It’s Time to Stand Up to Extinction Rebellion


I was quietly chuffed to read last month that the counter-terrorism police had placed Extinction Rebellion (XR) on a list of organisations that should be reported to Prevent, not least because it meant I could report a chunk of my college and get a decent spot in the library. Now, however, it’s clear that all of this posturing from Whitehall was merely that, as yet another XR protest sprouts in Cambridge and is as ever met with little resistance. And so I wonder, what can we really do to stop these brats?

As I write this, the front of Trinity College resembles a winter rugby pitch more than it does a lawn, after XR criminals trespassed onto the grass by Great Gate and blitzed it with their shovels. But, I’m sure you ask, they must’ve done all this digging rather quickly in order to evade the police when they arrived? Well, no, as it happens: the police stood idly by and watched these morons cause criminal damage without even trying to stop them. It almost looked as if XR had hired their own police protection to shield them from angry pedestrians around as they vandalised the six-centuries-old college.

I can already hear one of these limp-wristed brats whining, “what do you care about the Trinity lawn?” Well as it happens, a great deal seeing as I’m an avid horticulturist, but not as much as I care about nothing being done to stop these overgrown children treating Cambridge as their own personal playroom. What’s the point in colleges locking up their gates and upping security this week if they’re powerless to prevent these thugs from damaging listed property?

And what does XR think it’ll achieve by digging up Trinity’s lawn? Rumour has it they then wheelbarrowed the soil to a nearby Barclays and dumped it inside. How brave! I mean, really — such ritualism makes the Catholic Church look informal. In fact, I can almost hear the Barclays Chief Executive calling the whole operation off as I speak. We did it, boys! Next stop, Santander, and their heretical student railcards! Shame on us for not travelling home in homemade canoes like Saint Greta.

But there is a serious point to this too. XR road blockages are reported to have forced ambulances to divert to and from Addenbrookes this week, potentially risking many of Cambridge’s elderly and vulnerable. Imagine claiming to save the world and then impeding people who actually save lives for a living. This really is a nasty lot indeed. Never mind eleven months to live, it seems XR don’t want the sick and vulnerable to live eleven minutes.

Soon this latest escapade will subside though, forgotten until XR’s next stunt where they picket Crêpeaffaire for using electricity or firebomb the aeronautical engineering department. But it’s the Trinity gardener who has to clean up after these vandals, and it’s the cleaners who have to scrub off their vulgar graffiti. Most of these protesters will justify their actions in their plummy, self-important voices, then return to their North London townhouses where they’re reprimanded by their neglectful parents (who had probably made their money by investing in BP). But I ask, why can’t they returf the lawn? Why can’t they scrub the graffiti off? Why can’t they explain to an eighty-five year old grandmother that her ambulance arrived twenty minutes late because they decided to have a singalong in the middle of Trumpington Street? I imagine I’m not high up in XR’s list of potential ‘allies’, but I honestly think this is something that should anger us all. Enough with bending over backwards to accommodate these conceited bastards, who do nothing to help the cause for which they fight anyway. Now should be the last straw, the time we say: Enough.

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