With their matted hair and dishevelled clothes, some of its members may look, in the words of Boris Johnson, like “uncooperative crusties” who haven’t been near a shower for months, but Extinction Rebellion is a well-oiled machine.
Its climate-change protests have brought parts of the capital to a standstill for the past three days and the action is due to last about two weeks.
They’ve caused misery for ordinary people just trying to get to work or to appointments. I’ve had to walk rather than sit in traffic that’s built up because of road closures.
As a parent of young children, of course I sympathise with what they are trying to do.
And at home in our own little way we are trying to do our bit to help. We walk or sometimes take the bus to school instead of driving in a nice warm car which would get me and a tantrum- throwing four-year-old there in under 10 mins.
I’m a recycling zealot and we’ve pretty much cut out red meat. So many of us are trying and agree things need to change.
But my sympathy starts to run out when I hear that some of these eco warriors aren’t all camping out in London out of the goodness of their hearts. Oh no. Up to 100 activists are being paid up to £400 a week – almost £100 more than the national living weekly wage – to sit around singing Kumbaya while getting in the way of thousands of others who are just trying to earn a living.
So as well as being provided with shelter in the form of tents, blankets, food and “protest tools” such as handcuffs, their bank balances are getting fatter as well.
Speaking of bank accounts, Extinction Rebellion’s is swelling by £40,000 a day. Since it launched a year ago, the group has raised more than £2.4million. Nice work if you can get it.
A demonstrator has even admitted “flying” to the UK to join his fellow protestors – did someone say carbon footprint? You couldn’t make it up.
There is obviously a lot of goodwill there, and with time and education things can and will change, but bullying us into submission and turning the heart of the capital into a mini Glastonbury festival, isn’t the way to do it.
And as for people making money out of it, so much for us all being in this together.
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