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.