Ross Clark Ross Clark

Insulate Britain are not martyrs


Throughout the Insulate Britain protests there was a suspicion that the group was deliberately trying to get its members behind bars during the COP26 conference — a suspicion that was enhanced when a spokesperson for the group told the Guardian on 24 October: 

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 we have been. We thought that people would basically be in prison… if our actions are as dangerous and as disruptive as is being claimed, then I think the question has to be: why are we being allowed to continue day after day?

My guess is that we will have a few more Insulate Britain protests but that the whole thing will now generally peter out

If ministers really did time their injunctions to avoid Insulate Britain activists posing as martyrs during COP26, then they have played a blinder. No soon has the circus packed up and left Glasgow that nine of the group’s members have today been given custodial sentences: two of them jailed for three months, six for four months and one of them, Ben Taylor, for six months. He was given the longer sentence after telling the court earlier this week that if he was not jailed he would go straight back out and do the same again, and that if the group was jailed ‘a hundred people will step forward and take our places. If you send a hundred of us away, a thousand people will step forward to take our place. If you somehow manage to stop all non-violent protests then things will only turn violent’.

The M25 nine, as I suppose they will end up being called, are not martyrs and no, they weren’t jailed for protesting.

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