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The Hypocrisy and Left-Wing Nature of the Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion want to save the planet, however how will they do so whilst alienating those who do not share their radical left-wing agenda? They are just petulant Corbynistas, Tom Bromwich argues.

Extinction Rebellion has reared its ugly head over the past fortnight, protesting outside Cambridge's HSBC and Barclays, the Bank of England, and Brussels' financial headquarters in response to increased financial investments in fossil fuels since 2016. Putting Extinction into context, I am reminded of the quote, "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter". These irresponsible troublemakers, are also revered as principled civilians passionate about conserving the environment for the future. However, how much of this is true?

Extinction is a protest group advocating for some terrific policies: Stewardship of the planet, institutional environmental change and non-violent protest. It forces us to examine, holistically, what part we have played in climate change, and what we can do to tackle it. 

However, whilst the group may stand on a platform emphasising environmental degradation, animal welfare, anthropocene extinction and conservation, my objection is with the people themselves. I cannot disqualify their reasons for protesting, as I believe if no one did we would be in a worse situation. I wish to highlight the politicised nature of those who participate and the sheer hypocrisy of Extinction's leadership who often operate under the veneer of broad popular support.

One simply has to look and see that, seemingly, the vast majority of protesters are the types of people you would expect to see on this type of demonstration. Aside from the fact many of their mung bean-munching membership are dressed like scarecrows, the vast majority are left-wing. Simply browse the Twitter accounts of those who have been on Extinction rebellion previously. Scroll back and you'll find a treasure chest of Corbynista propaganda (#JC4PM), anarchy symbols or #FBPV, #stopbrexit, and #ACAB social media posts.

Now, I'm not saying they aren't allowed to believe in these things. I don't share their beliefs. However, for such a protest to look representative it needs the inclusion of a broad coalition of many, like me, who want to help save the planet, but don't want to be associated with Extinction's radical leftist leadership and agenda.

Just look at the social media activities of Extinction's creators, Roger Hallam where he accused Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson  of "hijacking our democracy" in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum. Additionally, the group's spokesman Robin Boardman-Pattison tweeted that allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were an Israeli-organised "smear campaign against Corbyn". For a group touting a broad coalition of support, there is clearly one set of people they ideologically despise: the Right. 

The patronising tone of Extinction is not really surprising. What else can you expect from privileged left wing 'I-know-better-than-you-ers', who strut around professing to be saviours of humanity, bathing in the golden light of virtue-signalling, constantly assuming that they have the right to dictate to average people how to live their lives without considering the minutiæ of detail required when attempting largescale reforms. Institutional largescale reforms require the boring administrative aspects and cannot simply come about through banging a couple of drums in Westminster, or carrying a placard saying 'capitalism is costing the Earth' whilst atonally singing 'We Shall Overcome'. 

Additionally, for a group which has that 'left-wing' support base (one you would hope to see applied to helping the working classes), such policies as scrapping cars, increased tax on fuel, and getting rid of vast swathes of manufacturing cannot be seen as anything other than detrimental to these workers – Extinction's educated, Waitrose Essentials membership can afford to pay for – they are blinkered by the fact that others cannot.

If this was not bad enough, the sheer hypocrisy of many in Extinction's high-ranking echelons would be. Robin Boardman-Pattison preaches that air travel must only be used in emergencies. Yet scroll back through his Instagram and you will find pictures of this incredibly middle-class millennial jetting off to enjoy THR££ skiing holidays in the past 2 years.

Another campaigner, Emma Thompson, took a plane from Los Angeles to London to stand on top of a pink boat and lecture us about our carbon footprint. She didn't even fly economy class! This simply shows how Extinction has acted as a breeding ground for some of the most middle-class, privileged and pious activists to preach from their 'holier than thou' position.

I don't want to starve the issues Extinction are raising from oxygen. I am grateful people, unlike those I have described, are selflessly raising them, not simply as a springboard for their own ambitions, fame and self-praise. My problem is with the left-wing leadership's pretence that they are anything but far-left ideologues who hate people like me. I even went vegetarian to be more environmental! There's no pleasing some people.

Tom Bromwich recently graduated from the University of Warwick with a Politics and International Studies degree. Despite his conservative leanings, Tom has also advised the campaigns of Florida’s Democratic politicians including Congresswoman Debbie Murcarsel-Powell, Senator Bill Nelson, and Mayor Andrew Gillum.
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