The Spy Who Nagged Me

by | Jan 10, 2011

The Guardian has a couple of articles claiming that the UK police infiltrated environmental activist organisations.

Today’s paper:

He turned up with long hair, tattoos and an insatiable appetite for climbing trees. Few people suspected anything odd of the man who introduced himself as Mark Stone on a dairy farm turned spiritual sanctuary in North Yorkshire.

Yesterday’s Observer:

Legal documents suggest Kennedy’s activities went beyond those of a passive spy, prompting activists to ask whether his role in organising and helping to fund protests meant he turned into an agent provocateur.

There is some speculation that a current trial of protesters may collapse as a consequence.

It’s all very intriguing, of course. But all the talk of the possibility that Mark Stone/Kennedy may have been an ‘agent provocateur’ belies the fact that the state — that is to say the British government, and the UK’s political establishment — wanted the same thing as the protesters: strong, international, legally-binding restrictions on CO2 emissions. The thing which has held the deadlocked government back from realising its ambitions is that dreaded nuisance, the British public, not those dreadlocked nuisances, eco-protesters.

To make the point, here are again two things I’m fond of using to demonstrate the fact that the eco-activists are merely doing what the government want them to do. Here is the current PM, holding a press release at Greenpeace’s London HQ:

[youtube 8gr5rIK097E]

Here is the previous Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change, Ed Miliband, now leader of the Labour Party:

When you think about all the big historic movements, from the suffragettes, to anti-apartheid, to sexual equality in the 1960s, all the big political movements had popular mobilization. Maybe it’s an odd thing for someone in government to say, but I just think there’s a real opportunity and a need here.

Maybe the police were worried about what might happen if environmental activists actually succeeded in targeting one or more of the UK’s power stations, disrupting the Grid. I know, it sounds crazy.

But if the police are really worried about public order in the wake of self-righteous activists closing down the UK’s electricity supply, leading to widespread chaos, they should perhaps go and have a word with these sitting-down-activists…

… rather than these ones…


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