‘We’re like Martin Luther King’: Insulate Britain jailed

'We're like Martin Luther King': Insulate Britain jailed
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It looks like a winter lockdown has come early for some. Nine Insulate Britain members have been jailed at the High Court today, after breaching injunctions designed to prevent disruptive protests. Despite the eco-activists' protests – with one tearfully telling LBC that 'I’m crapping myself this morning and I feel like crying' – judge Dame Victoria Sharp said there was no alternative to custodial sentences, given the severity of their actions and their expressed intention to further flout court orders.

She said: 'The defendants, or some of them, seem to want to be martyrs for their cause, and the media campaign surrounding this hearing appears designed to suggest this. We, however, have to act dispassionately and proportionately.' All the activists will spend Christmas behind bars; Ana Heyatawin, 58, and Louis McKechnie, 20, were jailed for three months, while Ben Buse, 36, Roman Paluch-Machnik, 28, Oliver Rock, 41, Emma Smart, 44, Tim Speers, 36, and James Thomas, 47, received four-month sentences. The group and their supporters chanted 'We are unstoppable, another world is possible!', as they were led to the cells through the dock.

Outside the courtroom, a defiant Insulate Britain spokesman told the assembled press pack: 'The right thing to do is to highlight the injustice, breaking the law if needed. This is what the suffragettes and Martin Luther King did and it's what Insulate Britain has done.' Given the treatment meted out to both the civil rights protestors of the sixties and the suffragettes some fifty years earlier, Mr S hopes the jailed nine have time to read a history book during their stint inside.

It's worth remembering that it was just, er, three weeks ago that the group were publicly demanding to know why they hadn't been jailed yet. A spokesman was quoted in the Observer as saying:

It’s fair to say that there is absolute disbelief and surprise that the campaign has lasted this long. We assumed that we would not be allowed to carry on disrupting the motorway network to the extent that we have been. We thought that people would basically be in prison.

Good to see the government finally meeting one of their demands eh?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this articlePoliticsinsulate britain