UK Home Secretary threatens to change law to make Extinction Rebellion a criminal gang
In this newsletter:
Daily Mail, 7 September 2020
2) Home Secretary Priti Patel: Extinction Rebellion Will Be Punished For Committing Criminal Acts
3) Brian Monteith: Why Extinction Rebellion Is The Antithesis Of Progress 4) Douglas Murray: The Green Fanatics Have Terrorised A Generation Of Children. Now They're Turning On The Free Press
The Daily Telegraph, 5 September 2020
Daily Mail, 7 September 2020
6) Breakthrough: US Gives First-Ever OK For Small Commercial Nuclear Reactor
BBC News, 4 September 2020
Daily Mail, 7 September 2020
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel threatens to change the law to classify Extinction Rebellion as a criminal gang
The Home Secretary has ordered a review of the law aimed at toughening sentences for the environmental extremists after they blockaded newspaper print works in a bid to stifle free speech.
Options being considered include designating the group as an organised crime gang, which would leave militants open to the threat of up to five years in jail.
Writing in the Daily Mail today, Miss Patel says the activists should ‘face the full force of the law’ for pursuing ‘guerrilla tactics... that seek to undermine and cause damage to our society’.
She adds: ‘I am committed to ensuring that the police have powers required to tackle the disruption caused by groups such as Extinction Rebellion.
'We must defend ourselves against this attack on capitalism, our way of life and ultimately our freedoms.’
A Home Office source confirmed that Miss Patel wants to see harsher sentences against the ringleaders of a group whose actions seem designed to maximise economic damage and disruption.
‘We want to see some people banged up instead of escaping with a fine they can pay from their trust fund,’ the source said.
'Friday night’s blockade of print facilities in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, Merseyside, disrupted the distribution of 1.5million newspapers, including the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Times and the Telegraph.
Miss Patel’s intervention came as:
* Ministers ordered police to ensure there was no repeat, with Boris Johnson personally ringing the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
* Sir Keir Starmer faced pressure to condemn Labour’s former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who likened the XR protesters to the suffragettes.
* Police chiefs faced criticism for their ‘softly-softly’ approach to the protests.
* Extinction Rebellion was forced to deny it has been infiltrated by far-Left militants such as the Socialist Workers Party.
Friday night’s blockades drew condemnation from across government, with the Prime Minister saying that it was ‘completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way’.
The blockades were the latest in a string of direct action protests that have seen the Metropolitan Police issue 20 fixed penalty notices of £10,000 each under the coronavirus regulations.
Last night Government sources said Miss Patel and the PM had asked officials to conduct a rapid review of the law.
Daily Mail, 7 September 2020
'The freedom to publish, without fear nor favour, and to inform debate on events that affect each and every one of us is absolutely vital.'
A free press is the cornerstone of British society.
The freedom to publish, without fear nor favour, and to inform debate on events that affect each and every one of us is absolutely vital.
I was disgusted to see over the weekend that this institution, and the values we hold dear as a tolerant and free country, were threatened by Extinction Rebellion because it did not fit with their agenda.
While Extinction Rebellion claim to be an environmental rights campaign group, their actions speak louder than their words, and their continued guerrilla tactics show that they do not believe in peaceful protest – but instead seek to undermine and cause damage to our society, disrupting the hard working individuals who are trying to keep this country moving forwards.
Alongside a free press, peaceful protest is a right that is enjoyed by all in this great country, but it is unacceptable for groups to hide behind this while committing criminal acts that prevent the public from going about their day to day lives.
It is not tolerable for groups to attack democracy by claiming they are little more than peaceful protesters.
Last year hundreds of thousands of businesses and commuters were unable to work or travel as the group blocked major transit routes, and police forces had to divert resources to arrest and oversee protests designed, not to send a message, but to cause the most disruption possible.
Our brave officers have been on the streets every day doing their bit to keep us safe throughout this pandemic and stop the spread of this deadly disease.
The actions of these protesters have shown contempt for the police and the British public.
Not only in thinking they are above the law but also putting additional pressure on our emergency services when we face a threat to public health.
As Home Secretary I am committed to tackling this head on.
Police forces across the country are manned by fearless individuals who put themselves in danger to keep us all safe.
Yet more and more of their time and valuable resources are spent policing the actions of protesters whose actions have become criminal.
My message to these individuals is clear – as you plot and scheme to curtail our freedoms you are committing criminal acts and be in no doubt you will face the full force of the law.
You will be punished for your actions.
The Scotsman, 7 September 2020
Political activists who take to silencing their perceived opposition expose themselves as the true fascists of our age – resorting to censorship and physical force to triumph over debate and reason.
Why? Because they are without or cannot articulate convincing arguments that are able to persuade the majority of us to believe their views. Faced with rejection they choose to impose their will – inflicting the greatest suffering on those they claim to be helping – the poorest or most disadvantaged in society.
There should be no equivocation from the truth: Extinction Rebellion and its adherents do not want to convert people to their cause, they literally wish to enslave us all to an economic future akin to the dark ages. The UK government is committed to a net zero carbon economy by 2050 – a target date that can be debated as being unambitious – but to argue the date should be 2025, as Extinction Rebellion does, is to seek our economy to move backwards, economic growth vaporising to becoming permanent recession and killing the tax revenues that generate the public services so many vulnerable people rely on.
The lights would literally be turned out – and there would be no use complaining to your parliament – for Extinction Rebellion would sweep that away too, replacing it with Climate Assemblies. The economic desert that would ensue would be far worse than anything we are experiencing or are about to face due to the Covid pandemic – for governments would not be able to borrow the huge sums they are currently accessing for employment and social support. Who would lend to governments that would not have tax revenues from economic growth to pay the loans back? Subsistence economies have no profits to share or invest.
The year-zero climate alarmism is misplaced. Of course there is evidence that has to be analysed and strategies devised to protect the planet, but there are no policies that will reason with people who think it right to knowingly block ambulances from entering hospitals – as I witnessed this week. In fact there is a great deal that is being done in this world to improve the changing environment for the benefit of everyone. Ironically much of it goes unreported.
4) Douglas Murray: The Green Fanatics Have Terrorised A Generation Of Children. Now They're Turning On The Free Press
The Daily Telegraph, 5 September 2020
Politicians, celebrities and activists of the left have spent years encouraging the extremists of XR to take precisely this kind of action.
At the start of this month the green extremists of Extinction Rebellion (XR) promised 10 days of disruption in the heart of London. Because what our deserted capital clearly needs at the moment is to be brought to even more of a standstill. In the days so far XR have blocked roads and bridges, prevented ambulances from getting to hospitals and defaced private and public property. All a normal day’s non-work for the middle-class’s favourite new radical cause.
Then last night they chose a new target, specifically hitting the printing presses of a number of national newspapers. All are newspapers of the right. All were prevented from getting their newspapers out in the early hours of this morning because of an XR-enforced blockade. The group accuses the papers of failing to report on Climate Change. Among those to applaud the activists was Dawn Butler, the Labour MP who congratulated XR on social media, before later deleting her Tweet.
Such celebrations, like the attacks themselves, are a disgrace. They constitute one of the most serious assaults imaginable on the principles of a free press. Newspapers cannot be told what to run by lobbying groups like XR. Owners and editors should not fear that unless they toe the line of a particular group – any group – then their businesses will be disrupted or destroyed.
But this is the situation that XR is working to bring about. A situation where certain newspapers are targeted solely because of their proprietors or political stance. It is a monstrous attack on the principles of freedom of speech, and no less totalitarian because it is perpetrated by a group from the far-left than it would be if it came from the far-right. If any left-wing papers were targeted in such a fashion then we would be unanimous in our condemnation and it would be inconceivable that any Member of Parliament would applaud such a move. But certain politicians, celebrities and activists of the left have spent recent years encouraging the extremists of XR to take precisely such action.
Only last month the writer Stephen Fry – cuddly national treasure as he likes to be – released a video supporting XR. Specifically he supported, justified and advocated the attacks on think-tanks in London which took place on Thursday, with buildings in Westminster defaced and graffitied. What have things come to when self-proclaimed "free speech defenders" like Fry actually call for attacks on writers and thinkers who disagree with them? Nor is he alone. Over recent weeks a number of prominent actors, writers (including Margaret Atwood) and celebrities have joined him in their support for XR.
Of course they are speaking into a receptive space. It is striking how many of XR’s activists are well-to-do, often grown-up, people in search of a cause. Walking around their encampment in Westminster earlier this week I was struck over-hearing one nice-seeming woman in late middle-age asking another activist if the day before was also his first time getting arrested. Such fanatics have been common throughout London history – Pepys would have recognised them – and this time they consist in large part of bored, well-off people who seek a cause to give meaning to their lives.
But they are also actively recruiting from the younger generation. It is no surprise that Cambridge University was once again the site of XR protests and defacements this week. On our campuses, as in our schools, children are taught that they are likely to die before they grow up. Telling children such things would ordinarily constitute child abuse. But the children’s crusade, led by Greta Thunberg, has terrorised a new generation.
What we are facing here are fanatics: members of an apocalyptic, end-times cult. A cult dedicated to immiserating our society and intimidating anybody who stands in their way. It is high time that they were stopped. It is time that the police move in to arrest them and disrupt their activities. It is time for our politicians and public figures to unite in deprecating their actions. And it is time that we unify again around a core principle: that open debate is the best way to have any difficult question out, and that ceding control to radicals of any stripe is not just where debate stops. It is where a free society ends.
Daily Mail, 7 September 2020
As I write this column, I do so without knowing if all those who regularly purchase the Daily Mail from their newsagents will be allowed to buy the edition in which it appears.
That, ostensibly, is why they had been blockading the print sites of most of our national newspapers.
Their belief is not based on science but is quasi-religious: they regard any provider of information which does not conform to their strictures as wicked and to be silenced (if they refuse to be converted), rather in the same way that the Spanish Inquisition treated heretics.
One of its founders and still an active member, Roger Hallam, went even further, declaring that 'maybe we should put a bullet in the head' as 'punishment' for those he deems responsible for this alleged impending planetary extinction.
Although it was the bulk of the newspaper industry that his group has been attempting to intimidate and shut down this weekend, last year it tried something similar with the BBC, massing outside New Broadcasting House, preventing many of the corporation's journalists from getting in, while holding up banners with the slogan 'BBC, your silence is deadly'.
In fact it is Extinction Rebellion which wishes to silence voices it disapproves of; and it was almost comical that it should have targeted the national broadcaster, which has itself taken the decision not to allow airtime to anyone who questions the idea that man-made climate change is the biggest global threat to human health (although the coronavirus pandemic might have caused some inside that organisation to wonder belatedly whether in fact disease might be the true villain).
Sir David Attenborough, still vigorous well into his 90s, is the cutting edge of that BBC campaign. He has declared that 'we cannot be radical enough' in our policies to reduce CO2 emissions.
It is even more fabulously ironic that the issue of The Sun newspaper which the Extinction Rebellion blockaders on Friday night fought to prevent reaching the public contained an adoring interview with Sir David about 'the climate crisis'.
In it, he told his interviewer: 'We are damaging the environment just by sitting here breathing. The carbon dioxide going out of this window as a consequence of meeting here is quite significant.'
I would have been tempted to reply: 'Don't be silly, Sir David; it isn't.' But the nation's favourite presenter of once ideology-free wildlife documentaries was, as always, treated with uncritical deference.
In a way, the same unwillingness to debate has been both the media's — and the politicians' — approach to Extinction Rebellion and its spiritual leader, the precocious Swede Greta Thunberg.
Yes, the Press is now defending itself robustly against XR's physical attempts to silence it, yet there has been a peculiar reluctance to challenge the protest group's claims forensically. Peculiar, because it is not just that their methods are objectionable: so are their arguments.
Perhaps the only time this happened (at least on the BBC) was when Andrew Neil, during XR's tedious onslaught last year on those attempting to get to work in London, interviewed the movement's then spokeswoman, Zion Lights.
Neil asked her to give the scientific basis for her claims that 'our children are going to die in the next ten to 20 years'. After some confused waffle, she responded: 'The overall issue is that the deaths are going to happen' — which did not get us much further.
She seemed even more at a loss when Neil responded to her insistence that 'billions of people will die [as a result of climate change] over the next few decades': 'I looked through the report of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and there is no reference to anything of the sort.'
Alas, the BBC have since parted company with Mr Neil, whose critical approach to this matter is not their house style.
As for Ms Lights, she has since left XR … to become an advocate of nuclear power.
In a brave article, she said that she had become aware that this country (or any other developed nation) could not abandon fossil fuels and still keep the lights on without rapid development of nuclear power — the only reliable way of mass-producing energy without emitting CO2.
No amount of wind or solar energy installations can produce energy 24 hours a day, or in absolutely reliable quantities: they are inherently intermittent in their production.
As the late chief scientific adviser to the Government, Professor Sir David MacKay, said a week before he died in 2016: 'Because my time is thinner and thinner, I should call a spade a spade…
'There is this appalling delusion people have that we can take this thing [renewables] and we can just scale it up, and if there is a slight issue of it not adding up, then we can just do energy efficiency. Humanity really does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics.'
Yet the XR lot regard nuclear power as satanic, not just because of its former connection with weapons production, but also because they shun anything which doesn't seem to them 'natural'.
It seems they would rather mankind died of hunger naturally, than prospered through technological and industrial processes. Or, rather, they take prosperity for granted, without understanding how it was created (perhaps because the great majority of them seem to come from homes which have never known poverty).
Yet our politicians seem cut from the same cloth. When Greta Thunberg came to the UK in April last year, they queued up to praise her and her arguments, which are indistinguishable from those of XR.
Speaking alongside her in parliament, the then Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: 'We have not done nearly enough. Greta, you have been heard.'
Indeed, two months later, the Government legislated to make the UK 'net zero carbon by 2050' — admittedly 25 years later than XR's impossible demand. But it had no idea how much this would cost, or how it would be done.
The New Zealand government did carry out such an exercise, and concluded that to achieve 'net zero' by 2050 would cost 16 per cent of GDP annually. This would equate to £560 billion a year if applied to the UK — equivalent to almost three-quarters of all public expenditure.
Yet this legislation was passed without even a debate, let alone a vote in the House of Commons: it was enacted through a statutory instrument. This could only happen because the overwhelming majority of MPs are too scared to be seen as so-called 'climate change deniers'.
And they absolutely refuse to engage with such rigorous thinkers as Bjorn Lomborg, the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre think-tank, or Michael Shellenberger (named as a 'hero of the environment' by Time Magazine in 2008), both of whom argue that grotesquely excessive resources are being ineffectually dedicated to 'preventing' climate change.
So Bjorn Lomborg's latest book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts The Poor, And Fails To Fix The Planet, has been almost entirely ignored in the British media (forget about any BBC interviews with Lomborg).
And I believe the Daily Mail is the only British newspaper which has given much space to Shellenberger's new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All — perhaps the most pertinent of his points being that to move to 100 per cent renewables 'would require increasing the proportion of land used for energy from today's 0.5 per cent to 50 per cent'.
The fact that the British political establishment — and the bulk of the media — have ceased even to engage in this debate, on an intellectual level, has left the ground free for Extinction Rebellion to occupy. Really, they didn't need to try to silence the Press. The intimidation and groupthink has done its work quite thoroughly already.
Associated Press, 2 September 2020
U.S. officials have for the first time approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor, and a Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor that Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho.
The small reactors can produce about 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors. The first would be built in 2029, with the rest in 2030.
NuScale says the reactors have advanced safety features, including self-cooling and automatic shutdown.
“This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the entire U.S. nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins in a statement.
Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems already has agreements with the Energy Department to build the reactors at the federal agency’s 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility that would help with the development of the reactors.
The Department of Energy has spent more than $400 million since 2014 to hasten the development of the small modular reactors, or SMRs.
“DOE is proud to support the licensing and development of NuScale’s Power Module and other SMR technologies that have the potential to bring clean and reliable power to areas never thought possible by nuclear reactors in the U.S., and soon the world,” said Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy.
The energy cooperative has embarked on a plan called the Carbon Free Power Project that aims to supply carbon-free energy to its nearly 50 members, mostly municipalities, in six Western states. The company plans to buy the reactors from NuScale, then assemble them in Idaho. The company is also looking to bring on other utilities that would use the power generated by the reactors.
see also GWPF report on UK failure: Small Modular Nuclear: Crushed at Birth
BBC News, 4 September 2020
Green energy company collapses, 230 staff lose their jobs
A council has apologised after losing millions of pounds of public cash in the collapse of an energy company it started.
Robin Hood Energy (RHE) is shutting with the loss of 230 jobs despite millions poured into it by Nottingham City Council.
British Gas will take on its customer base of thousands of homes in England.
The council said the sale will not make up all its losses, which leaked documents suggest are £38.1 million.
Council leader David Mellen declined to say how much it stands to lose, saying the total from the sale will depend on how many customers switch to British Gas.
However, leaked documents seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service suggest the taxpayers of Nottingham are out of pocket to the tune of £38.1 million.
The confidential documents show the sale price for the customer base of RHE is estimated by the council to be around £26 million.
The final exact figure will not be known until the transfer of customers to British Gas is complete, but the £38.1 million write-off is the council’s estimate.