It must be terribly, terribly difficult to be Phoebe Plummer, Anna Holland or Indigo Rumbelow, just three of the chic young eco-fanatics who have been making headlines in recent weeks in the name of saving us all from the environmental apocalypse.
Plummer and Holland threw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s painting Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery last month, while Just Stop Oil spokesperson Rumbelow last week launched into an almost screaming match with Sky’s Mark Austin over group tactics which caused four days of disruption on the M25 as activists hung from its gantries. Protesters also blocked the entrance to Farnborough Private Airport.
But back to the terribly harsh world of Phoebes, Annas and Indigos. While the rest of the world – those who didn’t grow up in sprawling £600,000 rural idylls like Ms Rumbelow or attend £15,000 a term schools like Ms Plummer – worry about how they are doing weathering a winter of soaring inflation, energy costs and the first real lurch of the recession, these poor upper-middle-class souls are, Cassandra-style, tortured by the curse of time and money to worry about an existential catastrophe. “We will fall to total destruction!” Rumbelow cried on Sky. Oh dear.
Privileges of birth and education have not simply made existential terror flourish. It is also the sheer right of this terror, the feeling of freedom and freedom to worry dramatically, flamboyantly and in such a way as to forcefully impose that worry on others – the woman with cancer whose journey to the Hospital for treatment has been derailed by hanging on the gantry, for example, or trashing precious works of art whose delicacy, curators have miserably pointed out, posho protesters don’t seem to grasp.
More likely, they don’t care. Why should they? For the Indigos and the Phoebes, like many upper-class people who messed up before them, there is something far worse than the prospect of long-term environmental damage or disrupting ambulances rushing to A&E. . That something is boring – and boring. Vandalism is a thrill if it means people staring at you.
They may not realize that it is a luxury to be able to afford multiple arrests and a criminal record in the name of a violent and moralizing curse, and even more to seek them out without even a tremor of concern for a professional. coming. But not caring about money or work is surely the last word in upper-middle-class carelessness.
Eco-nuttery is a luxury form of millennialism that most people just can’t afford, either in time or cost – let alone the effort it takes to learn their crazy theories.
I’m sure they actually largely believe in the madness they preach about overthrowing racist capitalist society and their paranoid conspiratorial ducks on the lying media. But it’s also very convenient to cover a desire for attention in an extravagant skein of virtue. After all, if you don’t immediately give in to Phoebe and Indigo’s demands, or completely agree with them, then you’re automatically a bad person.
As Rumbelow asked Austin, with insane fire and brimstone: “Love yourself [your] kids more than you like fossil fuels? That’s enough to make you dream of the era of punk and piercings. Maybe the oldies, like Roger Hallam, the tousled-haired founder of Extinction Rebellion, are too far gone. But couldn’t their younger comrades, the ones currently sticking to highways, tracks and ring roads, just get mohawks, nose and lip rings, start smoking and raving and be done with it?
The posh kids say that holding the government hostage by making the lives of the proletariat a misery is justified by their belief that the world is about to end. In the image of Christ, they surrender on behalf of the common people – those who work under the assumption that how far their next paycheck will go is a more pressing concern than human extinction.
I don’t shed light on human extinction or climate change, but I do take serious scientists seriously. And they, including those on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, dismiss human extinction as a possibility. It is, in other words, pure manipulative histrionics.
All the same, Rumbelow and his cronies at Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain, Extinction Rebellion – chaired by martyr-in-chief Greta Thunberg – say ‘nothing has worked’ and illegal actions and violent unrest are therefore deserved.
Lost in her own grandiosity, Rumbelow told Austin that the suffragettes — the militant arm of the Votes for Women campaign — are the reason she has the vote “and can own anything.” But as most historians agree, suffragette tactics, including arson, window smashing and public suicide, dampened the movement. Lawmakers don’t tend to change their minds when held at gunpoint. But the young vanguard of the green movement is as ignorant of human psychology as it is of history.
It’s funny to hear the argument of the foot that “nothing worked”. I thought about all the other issues going on in society, like cancer or anti-Semitism. Imagine if health activists started blowing up hospital generators, smashing lab windows, or throwing paint at GPs, because the cancer had yet to be cured. Or if Britain’s Jews started sticking to the doors of churches or mosques, or throwing eggs at police stations, because other religious authorities and the police hadn’t done enough to eradicate prejudice anti-Jews.
It’s unthinkable – at least for most of us who need to go on living or maintain an ounce of respect for others. Fortunately for them – and unfortunately for everyone else – the screaming rich kids of the eco-fanatic movement are blissfully absolved of either consideration.