SARAH VINE: The horrors in Afghanistan should silence our eco-zealot hypocrites
There is more than a touch of the Prince Harrys about Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, the middle-class eco-worrier movement currently reducing swathes of the capital to a standstill via the medium of, among other horrors, interpretive dance.
Like Harry, Bradbrook is passionate about climate change. Also like Harry, she seems to subscribe to a ‘Do what I say not what I do’ school of activism. While Harry hops home to California from the polo in Colorado on a mate’s private jet, Ms Bradbrook ferries her kids to rugger and football in a diesel car — the worst-offending kind of vehicle in terms of emissions.
Her excuse is that she can’t afford an electric car — and that there are no buses available where she lives on a Sunday.
A plight one would not be entirely unsympathetic towards — were it not for the fact that she and her followers are busy making life a misery for countless ordinary people who don’t have the luxury of being able to take a fortnight off work to dress up as shamans and play the bongos in Covent Garden.
There is more than a touch of the Prince Harrys about Dr Gail Bradbrook (pictured), co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, the middle-class eco-worrier movement currently reducing swathes of the capital to a standstill
Bradbook’s excuse is that she can’t afford an electric car — and that there are no buses available where she lives on a Sunday
Also like Harry, Dr Bradbrook likes to take exotic holidays which require long-haul flights: in 2016, she flew 11,000 miles to Costa Rica. Apparently, this was necessary for health reasons. The health of whom, one wonders? Certainly not her beloved planet Earth.
To be honest, though, bad as it is, the hypocrisy isn’t even the worst of it. Extinction Rebellion are, in many respects, the perfect example of a ‘first world’ protest movement. Many come from a place of privilege. One so innate they’re not even aware of it.
This is not only brought into sharp relief by the seemingly infinite number of girls called Chloe with cut-glass accents gushing excitedly about ‘climate emergency, yah’ as though it were a new type of designer handbag while gluing themselves to the railings outside daddy’s office in the City, but in recent days far more poignantly, by contrast to a more immediate ‘emergency’ unfolding before our very eyes in Afghanistan.
While Bradbrook and her chums waste everyone’s time and money staging their tedious interventions, waving their dreamcatchers and subjecting us all to their terrible dad-dancing, thousands of women and children are facing the grimmest imaginable fate at the hands of the Taliban.
For many of us, watching the unfolding nightmare has put so many of our own petty daily concerns into perspective.
Against such a backdrop, the antics of XR seem not only puerile, but also utterly misplaced.
For a start, they’re preaching to the converted. Britain has long been at the forefront of dealing with climate change, even though we already have some of the lowest rates of pollution in the world.
Police officers detain an activist during an Extinction Rebellion climate activists’ protest, at Oxford Street, in London on Tuesday
Like Harry, Bradbrook is passionate about climate change. Also like Harry, she seems to subscribe to a ‘Do what I say not what I do’ school of activism
But then the truth is the future of the planet is not really why XR stage their stunts. If it were, they would not be targeting Trafalgar Square or harassing civil servants. They would be camped outside the Chinese Embassy, or picketing officials in Bejing, trying to persuade the world’s single largest producer of greenhouse gases — 27 per cent — to scale back.
But they’re never going to do that because . . . well, I doubt whether Dr Bradbrook or any of the lovely Chloes would have the stomach for a Chinese jail.
No, XR do what they do because they’re a group of virtue-signalling, attention-seeking busybodies with nothing better to do all day than harass people who actually have to work for a living.
The fact that the country — and the authorities — tolerate them with such good humour is yet another reminder of what a civilised place Britain really is and how lucky we are to live here.
It’s not a moneypause
Davina McCall has hit back at claims that she is ‘monetising’ the menopause after she trademarked the word ‘menopausing’.
I have a lot of respect for Davina and am all in favour of making the menopause more acceptable.
But the purpose of a trademark is to protect commercial interests, and the word ‘menopausing’ is, let’s face it, unmistakably proprietorial of an experience that is universal to all women.
It’s the equivalent of trademarking the word ‘birthing’ — except not all women experience childbirth, whereas the menopause, like death and taxes, comes to all us ladies in the end. No single person, however well-intentioned, should ever try to own it.
Davina McCall has hit back at claims that she is ‘monetising’ the menopause after she trademarked the word ‘menopausing
As Afghan families flee the Taliban, Anjem Choudary, the hate preacher jailed in 2016 for supporting ISIS but released early for reasons unclear to all civilised people, has urged the Taliban to abolish all traces of Western culture, chop off the hands of thieves, stone adulterers and flog anyone caught drinking.
Perhaps now might be a good time for Mr Choudary, who resides in East London largely at the expense of the British taxpayer, to relocate to Kabul, where no doubt he will be relieved to be finally free of the tyranny of life in the West.
I, for one, would be happy to pay for his one-way ticket.
There is a violinist who lives in my street, and every afternoon at around 3pm they practise, often for hours on end.
They must be a professional, because it is the sweetest sound: endless flurries of notes, dreamy adagios, thrilling arpeggios (as a failed violinist myself, I have some indication of the difficulty of these feats), drifting in through the open window.
It makes me feel like I’m in a Visconti film. But he — or she — brought me down to earth with a bit of a bump the other day when, after a particularly tricky passage that ended in a jumble of notes, they let out a resounding ‘b*****ks!’
At the end of the day, even artists are human.
From fame to forgotten
I was unable to watch the whole of Monday night’s final of Love Island, as I was hit with a sudden desire to stick pins in my eyes.
In the end, the prize went to Liam and Millie, adding to the ranks of Identikit D-list celebrities this show seems to produce.
Will we remember them next week? I doubt it.
In the end, the prize went to Liam and Millie, adding to the ranks of Identikit D-list celebrities this show seems to produce. Will we remember them next week? I doubt it.
Having been married to a Cabinet minister for a number of years, I am more than familiar with the notion of the family holiday being scuppered by more pressing events.
So I must confess I have some sympathy for Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who found himself in the sub-optimal (and sub-optical, in political terms) position of being on a beach when the situation in Afghanistan imploded last week.
That said, these things aren’t unavoidable. For example, we have this very clever thing in the office. It’s called a rota.
What happens is, everyone says when they want to go on holiday and then the lovely assistant, who is in charge of it, makes sure that not everyone does so at once, so that if something Very Big happens — such as, for argument’s sake, Allied troop withdrawal — there’s always someone competent on hand to cover it.
Just a thought.
No tolerance for idiocy
I am scratching my head at the notion of The Tiger Who Came To Tea being a trigger for ‘rape and harassment’
I am scratching my head at the notion of The Tiger Who Came To Tea being a trigger for ‘rape and harassment’.
So claims a group called Zero Tolerance, on the basis that the book is ‘problematic’ because of its ‘old fashioned’ portrayal of women and family dynamics.
The fact that the tiger is male, and not ‘gender neutral’ is an issue, as is the ending, with the father coming home and taking the family to eat in a cafe.
If we’re going down that particular rabbit hole, it’s also a story about a tiger sitting down to tea with a little girl — thus giving the false and dangerously misleading impression that such an animal would prefer cake to a small, succulent child.
It’s fiction, not fact. Learn the difference.
Food waste is back to pre-pandemic levels, as we abandon good housekeeping habits picked up in lockdown.
I must confess this is not the case in my house, where my 6ft 2in 16-year-old son ensures no comestible lingers more than a few hours in the fridge.
How one human can consume so much without falling into a food coma is a mystery to me — yet he’s as skinny as a rake. I, meanwhile, just have to look at a slice of toast and I gain half a stone. Truly, youth is wasted on the young.
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