Bill Carmichael: Why we must all condemn the Extinction Revolution and stinking hypocrisy of “do as I say, not as I do” environmentalists

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge, London, as commuters faced a fourth day of disruption.
Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge, London, as commuters faced a fourth day of disruption.
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IMAGINE you are in a zero hours, minimum wage job, paying your taxes, raising your family and just about surviving.

You’ve watched all the David Attenborough wildlife documentaries, believe global warming is an intensifying crisis and support moves to reduce carbon emissions – even though the Government’s green taxes hit poor people like you the hardest.

Extinction Rebellion protesters hold up buses in London.

Extinction Rebellion protesters hold up buses in London.

You have massively reduced your own carbon footprint, recycling everything, giving up flying (not that you could afford it anyway), and using the most environmentally responsible way of getting to work – crowded, expensive and unreliable public transport.

Then one morning you are on your way to work when you hear your train has been cancelled because some ex-public schoolboy, with a massive sense of entitlement, has glued himself to the carriage doors while his ‘‘OK Yah!’’ mates dance about on the train’s roof. What a lark!

You patiently try to explain to the protesters that if you are late for work again, not only will your pay be docked but your boss has also threatened you with the sack.

Dripping with sanctimony, Tim-Nice-But-Dim places his hand on his heart and says he “really, really cares” but you losing your job is a price well worth paying if it avoids a global climate catastrophe.

My question is this – if this happened to you do you think you would be more or less sympathetic towards the eco-zealots currently demonstrating in cities across the UK? I think I know the answer to that, especially after it emerged that the double-barrelled posh poster boy for Extinction Revolution has filled his social media output with photographs of him enjoying exotic locations around the globe. Presumably he didn’t walk there and instead has – whisper it quietly – frequently travelled in a gas-guzzling passenger jet!

The stinking hypocrisy of “do as I say, not as I do” environmentalists has long been legendary, from Prince Charles flying by private jet to pick up a conservation award, to Bono booking a first class British Airways seat to fly a hat he had left behind in London – all the while, of course, lecturing us lesser mortals on the evils of flying.

The current crop of young eco-warriors say climate disaster is almost upon us and completely justifies them breaking the law and disrupting people’s lives – yet they can’t even bring themselves to cancel their own gap-year jollies. Judge them not on their vacuous virtue signalling, but on their actual behaviour. As the now famous saying has it: “When those who say there’s a crisis, start acting like there’s a crisis, then I’ll believe there’s a crisis.”

And deliberately targeting those who are more likely to be sympathetic to your cause – people who are doing the right thing by using public transport – has to be the most bone-headed campaign tactic of recent years. Well done guys, you are hot favourites for the 2019 Idiot of the Year award.

And when the protesters see emergency ambulances stranded in the traffic jams they have deliberately created, does it not give them a pang of conscience? Obviously not.

These eco-warriors are so full of their own righteousness they can’t see the damage they inflict on their own objectives. Recently protesters from Extinction Revolution staged a demo in Sheffield, defacing the city centre with graffiti and blocking traffic on a busy road near the railway station.

I was not alone in wondering how by increasing congestion – and thereby massively increasing pollution in the city – the activists were helping the environment. Apparently their logic is that the climate crisis is so serious that they are determined to make it worse – or something like that.

When commuters pointed out that the demo was also damaging ordinary people just trying to get to work, they were met with blinking incomprehension as though the campaigners had just landed from another planet.

“Earthlings – what are these strange things called “jobs” of which you speak?”

I suspect that unless these immensely privileged (and overwhelmingly white!) activists make some effort to understand the struggles of ordinary working people – who desperately want to do right by the environment – then their campaign is doomed as yet another meaningless indulgence by the affluent and socially advantaged.