Ridiculous, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-righteous, and self-important protest outfit, Plane Stupid broke into Stansted Airport today, to delay the reopening of a runway.
“We’re here because our parents’ generation has failed us and its now down to young people to stop climate change by whatever peaceful means we have left. We’re afraid of what the police might do to us, we’re afraid of going to jail but nothing scares us as much as the threat of runaway climate change. We’ve thought through the consequences of what we’re doing here but we’re determined to stop as many tonnes of CO2 as we can.”
Tilly might as well be 12. As might Daniel, 24.
“We fully appreciate the scale of what we’ve done here today and we know many people will struggle to understand why we’ve done it, but the Arctic ice cap is disappearing, the seas are rising and our last chance to save our future is vanishing. With people taking more flights in Britain than anywhere else on earth, we have a unique responsibility to tackle emissions from flying.”
Daniel is aware that ‘ many people will struggle to understand why [they]’ve done it’, which raises a question about what kind of protest this is. What is the point of a protest if the people you inconvenience – one of whom was a woman travelling to her father’s funeral according to a BBC Radio new item – are none the wiser as to what you’re doing?
Tilly’s reasons for the protest – ‘ to stop as many tonnes of CO2 as we can’ – are equally confused. If it’s just CO2 she’s worried about, there are a number of less irritating avenues she might have explored.
The protest is in many ways equivalent to an infantile tantrum. The protesters clearly have problems articulating their message to the generation they feel are responsible for their emotions. The sense that they have failed to get the message across results not in some self-reflection, but a loud, obnoxious and pointless remonstration. And like a small child, these protesters cannot make a sensible distinction between their failure to assert their will over the world, and the end of the world. The rhetoric of Armageddon ensues. Tilly again,
And here is something even more bizarre about the protest: they have actually got their way. Two weeks ago, Parliament committed the UK to an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, including shipping and aviation. Yet Tilly believes that the Government has failed to respond to its own climate change rhetoric. Just like a toddler, the concept of deferred gratification is beyond her.
We’ve often wondered what the difference between the Government and the environmental protest movement is. Who are the establishment, and who are the revolutionaries? They often seem to be saying exactly the same thing. Neither can claim that their actions represent the will of the general public – most people still want to fly, use cars, and so on. But both are committed to preventing people from expressing this desire. Both use the prospect of catastrophe to justify their self-importance, even though there is virtually no scientific argument that catastrophe is a possibility.
There is also more than a symbolic similarity between the way that protesting infants and the 9-11 plotters choose to make their mark on the world. So impotent are their ‘radical’ (for ‘radical’, read deeply socially conservative and retrogressive) ideas, that they impose them on the world in grand stunts. Both are indifferent to the trouble their self-righteousness causes others. In spite of their failure to generate mass support, they want to change the world, and believe that their actions are warranted by a higher purpose than the trivial concerns of mere humans.
The Government is left in a curious position. What can it really say to these spoilt children? It has indulged their every tantrum.