It is unacceptable for Extinction Rebellion to deny the right of free passage - Bernard Ingham

Every Wednesday

Extinction Rebellion protesters gather in Whitehall on August 24, 2021 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images).

Tony Blair effectively called President Joe Biden an imbecile for his reckless withdrawal from Afghanistan.

There is also a lot I find baffling in Britain these days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

How’s this for starters?

The wokerati, hypersensitive banners, cancellers, statue-shifters and gender fluidity.

Worse still, their nonsense is rife in universities and major institutions – even the House of Lords in requiring every member to go for potty training on how to treat others.

The anti-vaxxers so steeped in Trotskyite conspiracy theory that they think the Government is interfering with their genes instead of just wanting to protect us all from Covid-19.

Have they never heard of long-standing vaccines for smallpox, rabies, scarlet fever, ‘flu, measles, chickenpox, cholera and polio?

Some might say let the unpunctured risk it, if they are so daft.

But that ignores how many – even vaccinated – they may take with them to hospital or the grave.

The members of the Unite union who have just elected – or just 12 per cent of them – a hard Leftie as their general secretary to follow “Red Len” McCluskey . If that isn’t imbecilic apathy, I don’t know what is.

Don’t they want an electable Labour Opposition –or are they too lazy to help get one? Sharon Graham, the union’s first woman general secretary, has pledged to concentrate on the shop floor instead of Westminster politicking while effectively putting Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, on probation or to ransom.

No like your policies, no brass, she seems to be telling him.

And does the rank and file of Unite welcome the election of a leader who, given the chance, will haul them out on strike – at no cost to herself – while targeting top industrialists and their families with “leverage” tactics?

That means harrying bosses and their families personally while directly damaging their business.

I thought Margaret Thatcher had outlawed secondary picketing.

Is there any hope for the Labour Party while it is dominated by militants who are so besotted with the class war that they seem oblivious of the real service they could render their members by working for the success of their firms.

Which brings me effortlessly to Extinction Rebellion.

They are in the later stages this week of a fortnight’s campaign to complete the job of closing down central London enthusiastically pursued by Mayor Sadiq Khan, like a lot of other local authority leaders, by narrowing streets and widening cycle lanes in the name of the environment.

The result: more air pollution by traffic brought to a standstill or reduced to a crawl – unless you are the Mayor driving in convoy to take the dog for a walk.

Imbecilic seems to be too kind a word for this sort of campaigning which puts the public’s back up in the bargain.

But it is no more imbecilic than the average run of climate change rebels who will fly in from all over the world in a cloud of CO2 for November’s United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow.

Up to 30,000, including Ministers and hangers on, are expected.

I have long believed that one of the real contributions the UN could make to slowing global warming would be to end these COP (Conference of the Parties) festivals – this is the 26th –which bring together the finest selection of hypocrites to be found on this planet. I speak of political leaders who promise the earth and deliver little and environmental zealots apparently blind to their own blighting of the atmosphere.

A couple of years ago Extinction Rebellion excelled themselves in the pollution stakes in disrupting the capital.

According to councillors, they dumped 120 tons of rubbish on central London’s streets at a clean-up cost of around £50,000.

Is this evidence of a one-track mind oblivious to all but atmospheric pollution?

But the real challenge they bring is to the economy now recovering from an 18-month pandemic that is still with us and our basic freedoms.

It is simply unacceptable in the land of the free for a minority to deny people the right of free passage whether on foot or by vehicle.

In short, I believe Boris Johnson would have public opinion behind him if he legislates against this – and the police enforce that law and the courts stop messing around.

What we need is the smack of firm government that prevents imbeciles in our midst from interfering with those going about their lawful business.