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LEO MCKINSTRY: Too often the police seem to care about the criminals and not the victims

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Arrogance, self-righteousness and immaturity are among the many mistakes of the radical green agitators. To that list can be added a chronic lack of sense of irony.

Because just when our country is desperate for cheaper energy, these radicals want to make electricity generation even more expensive by stopping the use of oil and gas and disrupting the supply networks.

They bellow about ‘fuel poverty’, but their policies would inevitably lead to power outages and further dramatic increases in energy bills.

The ongoing protests at Thurrock in Essex are typical of their attention-seeking, self-indulgent style. Organized by the group Just Stop Oil – which now joins the green hall of shame alongside the permanent adolescents of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain – they are designed to stop the supply of oil from the huge factory on the site.

The group didn’t quite manage to do that, thanks to Essex police, but other supply chains were shut down, including the council’s garbage disposal service and the distribution of newspapers, including this one, from the large print shop in Thurrock.

Because just when our country is desperate for cheaper energy, these radicals want to make electricity generation even more expensive by stopping the use of oil and gas and disrupting the supply networks.

This is a timeline of how the chaos unfolded when activists blocked an oil tanker on Sunday night

This is a timeline of how the chaos unfolded when activists blocked an oil tanker on Sunday night

Winston Churchill once wrote that ‘a free press is the sleeping guardian of every other right that free people praise’. But police say this isn’t enough to classify it as an ‘essential service’, so no attempt was made to clear the way for the Post’s trucks on Sunday night.

What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability.

A group like Just Stop Oil has no mandate to block trucks or vandalize gas pumps – as they did last week – but their members believe the justice of their cause entitles them to hold our nation for ransom.

And Just Stop Oil’s Thurrock protest is just one part of a wider program of mass chaos planned for the fall. As Extinction Rebellion warns on its website, there will be a major rally in central London in early September, preceded by direct action stunts, including a ‘Paint the Streets’ initiative.

This will then be followed in October by ‘The Big One’, another monster rally in the capital that will be the center of ‘a prolonged period of disruption until the government agrees to establish an independent citizens’ assembly on climate and environmental justice’.

The appeal to the Assembly is accompanied by a call to take in at least 100,000 people for “large, non-violent, civilian resistance.” In an uncompromising tone, Extinction Rebellion states that ‘we will refuse to leave until our demands are met’.

The right to protest is a fundamental part of our civilization. But the antics of Just Stop Oil and the other dogmatists go far beyond that. Their behavior has shown that they are the enemies of freedom.

Thanks to activists who stick their hands to the asphalt of arterial roads, bus drivers deliver their goods late, business people miss their planes on their way to airports and children are late for school.

What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability.  Pictured: A Just Stop Oil activist seen atop a tanker attempting to block the main road to Oil Terminal in Grass, Essex

What is so striking about the hardline green movement is the complete absence of any accountability. Pictured: A Just Stop Oil activist seen atop a tanker attempting to block the main road to Oil Terminal in Grass, Essex

All too often the police come across as more concerned for the well-being of the protesters than the ordinary working people whose lives they lead to misery.

In a video clip that has appeared online, a police officer tells a group of protesters: ‘If any of you need anything, let us know.’

Perhaps unsurprisingly, enraged motorists are sometimes tempted to take the law into their own hands. But anyone who makes an attempt to drag protesters away themselves is physically prevented by police officers.

Under legislation such as the Public Order Act or the prohibition on blocking public roads, the police do have the power to break up imminent demonstrations.

But the scenes in Thurrock over the weekend reinforced the need for police to be given stronger powers to deal with these irresponsible, anti-democratic troublemakers.

When Parliament returns, Tory MPs must band together to ensure that legislation imposing harsher penalties for their criminal behavior is passed as soon as possible.

What is certain is that the destroyers must not gain the upper hand. In a country already gripped by an energy crisis, their prospects are a recipe for disaster and disruption.

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