Charles Moore Charles Moore

Will Keir Starmer condemn Greenpeace?

Credit: PA Media

Sir Keir Starmer’s piece in the Times on Monday was presumably constructed round the front-page headline Labour wanted – ‘Just Stop Oil tactics are contemptible, says Starmer’. Behind the headline, and therefore unnoticed, was his argument that the Tories are wrong to allow new drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea, and Labour is right to allow only old drilling. This wedge between the two main parties is relatively trivial, since both are still committed to getting rid of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and therefore on course to create what Sir Keir, speaking of Just Stop Oil, calls ‘chaos for working people’. 

Will Sir Keir also condemn Greenpeace’s invasion of Rishi Sunak’s house in Yorkshire last week? The ex-BBC Green zealot, Roger Harrabin, whose outpourings I follow with fascination, tweeted as follows: ‘Even if you hate @GreenpeaceUK, you might give them credit for a really smart stunt, draping @RishiSunak house in black. No one hurt or delayed. Over quickly. No huge police presence. Unmissable image for media.’ Why is it all right to assail the private house of the Prime Minister? Such an intrusion is a threat, and is meant to be. Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of counterterrorism legislation, says he is astonished the police allowed the trespass. He rebukes the Greenpeace Environmental Trust, a charity, for paying out £2.4 million a year to Greenpeace Ltd, the perpetrator of this action. The fact that Mr Sunak’s family was absent does not make it better. How will his two young daughters have felt hearing the news while abroad? How will they feel returning to a house thus violated? What encouragement might this ‘peaceful’ protest, so weakly policed, give to even more extreme people who contemplate violence? How would Mr Harrabin feel if I sought out his family yurt (or whatever planet-saving dwelling he inhabits) and draped it with posters calling for ten-lane motorways through every national park? I shan’t, I promise.

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