behaviour is passed as soon as possible.
What is certain is that the wreckers cannot be allowed to gain the upper hand. In a country already gripped by an energy crisis, their outlook is a recipe for disaster and dislocation.
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