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Dominic Lawson: Behind Science’s Mask, Extinction Rebellion Is A Doomsday Cult

Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times

Politicians must stop pandering to the ‘crusties’ bringing havoc to London

When rebels try to seize control of their country, it is traditional to begin by taking over the state broadcaster. Perhaps it is in that context that we should view the siege of New Broadcasting House on Friday by the rebels of Extinction Rebellion (XR). They declared that their motive was to end the BBC’s “silence” on climate change.

Honestly, these people are hilarious. The BBC is obsessed with climate change: scarcely a day goes by when it does not have a news story linked to the issue. And its very own Gandalf, the former BBC2 controller Sir David Attenborough, has become almost a full-time campaigner on the subject.

In July, the BBC actually invited one of the founders of XR, Gail Bradbrook, to “advise” its editorial team on how to report on climate change. This is the woman who attributes her insight into the imminent end of life on the planet to the “rewiring” of her brain after the consumption of prodigious amounts of psychedelic drugs.

Sure enough, Bradbrook — complete with the inevitable nose-ring — could be seen on the BBC declaring that “97%” of the world’s species, including humans, would perish within her daughter’s lifetime unless everyone on the planet stopped producing CO2 by 2025. She didn’t divulge which would be among the lucky 3%, but then she wasn’t asked any such testing question by her interviewer.

That’s the trouble. With the exception of Andrew Neil — whose forensic questioning of an XR spokeswoman by the name of Zion Lights exposed how their prognostications of impending doom are based not on the science of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but on a desire to infect the rest of us with their own misanthropic terror — broadcasters and politicians treat the demonstrators’ arguments as if they were above criticism.

Yes, Boris Johnson complained last week about the “uncooperative crusties” occupying Whitehall in “heaving hemp bivouacs”; but he also declared that they were “right to rebel against the extinctions that are taking place”. Note to the prime minister: the fifth assessment report of the IPCC says that its scientists had “very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming”. But from Labour’s leadership (in the form of John McDonnell) “solidarity” with the demonstrators was declared. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was of similar opinion, showing not the least concern for the traders and commuters whose livelihoods were being (once again) disrupted or damaged by the climate change cultists.

It is therefore hardly surprising that the Metropolitan police have indulged so many of those bringing havoc to the capital: one who had been locked on top of a trailer driven into Trafalgar Square behind a (gas-guzzling) Land Rover Discovery expressed his gratitude to the police for passing up blankets to keep him warm overnight. The Met have a sensitive nose for the political wind: if the leaders of all the political parties and the mayor of London think these demonstrators’ cause is above reproach, why should they take a tough line?

After all, these are the disciples of Greta Thunberg. And when the Swedish schoolgirl came to London in April, all the politicians abased themselves before her, as she laid into the UK (despite its unequalled record of reducing CO2 emissions) because of what she termed Britain’s “mind-blowing historical carbon debt”. The then environment secretary, Michael Gove, said her words made him feel a “sense of responsibility and guilt”. Should we really apologise for our role in the Industrial Revolution? This was the single event that, more than any other in global history, led to an escape for the overwhelming majority of the population from tenuous existences based on mere agricultural subsistence.

I do hope my good friend Gove was not being sincere. And I can’t believe McDonnell and his leader, Jeremy Corbyn, are when they express “solidarity” with Thunberg & Co. They are, supposedly, on the side of the workers. Yet they are endorsing what the Marxist Brendan O’Neill calls “an upper-middle-class death cult . . . the deflated, self-loathing bourgeoisie coming together to project their own psycho-social hang-ups onto society at large”.

Full column (£)