Shrinking Ray (2)
Friday Ephemera

Behold My Virtue (3)

Sunny Hundal is waving his credentials again:

I frequently get criticised on here for taking a hardline stance on environmental issues, especially on supporting groups like Plane Stupid, because they’re seen as too alienating.

Hereabouts, Lily, Tilly, Joss and Leo are seen as self-preoccupied posh kids pretending to be radical by breaking into airports and disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers. And hence the alienation. Those unfamiliar with the theatrical fatuousness of Plane Stupid can marvel at their activities here. (See also the comments.) Note the readiness to draw flattering comparisons with Emmeline Pankhurst, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks. A longer list would doubtless include Gandhi, Neil Armstrong and the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square. (The comparison with Rosa Parks is particularly curious, since, as Mick Hume pointed out, “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.”)

And given the group’s readiness to abandon conventional democratic protest in favour of criminal - and much more exciting – avenues, one has to wonder if Mr Hundal would be similarly well-disposed to other fringe groups with worldviews antithetical to his own, but which nonetheless deem their cause of such importance that discussion and legality can be dispensed with. Plane Stupid resorts to criminality because, they claim, their demands “aren’t being heard” and, therefore, “the democratic processes have failed.” (They also claim “aviation is mostly unnecessary.”) Though bearing in mind the high profile of environmental issues and the group’s sympathetic coverage in much of the left-leaning media, one might wonder if “not being heard” is in fact a euphemism for “not being agreed with,” which isn’t quite the same thing.

The Righteous One™ continues:

Because Middle England won’t agree, the argument goes, these people are a danger to the cause.

Note how those who don’t share Mr Hundal’s “hardline” enthusiasm for environmentalist vandals are waved away contemptuously as “Middle England.” But a dislike of Plane Stupid’s disruptive methods and freewheeling approach to facts isn’t confined to uptight ladies of the shires. The Sun – hardly a paper of choice for the bejeweled bourgeoisie – referred to Plane Stupid as “upper crusties,” with readers describing the group as “morons,” “wasters” and “pampered useless objects” who deserved “six months in jail” and “a bloody good thrashing.” The group’s spokeswoman, Lily Kember, was singled out for attention as a “snotty little cow.” So at what point exactly does the Sun readership become “Middle England”? Is it perhaps the point at which they start to disagree with Mr Hundal and his fellow Guardianistas? Is that when the working class becomes the enemy of the left?

I’ve noted before how some people weigh their activist credentials by the annoyance they arouse, often deliberately, while dismissing the irritation as symptomatic of exposure to the Daily Mail. The degree of inconvenience and subsequent hostility can then be taken as evidence of one’s own righteousness and a cause for satisfaction. As if on cue:

Environmental issues is one area where I don’t yield much, and frankly when people snort angrily about Plane Stupid that gives me even more pleasure.

Though not, I suspect, quite as much pleasure as Mr Hundal’s own extensive air travel adventures, which were excitedly announced shortly before his declaration of support for Plane Stupid: “Honestly, I love these guys.” Now I’ve no objection at all to people flying halfway around the planet, twice, as Mr Hundal did, to India then California, but I’m not the one declaring my “hardline” green credentials.

Related: On Sunny Hundal and John Pilger.



Che was a narcissist who boasted that "I have no house, wife, children, parents, or brothers; my friends are friends as long as they think like me, politically".

Narcissism + Envy + Projection = Socialism.


PP reader:

"You blog about how you like backpacking in India, your trip to Dubai, etc. How does this lifestyle square with trying to keep a low carbon footprint and your support of Plane Stupid?"


"I don't necessarily buy everything they do, even though I support their activism and some of their stances. For example, I think business trips and business wastage of electricity is much worse than that of individuals. When I travelled *between* India, Pakistan and Nepal though, I took trains. I've always said I'm not into restricting all flying."

So basically he's only hardline about *other* people flying especially if it's on business.



Well, it seems to me that if you champion a fringe group that makes apocalyptic claims, 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 immediately and break the law to that end, ostensibly to avert global catastrophe, then 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 expectations 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…

Karen M

"Sunny Hundal is waving his credentials again"

He's waving his moral tallywhacker. And It's not very big.

carbon based lifeform

"The real danger is that environmentalists become so caught up in what politicians and companies think of as reality that they lose... their idealism,"

Damn that reality.


"Environmental issues is one area where I don't yield much"

Except to fly for fun to India. And America. And Dubai. Total plank.


As the Times reported yesterday, there is a relationship between green activism and carbon footprint. Unfortunately, it's just an inverse one.

On the same theme we see on the BBC Ethical Man manage to achieve the vast saving of 20% of his carbon output (allowing for flight offsets). Pity the target is 80% by 2050. Now he's picked all the low hanging fruit where will he go next.

Lovers of xenophobia will particularly enjoy the tail end story about Wife Swap star Stephen Fowler, who is a green venture capitalist. His tolerance is a sight to behold (search on Youtube for Stephen Fowler). Does he practice what he preaches?

The Thin Man

Did anyone else see the Horizon program last night on Fusion - which wasn't actually about fusion at all - but a skewed history lesson in Science and a diatribe about climate change and energy "justice".

I had to turn it off after about 20 minutes as the guy from D:REAM waffled on about climate change - whilst jetting from the UK to the US - where he presented most of his peices to camera from the driving seat of a 5.0 liter Mustang

I suspect that he and Hundal would get on like a house on fire. And I would be more than happy to start the fire.


Thin Man,

The Horizon programme on fusion was staggeringly bad. After years of research, the BBC has finally figured out how to make a one-hour science programme with almost no scientific content. We saw a huge machine that makes fusion happen, though no real attempt was made to explain how it works. We also saw what I guess was supposed to be fusion taking place inside the machine. It looked like some kind of plasma in a magnetic field, though again no-one thought to explain exactly what we were looking at. Evidently it was felt that actual informational content might exclude some viewers and thus be unfair. We did however learn that everyone ought to have an equal allocation of energy and that oil causes wars in the Middle East.



My favourite example of this 'do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do' philosophy is the smug and self-satisfied Marcus Brigstocke. Little Marcus is a proper eco-warrior, and when he launched into an attack on recreational flying during his regular spot on the Radio Four comedy programme, The Now Show, eagle-eyed (eared) listeners were only too quick to point out that he had then jetted off for a weekend of skiing; apparently a regular pastime for dear old (rich and very posh) Marcus.

His spot on the next week's program was partially dedicated to explaining his actions. These amounted to an amusing, but effectively indistinguishable version of the 'do-as-I-say,-not-as-I-do' creed of our wannabe masters and mistresses.

Al Gore's ENORMOUS carbon footprint is another. Zombietime has a fantastic example of the choice of vehicles used by the audience for one of Al Gore's speeches. Needless to say, they are not the tiny, green little runabouts they would expect the rest of us to drive.


I agree about Horizon. Zero information content. What has happened to what was one of my favourite programmes as a child?


“What has happened to what was one of my favourite programmes as a child?”

It’s become egalitarian TV. You won’t learn much, except perhaps by accident, but you won’t feel excluded by your ignorance. Social justice, you see.

Horace Dunn

"You won’t learn much, except perhaps by accident, but you won’t feel excluded by your ignorance. Social justice, you see"

This "non-exclusive" approach has been a BBC watchword for many years now. What astonishes me, though, is that they don't realise just how much more elitist (in the BBC sense of "wicked and possibly Tory as well") their programmes are now as a result. What I mean by this is that, in the past, anyone who was interested could see, on television, world-leading experts imparting their knowledge, effectively free of charge (let's leave aside the licence fee which is really relevant to my point).

Now, if you want the benefit of such expert knowledge, you'd need to get a place at the experts' academic or other institutions in order to be thus favoured.

On TV these days you normally only get moronic presenters giving gimmicky presentations of watered-down versions of the talks that the experts might have given, on the assumption that the viewing and listening public are too stupid to understand any difficult concepts.

Good old BBC.

And my main objection to Marcus Brigstocke is that he just isn't funny. If being harangued by some supercillious coffee-shop bore is your idea of fun, then Marcus is the man for you. Otherwise don't bother.



Yes, the BBC’s flagship science programme manages to be both patronising and vacuous. What informational content there is – i.e. very little – seems secondary to repeating the standard line about climate, fairness, social issues, etc. It doesn’t seem to occur to the producers that they’re now making a science programme for people who don’t like science. Viewers do however get a pouty, grinning physicist who presents the thing as though he were chatting to his mates at a stoned student party.

“Wow, man, the universe… it’s, like, really, really big…”

Peter Horne

The left is and always has been the enemy of the working class.


"Did anyone else see the Horizon program last night on Fusion"

yes - why do they have children presenting programs now?

Brian Cox is barely out his nappies.



I don’t mind his age; I can even cope with the fact he looks like he moonlights in a substandard indie band. It’s the gormless “chatty” presentation that irks – it seems deliberately stumbling and inept. (Why do we see “outtakes” of Cox losing his train of thought? And why make a feature of it in every programme he’s in? Is this meant to be endearing?) Presumably this is done so as not to be threatening to casual viewers: “This bloke makes it sound so simple, like he barely knows more than me.” Which isn’t really what you want from a programme about nuclear fusion.


I know this is a small thing to most, but I was wondering if I was the only one to notice that President Obama chose to fly to Denver, CO to sign the stimulus bill at a natural history museum. Apparently, this was to symbolize his commitment to the creation of "green" jobs and to saving the environment. I wondered why he didn't just walk across the Mall (green space between the White House and the Smithsonian)with appropriate fanfare to sign the bill at the National Natural History Museum. I mean, two 747s all the way to Denver, huge carbon footprint. No?

Steve in San Diego

I'm telling you, the answer is wood shampoos. Fortify your police with testosterone supplements and get video recordings of the beat-downs. Sell the footage to reality TV. Imagine the squalling and threats of the pallid, sheltered and privileged child-adults, their shrieked warnings of the relatives they have in high places. This initiative will pay for itself and start showing a profit in weeks, if not days. A winner in this economy.

James S

Hugo Rifkind meets Plane Stupid:

"Such has been the impact of Plane Stupid that I have heard of both Dan and Katrina already. Katrina had a mauling from the Daily Mail for flying to meet fellow campaigners in New York last year, and Dan superglued himself to Gordon Brown's sleeve at a reception at No 10. All three have been arrested at various times, but Dan wasn't arrested for that. He remembers calling fellow activists from the Downing Street toilet, after Brown had ripped himself free. “I haven't been arrested!” he said. “I don't know what to do!” He wandered off down Whitehall.

There is a cultish aspect here. A few times, each of these three will say things that many people would find quite shocking. Democracy, they reckon, has failed. They equate climate change deniers with Holocaust deniers. They believe in the “four years to save the world” mantra to the extent that it is very hard to get them to envisage what they, personally, may be doing with their lives in more than four years' time."


“I haven’t been arrested! I don’t know what to do!”

I can’t help thinking that tells us something.

Over at Harry’s Place, there’s some debate about whether Plane Stupid are sincere, which seems to miss the point. It’s a bit like asking whether fantasists are sincere, or actors. If you read Plane Stupid’s statements and claims, it’s pretty clear they’ve given much more thought to their methods than their actual arguments. They invoke apocalyptic scenarios on a ludicrous timescale and cite extremists who aren’t taken seriously even among other quite vehement activists. It’s therefore reasonable to assume that it’s the theatre and role-play that matters most. Their passion for being passionate, as it were, is quite sincere. It’s pretty obvious that they like the emotional palaver and sense of planetary self-importance; I’m sure *that’s* sincere. Whether that makes their arguments convincing or excuses their actions, or makes them admirable people, is another matter entirely.



"It’s the gormless “chatty” presentation that irks – it seems deliberately stumbling and inept."

My point really, exactly the kind of thing you would expect from an immature person (although your put it much better than me!)

btw did you note the nonsense about spreading energy equally to all the worlds population. That got me scratching my head....


Yes, funny how there was plenty of time for that.

Rich Rostrom

The moral arrogance of these swine is complete. They claim an absolute right to impose their views by force. That is what they are doing when they break the law and claim "necessity" or "civil disobedience". But of course it is mere barbarism for someone to destroy the equipment of an abortion clinic. I wonder how they would react to a group that invaded universities to obstruct the practice of post-modern pseudo-scholarship on the grounds that it's a complete waste of immense sums of money?

windy blow

"The left is and always has been the enemy of the working class."

Agree, Peter Horne, although I'd put it more that the left have always wanted to keep the working classes in their place on the basis that they don't want to be caught doing that kind of work on those kind of wages. Keeps the left nicely aloof.

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