RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Green vandals are being handed a get out of jail free card by the courts
Funniest story of the past few days featured a climate change activist who failed spectacularly to glue himself to a set of automatic doors.
Dr Larch Maxey, a research fellow at Plymouth University, smeared superglue on his hands, intending to attach himself to the front of the Bristol City Council building. But every time he approached the heavy wooden doors, they swung open, thwarting his best efforts. He made several attempts before admitting defeat.
Dr Maxey, a supporter of Extinction Rebellion, is standing as a Climate and Ecological Independent candidate in the upcoming EU elections. Of course he is. We probably know what he thinks about Brexit, too. The same as 99 per cent of other self-styled ‘academics’.
Dr Larch Maxey, a research fellow at Plymouth University, smeared superglue on his hands, intending to attach himself to the front of the Bristol City Council building
To be honest, I’ve never come across anyone with the name ‘Larch’ before. Do you think he made it up, so he can pretend he’s related to a tree?
(Mind you, there was a character in Minder called ‘Larchlap’ — because he was a well-known fence. That was in the episode featuring a bogus Turin-style Shroud, which turned up in Hounslow, next to Heathrow airport, starring Billy Connolly as Tic Tac, a dodgy bookie.)
Not so funny, however, was the decision of a jury to acquit two of Larch’s Extinction Rebellion sidekicks who spray-painted the walls of King’s College London to protest against investments in fossil fuels.
Roger Hallam (pictured) and David Durant defaced the interior of the college’s listed Great Hall. They argued, however, that because they used chalk-based soluble paint, the damage wasn’t permanent
Roger Hallam and David Durant defaced the interior of the college’s listed Great Hall. They argued, however, that because they used chalk-based soluble paint, the damage wasn’t permanent.
So that’s all right, then.
Despite the judge ruling that he would not allow the proceedings to be turned into a show trial about climate change, that’s exactly what happened. M’lud had to interrupt Hallam 15 times to stop him peddling green propaganda.
In his defence, Hallam argued that he was entitled to inflict damage on the college because it was investing in fuels which caused imminent harm to others.
The jury swallowed this guff and found the two men not guilty of criminal damage.
It seems emotion overruled the facts, just as it did a few years ago when Greenpeace activists were cleared of causing £30,000 damage to a coal-fired power station in Kent. That set a worrying precedent, by establishing a spurious ‘lawful defence’ argument, which is now widely exploited by green warriors.
The power station protesters claimed their action was justified because it was aimed at preventing wider harm being caused — i.e. stopping the ice caps melting and saving the polar bears.
Woolly-headed verdicts like these will only encourage militant eco-mentalists to stage more disruptive protests, such as the ludicrous fortnight-long street circus which brought London to a standstill recently — with the disgraceful connivance of the police and the Mayor.
Pretending you are saving the planet would appear to be a guaranteed ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card, a licence to damage property and cause as much havoc as possible.
Extinction Rebellion environmental activist organizer Roger Hallam (standing in red) talks to protesters trying to stop police from removing their boat on April 19, 2019 in Oxford Circus
Still, these stunts obviously work. A few weeks after Hallam and Durant sprayed paint on the walls of the Great Hall, King’s College caved in, cancelled all holdings in fossil fuel stocks and promised to become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2025. Presumably, had Dr Larch Maxey been successful in sticking himself to the doors, he’d have been found not guilty, too.
So we’ve now got one law for common-or-garden vandals and graffiti artists and another for tree-huggers and polar bear enthusiasts.
Maybe we should all pretend to be eco-warriors in future.
Next time you’re given a ticket for stopping on a double-yellow, claim you were only doing so to prevent further holes appearing in the ozone layer.
You could always say that the reason you stopped in a ‘No Parking’ zone was because you had suddenly realised how much your exhaust fumes were contributing to global warming and you simply had to switch off the engine immediately because you couldn’t bear to drive any further.
Case dismissed? I think not.
You would have more chance of gluing yourself to a set of automatic doors.
A few years ago, a mate of mine in Surrey found himself living next door to a gang of Hell’s Angels. As you do.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, he was having a barbecue in the back garden when the peace was disturbed by the Walton-on-Thames chapter of the Sons of Anarchy staging an axe-throwing contest.
He became a little alarmed when, after a few drinks had been taken, the hurled axes starting missing the mature apple tree they were aimed at and began slamming into his garden fence.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, a mate of mine was having a barbecue in the back garden when the peace was disturbed by the Walton-on-Thames chapter of the Sons of Anarchy staging an axe-throwing contest
Now, though, recreational axe-throwing is no longer confined to biker gangs and Viking warrior wannabes. It’s gone mainstream. Dedicated axe-throwing clubs have opened in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and have become especially popular with young women, who are proving to have deadlier aim than the males. Some women are able to throw two axes simultaneously.
The only concession to elf’n’safety is that, unlike the Hell’s Angels, the clubs only serve alcohol-free beer and competitors must sign a waiver stating that they’re not drunk or on drugs.
Thank heaven for small mercies. I hate to think what carnage could be caused by a prosecco-fuelled hen party armed with axes on a girls’ night out.
Knickers, knackers, Verhofstadt
Mention of the late Les Dawson in Friday’s column brought a smile to the faces of many Mail readers. Peter Crawford wrote from Nantwich that after seeing Les and the ‘travelling community’ on the same page, it reminded him of one of the great man’s old jokes.
‘I wouldn’t say my mother-in-law was fat, but the last time she put her dress on the washing line, a family of gypsies moved in.’
And Neil Furze, from Worthing, got in touch to say that whenever he sees the smug EU bigwig Guy Verhofstadt — spotted in London last week interfering in the EU elections on behalf of the Lib Dems — he can’t help thinking how much he looks like Les Dawson’s lecherous character Cosmo Smallpiece.
Knickers, knackers, knockers!
Neil Furze, from Worthing, got in touch to say that whenever he sees the smug EU bigwig Guy Verhofstadt — spotted in London last week interfering in the EU elections on behalf of the Lib Dems — he can’t help thinking how much he looks like Les Dawson’s lecherous character Cosmo Smallpiece
The old political parties may be imploding, but that hasn’t stopped MPs preening themselves.
Tory hopefuls are lining up to succeed dead woman walking Mrs May.
You magazine on Sunday featured a fashion shoot with someone called Liz Truss, who I always thought was the woman who wrote that book about punctuation. Miss Truss was made up to within an inch of her life and togged out like Sharon Stone. It was the most cringe-making set of photos since Mother Theresa’s ill-advised leather trousers portfolio. The headline asked: ‘Is this Britain’s next Prime Minister?’
To which the only answer is: No.
Elsewhere, another MP called Matthew Something was photographed in a pair of red sneakers, looking like a 16-year-old. Yet he is being tipped laughably as one-half of a ‘dream ticket’ with Look Back In Amber Rudd.
In your dreams.
James Brokenshire was pictured doing a man of the people act in his kitchen, in front of not one, but two double ovens. You’ve heard of Two Jags. Now meet Two Ovens.
Apparently, Brokenshire used to be the voice of in-store adverts at the Texas Homecare store in Loughton, Essex.
I’m assuming they paid him in ovens.
What would Brian Walden have made of Andrew Marr’s character assassination attempt on Nigel Farage? Walden, who has died, aged 86, was the pioneer of the kind of Sunday morning politics show Marr presents.
He was an avowed Brexiteer. Marr is a fine journalist and thoughtful interviewer but he let himself down badly on Sunday, going for Farage’s jugular. What the hell have Vladimir Putin, global warming and health tourists with HIV got to do with Brexit and the betrayal of democracy, the only issues at the EU elections?
Farage was right to treat Marr’s questioning with contempt. But it is a sign of the incestuous political class’s desperation that because they have no idea how to play the ball, they are playing the man instead. Farage should look upon it as a badge of honour.
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