This is a copy of a tweet thread that I posted on 17th April 2019 in the middle of the week where Extinction Rebellion organised a week of protests in London. At this point, there had been approximately 300 arrests, roads had been shut for days, protesters were glued to railings in London and protesters were trying to stop tubes to disrupt commuting.

Some thoughts…

1.I support the right to peaceful protest but Extinction Rebellion have been clear that they wanted to get arrested & cause problems for the capital. NB David Drew MP is in the local papers waving XR off saying ‘I’m very happy to support this’

2. I get the passion & that they want to influence the gov – but they are disrupting working people- when politicians aren’t sitting, backing up polluting traffic & stopping public transport

3. Their boat says ‘tell the truth’ but I haven’t heard one protester interviewed explain what everybody would have to do/give up /pay or how many farmers & businesses would be destroyed to get to carbon zero by 2025 (stated demand & c20 yrs before most countries)

4. We cant talk about 2025 being something the gov should do without recognising that gov policies affect everybody. The gov is always looking to do more on a global basis & the U.K. has achieved a lot (oft. ignored).

5. When XR shut down roads in Stroud, there were many many comments on the web & locally about them having a good cause but going the wrong way about it. Even an 11 yo said that to me

6. My Cllr colleague had to battle to get XR graffiti cleaned up & a dumped car removed at Stroud council’s expense. The Labour MP is quick to decry council finances & pressure on the police… but supports XR (see police deployed this wk-despite serious knife crime issues).

7. Stroud school children were excellent when they marched for climate change. Peaceful, determined & not shouting profanities about the PM like London marchers did. But can parents & teachers let youngsters go out with a group who wants people to get arrested? …

8. I want millions of young people committed to this agenda for years to come without thinking criminal activity is necessary or trying to explain a record when they go for jobs

9. I care deeply about the environment & Im in no doubt that many XR believe they are doing their best. However I’m genuinely concerned that politicising & anti-social behaviour loses people from getting involved & doing what they can afford/manage/achieve each day.

10. The environmental challenge is urgent & there is always more to do. Conservatives are working hard at this. I love following Carrie Symmonds, Zac Goldsmith MP, Claire Perry MP and Michael Gove MP on twitter – none of whom are glued to anything but get stuff done for all of us.

As I have said, there is always more to do but also worth remembering that the UK has:

  • cut emissions more than any other G20 country, down a third since 1990, taking emissions back to 1888 levels
  • set first date to end coal power in 2025
  • ending petrol/diesel cars in 2040
  • has increased renewables from 6% electricity in 2009 to a third now
  • cut plastic bag use 85% and banned plastic straws, cotton buds etc
  • about to bring in Scandi-style bottle return