David Thompson


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December 08, 2008



"Protester Richard Claxton, who was d-locked to the fencing at the time, said, "I was terrified: you don't expect to be attacked with a snowplough on a peaceful protest.""


The eco-vermin should be grateful he wasn't shot.


Given the number of recent attempts to target aircraft and airports (I lost count at nine), you’d have to be a particular kind of imbecile to be surprised by an emphatic response to the intrusion. If someone breaks into an airport, now of all times, they should entertain the possibility that they won’t be terribly welcome. Though, clearly, the security response wasn’t half as emphatic as one might have hoped.


"...hold passengers to ransom with a display of theatrical onanism."

I'm thinking that's still better (and safer!) than vehicular onanism:


But yes, a tougher security response in future would be nice...

Shave the Forest

"The suffragettes were disruptive and lambasted by the establishment of the day, but have been utterly vindicated by history, and no doubt it will be the same with Plane Stupid."


Don't you see? They're just like Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela AND the Suffragettes, but way more important. They're ENTITLED to get their own way. It's so obvious.


"you’d have to be a particular kind of imbecile to be surprised by an emphatic response to the intrusion. If someone breaks into an airport, now of all times, they should entertain the possibility that they won’t be terribly welcome."

Cue imbecile:

"One of the arrested protesters from Plane Stupid, Leo, said: "It started at around 3am when we arrived outside the emergency vehicle access to Stansted runway and cut through the fence with bolt cutters….We walked 300 metres to the edge of the runway… We assembled the fencing panels, creating a little fort, and hooked ourselves on to it using chains and D-locks. Security arrived very quickly in the form of an angry guy who pushed me and swore at me. He seemed to take it all as a personal affront. Then, before there was any significant police presence, two enormous snow ploughs arrived, one of either side of us. They pulled up next to us, with their headlights on and engines revving. One of them drove into us which was extraordinary dangerous. It surprised the hell out of us."



It’s the wide-eyed ingénue routine:

“But, but… There were only 50 of us breaking in and trespassing in the middle of the night, and we only roamed about the runway carrying bolt-cutters and stuff… Why was he so *angry*?”

Fire up the death ray. Maximum setting.

Wonder Woman

"It is born out of desperation and frustration that the normal democratic processes have failed, are flawed, or are corrupted by vested interests..."

How come these yahoos never recognized their own "vested interests" and their own potential for corruption?

J. Peden

Power to the Infants! Hey, if it got them along in life until now, why not keep it up and, furthermore, boldly "push the boundaries"? For the rights of Teh Infantilism!

And thus for Freedom Everywhere.

J. Peden

"Free the Planes"?


Why stop at Rosa Parkes? Don't hold back, now. Let's compare them to Solidarnosc, Gandhi, Jan Palach, Sophie Scholl, the Tank Man of Tiananmen, maybe even Jesus.


"Security arrived very quickly in the form of an angry guy who pushed me and swore at me."

Oh no. Actual swearing. They should've let the passengers have ten minutes alone with him. Just for a chat.



“Let’s compare them to… the Tank Man of Tiananmen, maybe even Jesus.”

Well, quite. And I think the protestors’ rush to make such comparisons tells us something about their motives. Some people really do like role-play, especially if they can be the stars of some flattering drama. But I’m not overly impressed by grandiose vanity tarted up in moral drag. And I don’t look fondly on self-anointed “activists” who think they get to determine, unilaterally, what constitutes acceptable behaviour, while granting themselves a license to transgress that they wouldn’t extend to others with different views. And the stated rationales for the disruption - claims that the protestors “aren’t being heard” and that “the democratic processes have failed” - are somewhat self-serving. One might, for instance, say: the protestors’ position has failed to persuade sufficient people to achieve the stated objective.

Not being agreed with isn’t the same thing as not being heard.


The Guardian (natch!) gives a platform to these delusional wankers:

"They were disruptive and controversial to say the least. Spied upon, locked up and lambasted by the establishment of their time. The state considered them to be dangerous terrorists and, as Tony Benn put it, "Newsnight would have treated the suffragettes as trouble-makers." But those women who battled for gender equality were later vindicated by history."



The vanity of gap year radicals is always a thing to behold.

I wonder if Lily, Tilly, Leo and the other Plane Stupid protestors would be happy to extend their own license to transgress to other, no less passionate, groups? I’m pretty sure there are people with intense feelings about abortion, for instance, who feel that millions of unborn infants are being murdered. They too might say they “aren’t being heard” (i.e., they aren’t getting their own way). Surely the perceived injustice is a mandate for a spot of “direct action”? Surely they too could compare themselves with Rosa Parks and the Suffragettes?



"Lily, Tilly, Leo…"

Fight the establishment! Bwah!


Get used to this. Now that the British courts have agreed that fear of climate change justifies the conduct of such stunts, they will start to occur much more frequently.

Interesting that fear of the weather is now considered sufficient grounds to disrupt society. What interesting times we live in.


The problem is that we have people like Ed Milliband, a government minister, encouraging this behaviour


"Miliband told the Guardian a "popular mobilisation" was needed to help politicians push through an agreement to limit carbon emissions in the face of concerns about the economy. "There will be some people saying 'we can't go ahead with an agreement on climate change, it's not the biggest priority'. And, therefore, what you need is countervailing forces. Some of those countervailing forces come from popular mobilisation.""

This situation is very strange because we have virtual blanket coverage for the pro AGW argument. There is virtually no space for any counter arguments even to the extent that whereas alarmist claims way in advance of anything the IPCC claim are reprinted verbatim by the Guardian, Independent and BBC there is little printed to bring these claims back to reality. You can believe that AGW is real but dismiss ludicrous estimates of sea level rise, hurricane frequency, or effect on disease and you are treated as a sceptic or to use the media's preferred word a "denier".

In this case, the activists of Plane Stupid cannot deny that they have enjoyed sympathetic coverage in much of the media, particularly broadcast media. The "plane" fact is that the government, opposition and media support the low carbon agenda and by extension the control of aircraft CO2.

Do we need a a group of extra judicial thugs to demand the government move faster? What type of societies need to encourage young pioneers to move ahead of the lumpen proletariat but in step with the government?



“This situation is very strange because we have virtual blanket coverage for the pro AGW argument.”

Indeed. It’s a rare day when the subject isn’t raised in some form on one of the major channels, most often the BBC, and generally advancing one particular point of view. Yet the “activists” want to imagine their cause isn’t being heard. Again, this suggests a capacity for fantasy and role-play. To encourage this behaviour is profoundly wrong-headed, since the nature of such movements is one of competitive extremism. That’s the basic dynamic and it’s been followed repeatedly. Cautious and realistic perspectives are sidelined, then actively denounced, as more “radical” voices vie for dominance.


Caught the end of The Daily Politics on Beeb2, and was fortunate to have the benefits of the protest explained to me by Tony Benn.
(25mins in)
Its all a process, you see.
First these important matters are ignored.
Then the protesters are considered dangerous.
And finally, the ideas become mainstream, and everyone claims they were never against them in the first place.

Oh, and its all something to do with the War-in-Iraq,... or something... (should've known that one)


"Some idiots even hailed them yesterday as heroic law-breakers alongside Rosa Parks, heroine of the black civil rights struggle. Call me old-fashioned, but so far as I recall, the mass movement against segregated transport that Ms Parks inspired demanded the freedom to travel as they saw fit, not the right to stop others doing so."




“Then the protesters are considered dangerous.”

“Dangerous” seems a tad flattering for Lily, Tilly and Leo. “Pretentious and vain” would be a better fit. That said, anyone who breaks into an airport in the middle of the night intent on disrupting flights deserves to be *treated* as dangerous. Which possibly means getting mauled by dogs and being tased repeatedly.


They did it because it pissed on the leetle peeple, and they f*cking hate them (as does the Guardian). It was a power trip, nothing else.



i suppose they could be considered "dangerous" if they were to get sucked off the runway, into a Rolls-Royce jet engine on take-off.



“Now that the British courts have agreed that fear of climate change justifies the conduct of such stunts, they will start to occur much more frequently.”

Apparently, Heathrow is the next target. According to the Plane Stupid website:

“We are committed to using our bodies to physically stop carbon emissions… For this movement the Stansted action is only the beginning. The UK has to make massive cuts in carbon today, not in 50 years. Plane Stupid will be taking direct action until we see the UK taking climate change seriously.”

Which raises the question of how far such people are willing to go. If their “non-violent” efforts are frustrated or fail - which seems quite likely - what’s the next step? Given their self-righteous presumption, what kinds of “direct action” will qualify as proportionate?


Each of these Plane Stupid people would could use their "bodies to physically stop carbon emissions" of almost 400 kilograms per year if they'd only kill themselves.



"Lily Kember, one of the spokespeople for this bunch of eco-toff crap, is the product of the Godolphin and Latymer School, the fees for which amount to some £14,000 pa - more than my total annual income. These fees were generously paid by her mummy and daddy to, ahem, give her the best start in life. So it seemed very strange when one of her climate chumps was quoted as saying: "We're here because our parents' generation has failed us"..."



Sunny Hundal, a noted air traveller*, approves:

“I love these guys.”


* http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2344

Spiny Norman


Over-indulged malignant narcissists throwing public temper tantrums. Why am I not surprised?

carbon based lifeform

Hundal: "Oh there's no contradiction - I certainly try and reduce my carbon footprint in other ways, in addition to travelling abroad not that often."

Heh. Bad timing, eh?



“Bad timing, eh?”

Hundal’s problem is the one shared by Monbiot, Toynbee and numerous other Guardianistas, i.e. the inevitable charge of hypocrisy. If you make green noises and champion a fringe group like Plane Stupid, then you’re pretty much obliged to be scrupulous in your own ecological (or pseudo-ecological) affairs. If a person supports “activists” who want to curtail air travel, ostensibly to avert global catastrophe, it’s not unreasonable to expect that person to avoid all recreational flying, if not flying altogether.

I scarcely need to point out that similar accusations can be aimed at almost any of the most prominent figures in environmental crusading. For instance, there’s the noted enviro-guru David Suzuki, who thinks it “disgusting” that modern houses are (sometimes) larger than those of our grandparents, but who nevertheless has two homes of his own, one of which is remarkably spacious…


I should point out I’ve no objection at all to people flying halfway around the planet, twice, as Hundal did, to India then California. But I’m not the one professing green credentials.


There's an interesting post here that makes the point I was trying to get at:


"We’ve often wondered what the difference between the Government and the environmental protest movement is. Who are the establishment, and who are the revolutionaries? They often seem to be saying exactly the same thing."


"here is something even more bizarre about the protest: they have actually got their way. Two weeks ago, Parliament committed the UK to an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, including shipping and aviation."



Well, it’s a theme we return to here quite often, isn’t it? Much like the tenured radicals who maintain their oppositional posture and “sites of resistance” by becoming ever more ludicrous and extreme, even when mainstream society has assimilated many of their values and demands. Or rather, precisely *because* of that. The role-play must go on, after all.

Rich Rostrom

Mandela, Parks, and Pankhurst were all disfranchised: Mandela and Pankhurst explicitly, Parks by a mixture of fraud and intimidation. They went outside the law because the laws were rigged against them. They had no recourse within the law. Mandela was imprisoned for his advocacy; Parks faced terrorism sanctioned by the local authorities.

Oh, and let's also note that Parks did not break the law, she defied unwritten custom.

(I have a bit less sympathy for the suffragettes. They had liberty to campaign for their cause. It has been noted that in the U.S., the gaining of suffrage had less to do with ideological feminism than with the temperance movement and similar women-dominated reformist campaigns.)

The Plane Stupid clowns face no obstruction save the intrinsic clumsiness of democracy (and the weakness of their cause). In fact they enjoy the sympathy of a vast array of elite institutions. Millband's comment is particularly revealing: the "protesters" are actually the de facto fascist shock troops of the ruling class, providing physical intimidation against opposition. I wonder when the "climate change" fanatics will adopt the "animal rights" model of vandalizing the homes and offices of scientists who dare to question The Truth.

Dr Cromarty

I wonder what they would be like if one decided to break into Lily, Tilly or Theo's Mama and Papa's well-appointed house at, say 3 o'clock on Christmas morning, chain oneself to the oven and disrupt proceedings for the next 3 days?

No nut cutlet for you today, Lily.

They'd be on the phone to the cops before you could say "Carbon footprint". Wankers.



Sounds a fair summary. Though I’d go with “irresponsible wankers.”

In light of the claim that Plane Stupid welcomes actions that are “non-violent and accountable,” I wonder just how much accountability Ms Kember and her associates will embrace. Once the immediate legal consequences have been dealt with, will these daring young radicals be offering to reimburse the thousands of passengers whose day was ruined and who may now be seriously out of pocket? Will they be sending hand-written letters of apology to the people who missed funerals, job interviews, etc?

Somehow, I suspect not.


In the Guardian Lily Kember says she's been "ghettoised" by the tabloids.

She's "ordinary people" see? Everyone else is "the establishment"...



“Lily Kember says she’s been ‘ghettoised’ by the tabloids.”

Poor lamb. The martyrdom complex is strong with this one. I’m sure being in the national press for two days running is the *last* thing she wanted. I love the bit about being “disempowered” – this from someone who, at great expense to others, uses force and vandalism to get herself noticed. Clearly, she’s “oppressed” by not getting her own way.

Poor Lily and her associates are “good people trying to do good things… for the greater good” and – here’s the exciting bit - “if government won’t act fast enough, then we will be forced to do what’s necessary.” It’s hard to miss the casual disregard for other people’s business and personal obligations, along with mere trifles like democracy. Perhaps the protestors and their supporters feel such bourgeois proprieties should be discarded on principle, to signal their “radical” credentials.

Horace Dunn

I liked the "braved sub-zero temperatures" bit. Actually, I also braved sub-zero temperatures yesterday, as did everyone else in the UK who went about their lawful and productive business.

And what on earth is a "celebritised platitude"?

And what about that "some of us are women; some are men" bit? No shit.

It's also intriguing that she considers assertions by journalists that young people are "apathetic and materialistic" to be truisms. Does she really mean truisms? I suspect not.

Surely, if the Guardian was desperate to give space to these ridiculous people, they could have found one among the 57 who had a decent grasp of the English language.

What a thoroughly silly and unpleasant girl is this Lily Kember.



What’s striking is how closely she follows the standard template. Ms Kember is whiny, unconvincing and self-righteous; she even sneaks in a veiled threat. It’s like distilled essence of Guardian. Just don’t get it on the carpet.

I note she doesn’t like being called a posh poseur, which must really jar with her self-image. But the point remains we have a group of supposedly egalitarian “radicals” - a remarkable number of which are the privately-educated progeny of peers and minor aristocrats – disrupting an airport noted primarily for its low-budget air travel and lower-income customers. Stansted and its carriers are associated with making air travel accessible for people on a shoestring, and Stansted customers have the lowest average income among London’s major airports. Why, then, was this particular airport targeted instead of more obvious candidates that host many more flights and produce much more CO2? Is the objection here to cheap flights in particular, or maybe the people who use them? And hence the suspicions regarding the motives of poor Lily and her righteous comrades.

John D

The proles must not fly!

Horace Dunn


"Why, then, was this particular airport targeted instead of more obvious candidates that host many more flights and produce much more CO2?"

Well, I think if we're looking for logic, or even common sense, from these people we'll be looking a long while.

But your general point about vanity and self-righteousness seems to me a good one. It's significant that, given access to a major newspaper in which to air her views she chooses to use 60% of her word quota (I did a quick word count) prattling on about the wickedness of the newspapers, and disempowered youth, and her working class credentials, and the class of her chums at Plane Stupid, and the socio-economic grouping of people at Stansted Airport before finally getting on to the Most Important Topic in the Known World. Unfortunately by then there's only space for a few broad assertions (which no doubt most readers would have been subjected to before). And the pay-off line is not a ringing call-to-action, but another dig at the beastly tabloids.

Anyone concerned about the contribution of the aeroplane to climate change would surely see this as a missed opportunity.

On the other hand, a trivial-minded and self-centered little miss would probably see it as a job well done.


“On the other hand, a trivial-minded and self-centred little miss would probably see it as a job well done.”

Bingo. It’s The Passion of Lily Kember™.


But David you're such a cynic! Can't you see their passion is real? :)


“But David you’re such a cynic! Can’t you see their passion is real? :)”

I’m sure their passion for passion is real, if you see what I mean. Hence the note of personal martyrdom and the dramatic comments about “braving sub-zero temperatures” and being “rammed” (albeit rather slowly) with a snowplough. They’re “disempowered,” you see, which is taken as a license to do very exciting things. It seems to me there’s a remarkable lack of cynicism when faced with groups like Plane Stupid and the personalities they attract. Some commentators are selectively credulous if the ostensible agenda is politically congenial. It’s as though questioning the protestors’ motives is somehow improper or unkind – as if people never lie, not least to themselves.

But given the above, cynicism seems in order. Some people judge their activist credentials by the annoyance they arouse, often deliberately, before dismissing the irritation as symptomatic of ignorance or exposure to the Daily Mail. The degree of inconvenience and subsequent hostility can then be taken as evidence of their own moral superiority and entitlement to attention. By going out of their way to piss people off, they are, apparently, fighting the establishment and “speaking truth to power.” And Ms Kember and her associates seem to be such people.


Seen this?

"The £12m defences of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading "no new coal". He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.
All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours, in which time it is thought the mystery saboteur's actions reduced UK climate change emissions by 2%. Enough electricity to power a city the size of Bristol was lost… Should "climate man" ever show up, he will be feted for what activists say was the most daring individual action of the year. "We have no idea who he is - but we really want to know."



"All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours, in which time it is thought the mystery saboteur's actions reduced UK climate change emissions by 2%. Enough electricity to power a city the size of Bristol was lost"

This is an extraordinarily tendentious statement.

Supply has to be matched to demand or we get brown-outs. I doubt that demand dropped by any significant amount. It is far more likely that extra power was generated at other stations to make up the shortfall. Those power stations were most probably gas or coal powered, which makes a 2% drop extremely unlikely. Indeed given that a coal generator starting from scratch will generate CO2 before the water gets hot enough to make steam and hence electricity, the amount of CO2 produced is likely to be greater than if Kingsnorth had continued to run.


“…he will be feted for what activists say was the most daring individual action of the year.”

As I said earlier: competitive extremism.

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