Thursday, 17 October 2019
Contrasting accounts have been doing the rounds today regarding the removal of Extinction Rebellion protesters from the top of a commuter train in Canning Town. Cue the outrage from the perpetually offended who saw unacceptable levels of mob violence and feel vindicated in any attempts to frustrate their gruntish, little lives and educate their narrow little minds. Cheers from, well, the vast majority of ordinary people who are simply not part of the problem.
Of course you would expect me, of all people, to come down on the side of ‘anybody but the protesters’; that is generally a good bet to place. But what happenied here is indicative, I think, that maybe the will of the people has not yet been broken down and we are not the simpering weaklings, desperate to kow-tow to a culture of inclusion at all costs. Sod the personal safety of the protesters; they were standing on top of a train, for goodness’ sake.
But this was no ugly, frothing crowd; this was no middle-eastern style lynch mob. In fact the first instinct of many bystanders was to protect the fallen protesters from any physical harm. Given the disruption – not just to the passengers on that platform, but to those backed up in tunnels around the network as a result – swift and proportionate direct action was exactly the right response. And it felt good to see them do something, rather than wait ages for others to step in.
Had the police been involved it is likely that in an effort to behave in a politically sensitive way the whole network would have been evacuated, the train climbers engaged in dialogue and talked down several hours later – no doubt after having had special vegan snacks brought in - to be delicately handcuffed, had their rights read and thenceforth to be released to repeat their offences elsewhere. The police are not sufficiently numerous, nor do they have sufficient freedom of action for this kind of work. The protesters know that police resources mean a small number of people can spoil things for many.,
What we maybe need to see much more of is the man in the street taking direct action against those attempting to disrupt their lives. And this little demonstration showed that, unlike many other parts of the world, some of our near neighbours included, such action need not be either violent or uncontrolled. In fact, all we need is to be allowed to be British about it; that doesn’t merely mean tutting, sighing and saying ‘mustn’t grumble’ but getting up and actually doing something about it.
We're not going to take it any more...
We are not a people for whom protest comes naturally and organised demonstrations smack far too much of mass, leftist manipulation of ignorance. What is far more authentically British, I think, is the understanding that should your communistic agitations get tiresome, should you set out to cause trouble, somebody might just roll up their sleeves and sort you out. Climate Justice, you demand? I say common sense and justice for the common man.