Behold My Virtue (3)
February 18, 2009
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.