I wrote back in early September about Extinction Rebellion's growing troubles as the movement (or was it only a moment?) suffered from the inevitable internal wrangling as the cadres sought to claim the moral high ground for their own brand of idealism. As I've little time for this bunch of self-indulgent bourgeois hippies, I'm happy to say that this internal strife continues. Worse, perhaps, for an outfit that prided itself as epitomising green virtue, are the tales of bullying against staff whose views were not pure enough, accounts of people not being paid, and internal personality cults. If you've been casting an eye over would be revolutionary movements as long as I have none of it comes as a surprise. I note that an erstwhile leaders has just been bailed after being on remand in Pentonville where he had had to share his cell with cockroaches and mice and endure a vegan diet that was apparently unbalanced. You might tell that I'm struggling to dredge up much by way of empathy.
Worse, perhaps, from XR's point of view, one of their flagship policies has come to grief. That's to say, it has given rise to sensible outcomes. XR liked the idea of a citizens assembly because it felt that the random public would agree with them about, say, wrecking the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. Not so, it seems. After meeting over six weekends, listening to climate and energy specialists and discussing the issues, the assembly report emerged a couple of weeks ago.
Unsurprisingly – unless you're an XR groupie – its proposals were not only sensible, but many were already national policy. For example, a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by between 2030 / 2035, and financial incentives to switch to EV. It said, surely sensibly, that the switch must ensure that travel is "accessible and affordable to all sections of society", which might be a tall order. It suggested a frequent flyer tax and didn't like burning wood in power stations. I'd have suggested both of these had I been in the 108 people in the consultation.
XR has cried foul, of course claiming that the assembly was rigged; but, like thwarted children everywhere, they would say that, wouldn't they?