Why Brexiteers should support Extinction Rebellion.

I’ve lost quite a few ‘friends’ because of my Brexiting … so might as well go for the clean sweep … I support Extinction Rebellion! So I’m asking all Brexiteers to pause for thought before condemning them.

Firstly I think Brexiteers are conflating XR with ‘Remain’ and ‘People’s Vote’ but XR are primarily concerned with physics and biology whereas EU supporters are primarily concerned with political union. Those are two different things. Conversely the aims of Brexiteers and XR are not mutually exclusive. We want to live in an independent democracy and they want to save the environment. Are there any two positions more obviously in accord? I want the maximum number of people to have the maximum amount of scrutiny over the maximum amount of power. If there was any sure way of generating good environmental laws that’s it! The EU is about the minimum number of people deciding the fate of the maximum number of people in secret. If ever there was a sure way of incubating plutocracy that’s it! No wonder EU pollution has increased despite declining EU birth rates, declining manufacturing and greener technologies!

Next the accusation that XR are ‘virtue signalling’. Well, it seems to me there are only two ways of avoiding this accusation, either:
1, Never do anything virtuous. Or…
2, Only do virtuous deeds anonymously to avoid being credited for it.
Given that someone has to do something to maintain our ecosystem it seems unreasonable to expect XR to rock up dressed as Zoro.

Next, I’m supposed to hate these people because they’re trouble makers? They want to change society. How do you suggest they achieve that – by voting? If there is anything Brexiteers have surely grasped by now it is that winning votes doesn’t count.

1, In 2013 David Cameron promised a simple in/out referendum and was rewarded with a working majority in 2015.
2, Parliament quickly approved the Referendum Bill by 544 votes to 53.
3, The British people then participated in the referendum in greater numbers than any other vote in our history (17,410,742 to 16,141,241).
4, Following Gina Miller’s legal action the Commons voted to give the Government power to trigger Article 50 by 498 votes to 114.
5, Theresa May then asked the Commons to agree to a general election. They did.
6, 84.2% of the votes in that election were for parties that promised to honour the referendum result.
7, Theresa May’s attempt to keep us in the EU by technocratic stealth was then defeated in no fewer than THREE ‘meaningful’ votes.

Where has winning all those votes got us? Nowhere. If anything Britain is now less democratic and less independent than we were before the referendum. But in just 1000 days, EU supporters, by intellectually terrorising their opponents with relentless hostility have managed to stop the most voted-for thing in British history and reduce one of the world’s great democracies to a pitiful autocracy. You may be disgusted by this (as I am) but you have to admit Remain’s campaign worked. And I’m supposed to hate XR for getting in their opponent’s faces? Brexiteers have spent the last three years winning votes, handing out leaflets, writing rants, lobbying MPs and not rioting. XR obviously looked at our campaign and concluded (rightly) that we’ve been wasting our time, so they’re employing a functional method of achieving their goals rather than the non-functional method we Brexiteers have been persevering with.

I’ve seen several Brexiteers point out that at our big demo on 29th March there were only 5 arrests whereas over 750 XR members have been arrested over the last week. So what? Which of those causes is getting somewhere with their campaign? The one that causes the most trouble obviously.

Now apparently XR are going to target Heathrow. Three cheers! Does any Brexiteer seriously dispute that there is an excess of people going hither and thither? Too many people travel too far, too often; it’s bad for the environment, disease and terrorism, it depresses wages, places a strain on housing and public services and decimates the traditional indigenous communities who tend to produce the least pollution. Why are Brexiteers not slapping them on the back?

So remind me again, why am I supposed to hate these people? Because they dress differently to me, listen to different music, eat different food and mix in different circles? For the last four years I have patiently defended the proposition that Britain should be an independent democracy, only to find that the person I’m talking to thinks I’m actually arguing that racism and war are ok, that human rights are bad and that Boris Johnson is a wonderful human being. I then have to explain what a non sequitur is. XR want to prevent lots of species of plants and animals from becoming extinct. What’s wrong with that? And if someone from a different social tribe supports them, does that somehow make it ok for plants and animals to be killed?

Here is Leo McKinstry writing in the Telegraph last week:

“If any satirists wanted to mock the green movement, they could not have come up with anything more absurd than this week’s infantile protests in London. As the demonstrators continue to bring gridlock to the capital, their laughable middle-class preciousness has been on full display. The disruption, organised by the Extinction Rebellion campaign, might be a severe aggravation for workers who actually have to earn their living, but it has been one long street party for an army of well-heeled social parasites.”

Ahh so they are middle class and unemployed parasites? For the last four years people have tried to sneer Brexiteers into silence with precisely this type of diatribe designed to induce a mind-closing spasm of rejection. I am not going to indulge this just because its directed at ‘them’ not ‘us’. All fact free opinion is an attack on all of us.

Next, here is a quote from XR’s Declaration of Rebellion:

“We, in alignment with our consciences and our reasoning, declare ourselves in rebellion against our Government and the corrupted, inept institutions that threaten our future. The willful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profits.”

Seriously, how can any Brexiteer have a problem with that? It’s fucking true and I’m not going to deny it because it’s said by someone with a funny haircut and tattoos.

XR is reason-based. It is reasonable to want to prevent the extinction of species and it is reasonable to employ methods that work to achieve it. There is a ruling elite in this country who would like nothing better than for XR and Brexiteers to attack one-another, but I know exactly who we should be attacking – the deaf ‘leaders’ who are pathologically opposed to democratic oversight of the powerful.

3 thoughts on “Why Brexiteers should support Extinction Rebellion.

  1. There is so much to talk about here but I’m not much of an essay writer so I’ll keep it as short as I can!

    Firstly, I grant you that there could well be a cultural cognitive-dissonance going on where most Brexiteers can’t possibly see themselves agreeing with XRers. I suspect the feeling is mutual though (this is based on nothing other than my own cultural cognitive-dissonance I have to admit).

    There is a way of avoiding virtue signalling, and that is to do something actually virtuous. Glueing yourself to things and generally fucking up people’s days when they just want to get to work is not virtuous. You say yourself that XR are concerned with physics and biology – so how about bringing some physics and biology to the table? These are concrete fields that can yield strategies that people can implement in their own lives, so perhaps do that? I have an extremely dim view of protesting issues that *you yourself could do something about*. Protest where you cannot logically do anything about it yourself is of course legitimate e.g. one cannot unilaterally leave the EU, or unilaterally have the UK not declare war in Iraq, or unilaterally extend the franchise – these are all demos-level issues where protest is entirely appropriate. Now, XR may characterise there concerns as demos-level (that’s a phrase I just made up by the way) but they are firstly and most immediately personal-level. So as and when XR bring some personal-level action to the table then I’ll start listening. And I don’t believe “raising awareness” counts as action.

    You say in response to the XR quote about “… in rebellion against our government…” “how can any Brexiteer have a problem with that?”. OK, so the adjectives there might be a bit overblown (or not – there is a good case either way) – but how about that verb? Rebelling…? Just as a matter of practicalities a rebellion will never ever ever happen without most of the population supporting it. That means that they need the support of a majority of people in this country and that means a massive slice of people from the bottom half of the scale. And how do they go about this? Die-ins in the Natural History Museum? Glueing themselves to things? And whilst it shouldn’t make a difference to the argument per se the fact that this is – and I’d bet on this – overwhelmingly a comfortable middle-class concern diminishes the moral weight of the argument somewhat. Even the most apocaplyptic of environmental disaster scenarios (which I don’t subscribe to) would disproportionately affect the poor more and the rich less. So if they want an actual rebellion they are going about in the most ineffective way they possibly could – if not alienating people whose support they would need they are definitely not doing anything to cast the net wider. I’ve no doubt you are more well read on the social history of rebellions than I am but I bet they weren’t like this.

    If XR are reason-based then they are doing a good job of hiding it. Pick a problem, any environmental problem you care to think of. Then think of the most effective thing youcould do about it. Glueing yourself to something doesn’t even make the long list. Yeah yeah I know individual action is too small to make a difference. Except the sum of a lot of tiny positive numbers is greater than zero, but the sum of a lot of zeroes (glueing, die-ins) is still zero. Also, imploring others to change carries more weight if you exemplify it – “be the change…”, “walk the walk” etc etc.

    On a different note, started reading your Brexit book – very enjoyable! Used to live down that way and spent much of my teens in Brighton so I can imagine the vibe you mean during the referendum. Don’t give up, I think you’re giving the XRers too much credence because you see that our cause has run into the sand and they are having some time in the spotlight. We’ll get there. Maybe they are right about some stuff. Time for them to start focussing on it and not on the stunts then.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Pete! thanks for your comments, I am going to re-read them and give my essay a rewrite as you are making some good points. Have to get back to work right now but its really nice to read that you are enjoying the book. If you could post a review on Amazon that would be much appreciated! And next time you are in Brighton please pop by for tea and cake!


  3. Hi I have posted something similar elsewhere in response to the extinction rebellion demonstration:

    We may have an environmental crisis over abundance and diversity of flora and fauna from pesticides etc and intensive farming and the amount of plastic in the environment, but CO2 is not the problem. It is a fertiliser not a pollutant.
    Remember correlation does not mean causation. Warming in the environment releases CO2 from the ocean. Ice cores show warming being followed by higher CO2. Not the other way round as Al Gore said.
    Time scale: when looking at climate remember it is always changing naturally over 100,000s to millions of years. What has happened in your lifetime or over the last century may not be statistically significant.
    People are being brainwashed about climate by the MSM and scientists who need the climate alarm for their grants. People need to see the bigger picture.
    Dr Ball from Canada has a lot of interesting points in this link.
    Natural CO2 is 0.04% of the total atmosphere
    The fraction that is anthropogenic is a tiny fraction of that.
    He shows that Univ. East Anglia (climategate Uni) have cherry picked direct atmospheric historic (1800 on) CO2 measurements.
    Blows apart the circular and bogus IPCC conclusions

    This link is to the late great palaeontologist and palaeoclimatologist Dr Bob Carter who demolishes the climate alarmists with their garbage in garbage out computer models and counters it with real climate data over millions of years.

    Piers Corbyn is apparently one of the most accurate long term weather forecasters based on the sun and moon’s affect on climate, particularly the jet stream. His models are not based on CO2 like the met office.

    It would be good if you could have a look at these links and do a blog which includes the graphs.

    I think the whole CO2 anthropogenic global warming idea is a scam. As these links show.

    Al Gore lies in the film “the inconvenient truth”. The truth was inconvenient for him, because he said that the ice cores showed that as the CO2 went up the temperature went up, but in fact it was the other way round. As the earth warms, CO2 is released from the oceans like a bottle of cola instead. And he got a Nobel Prize and a shed load of money by making solar panels.

    Equally there are two possible factors in extinction rebellion one is that there are renewable energy firms associated with Greta apparently.
    The other is supposition. There is lots of money coming in to the pro remain side, the greens are pro remain so I wonder if the sudden big push on the green agenda is linked to that.

    There is a need to clean up the planet, increase biodiversity, conserve water and look at the fashion industry with the awful effects of fast fashion and devastating effects of cotton growing on the planet. But the whole CO2 thing really doesn’t stack up. We will lose our steel industry over it if we are not careful, which affects our national security.

    I have brought up a lot but hope you can have a think about it.


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