Sunday, June 01, 2008

Plane Stupid? Yep.

You may remember Plane Stupid. They were the ladies and gents who scaled Parliament to protest about runways or something. Not a bad little publicity stunt. They ripped it off from Fathers 4 Justice, of course, but the history of protest is littered with one protest group stealing another group's ideas.

The Guardian on Saturday ran an article about the group - link here And there is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a feeling of muted admiration from The Guardian:
More than audacity, what captured people's attention was the smart articulacy of young activists who confounded the eco-warrior stereotype. "That's far from accidental," Murray says. "We just recognise that it's extremely counter-productive to play into people's stereotypes. I mean, I only own a suit for when I'm on TV or in court. Some people in the activist movement were certainly suspicious of ... how prepared we are to play the game ... At this stage, direct action is mostly a tool of PR."
I have to admit a bias here - almost nothing said or done by Plane Stupid has grabbed my attention. What did grab my attention was the picture in Saturday's Guardian of Plane Stupid. Yeah, they don't look quite like a cliche of an eco warrior. What they do look like is a group of people who were rejected from the Arcade Fire for being too dowdy and frumpy. I can imagine them standing up at a meeting of a student union, and banging on about environmental issues regardless of what the debate is supposed to be about. And whilst you cannot say they look exactly like your average tedious eco-warrior, what they say and the way they behave is perfectly in line with those well-meaning but dreadfully dull environmental activists who watched too much Captain Planet when they were young.

Even when talking about their current legal woes, they show a detachment from reality that you would normally associate with paranoid schizophrenics:
But when we meet this week at a north London cafe they laugh about the bail terms, which ban them from coming within a mile of Westminster. "Was it a square mile or a radius?" says Leo Murray, 31, who is studying animation at the Royal College of Art. They have been granted an exemption: travelling through on public transport. "But what about on my bike?" Olivia Chessel, 20, asks mockingly.
Yes, Olivia, "what about on your bike?" Your bike is travelling on public transport. If it is a fucking tandem and you let the public ride on the back seat. Otherwise, I'm guessing, as private property, that bike isn't exempt. You twat.

But I'm nitpicking here, when there are far more glaring examples of the stupidity of, well, Plane Stupid. Because as soon as you start to pick at the ideology of these eco-nuts, you see just how pernicious and wrong their ideology is:
"I fully appreciate that at the moment, for an ordinary person making choices on their personal circumstances, which is exactly what you would expect people to do, flying from London to Edinburgh makes sense, because of gross distortions in the travel market," Murray says. Urging anyone to alter his or her "consumption behaviour" is a total waste of time, he continues. "We need to change the conditions of choice - not individuals' minds about things."
See that? That is what Plane Stupid are about. They've decided what is right, and given that knowledge, they want to reduce your freedom. Stupid little totalitarian fucks, they believe they have a right to decide how you live your life. The arrogance of youth meets with the naviety of youth - and creates this mindset where dicatorial politics is ok - just so long as this twattish group of acivists is in charge.

And given this arrogance and their detachment from reality, the article goes from bad to worse - to the point where even The Guardian seems to be mildly mocking them:
What Plane Stupid are campaigning for is the removal of that choice - by the closure of all short-haul flight routes. But what about long-haul flights? These would be acceptable, only if they were "necessary". But who would be the judge of that? "We're not policy wonks," says Murray. "But we're calling for some kind of demand constraint."
To translate - Plane Stupid have policies, they have no idea whether they are workable or not, or how to implement them, but others should find a way of making their half formed beliefs into law. One can imagine the phrase "we're not policy wonks" coming from ignorant protestors anywhere. Hell, it would sound just as normal coming from a racist BNP supporter in Essex somewhere, stating he wants to send all the immigrants back home, but when challenged on it falls back on the get out clause of "I don't know how it will work. I'm not a policy wonk."

And it does seem to be the default position of Plane Stupid:
But when pressed on the "equitability" of this solution - the rich would be able to continue flying, the poor wouldn't - they keep retreating behind the same disclaimer: "We are not a thinktank."
I think everyone can see that Plane Stupid are not a think tank. Probably from the lack of any intelligent thought coming from the group.

The article ends with the group saying they would happily go to prison for life if that is the sentence for escalating their protests. The thoughts of this raging ego maniacs in prison for the rest of their days mildly amuses me - I somehow can't imagine that, when surrounded by murderers, armed robbers, sex offenders and others serving a life sentence at Her Majesty's Pleasure, the whimpered phrase "we are not a thinktank" will save them from a sound beating. Or maybe worse.

There is a case to be made for environmental politics. I'm not sure it will ever win me over, but there is a case to be made. However that case can only ever be undermined when it is supported by the plain stupid members of groups like this.

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At 1:47 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! One of the best blog posts I have read to date!


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