Richard's blog

Plane Stupid at the PR Week awards: the movie

See what happened when Plane Stupid borrowed Virgin Atlantic's table at the PR Week awards. I don't think it's spoiling the ending to suggest that they weren't overly impressed.

Tory bloggers need crash course in basic science

Teaching standards must be slipping, because the collective hivemind of conservative bloggers seem unable to grasp basic scientific stuff. According to Next Left the top 10 Tory bloggers remain unconvinced that greenhouse gas emissions lead to climate change, even though David Cameron, saviour of the centre-right, claims to have bought the argument.

This is no surprise. The ecological arrogance of those who think the planet only exists to supply them won't be diminished by something as wishy-washy as scientific consensus. After all, the free-market nutkins (most of whom are unable to work out that when Adam Smith talks of a market, he might not be referring to 21st century international globalisation, Ponzi schemes and sub-prime derivatives) never cared how many people they exploited, so why should they suddenly start caring about polar bears?

It's the same in the US, where Republicans are as united in their ignorance as our next Government's supporters are. The only thing funnier than watching Douglas Carswell MP declared environmentalism (the belief that shitting in the bath while you are sitting in it is a bad idea) to be equivalent to eating babies is watching American survivalists arm themselves for when Obama comes for their SUV.

In a desperate attempt to make a name for myself on the blogosphere, I present Richard's Law of Ideological Myopia:

  1. people with a vested interest in the status quo will be resistant to change, and
  2. the internet will provide enough information for anyone with half a carrot for a brain to justify any statement, no matter how plucked-from-their-arse it might be.

P.s. the answer to the question posed by today's image can be found here.

Plane Stupid turf Virgin Atlantic out of their seats at the PR awards

Last night seven Plane Stupid activists and one Heathrow resident popped over to the PR Week Awards and hijacked a table reserved for Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic have been strong advocates for the third runway at Heathrow and expansion of Britain's airports, which we thought they shouldn't get away with.

Dressed in glamourous evening wear, the activists entered the glitzy awards, which celebrates the highlights of the year's public relations work. They occupied Virgin Atlantic's table and refused to leave.

Christine Taylor, who lives next door to Heathrow and whose mother is due to lose her home if Heathrow’s third runway goes ahead said:

"It's crazy to build more runways around London - we already have six. My mother wants to live out her days in her own home, but the bully boys of aviation think their profits are more important. Tonight at the PR awards we gave them a taste of what it’s like to be turfed out of your rightful place."

Best offence is a good de-fence

More awesomeness from Ratcliffe-on-Soar: the police have released some helicopter footage showing people getting through the fences.

You'll love the bit, a few minutes in, where they complain of being "overrun at gate 3". Too bloody right: great job everyone.

Fences breached at Ratcliffe-on-Soar

As night draws in, the battle for Ratcliffe-on-Soar (and, indirectly, our future) continues. With police now promising (threatening?) to use new tactics on anyone who refuses to go home and cower in fear behind the sofa, swarms of concerned citizens are taking the power back all around the site.

Fences are down in multiple locations, through a combination of ingenuity, grapling hooks and ninja cyclists. 30 swoopers broke through and blockaded the train tracks by which coal arrives at the power station. We're hearing reports that 10 others were nicked hours before the protest even started by over-zealous cops. Not so keen to help the guy who collapsed with a suspected heart attack though were you officers?

There's up-to-the-minute coverage on the Climate Camp's twitter feed.

Police harassment begins early for Great Climate Swoopers

Climate activists have been harassed, threatened and detained by police, just days before a mass action to take over a coal-fired power station near Nottingham.

On Wednesday at 8.10pm, an activist from Leeds was walking back from a Climate Camp meeting, when an unmarked car stopped and the drivers asked his name. When he gave it, the drivers identified themselves as police officers, and arrested him on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

After being questioned by Nottinghamshire police and having his notebooks rifled through at the police station, the Climate Camper has now been bailed to return at 1pm on Saturday - the exact time of the Swoop on Ratcliffe coal-fired power station.

Over the past two days, UK border police have also used anti-terrorism legislation to detain 4 activists who were traveling to Copenhagen to attend a meeting of the international network Climate Justice Action. The network is discussing protests due to take place during the United Nations climate talks in December.

Yesterday Nottinghamshire police also rang up the info phone of action group Plane Stupid, to tell them not to go to Ratcliffe "because if they did, they would be arrested." Tracy Singh from Plane Stupid said "the police are acting like hoodlums. We are absolutely disgusted."

Richard Bernard from the Climate Camp: "They're threatening and arresting people for just thinking and talking about taking meaningful action. It's very obvious to all of us that the police are only interested in protecting companies like E.ON which are causing climate change."

"This is clear intimidation - they're just trying to scare us. But what's really scary is climate change, and that's why we're going to take control of Ratcliffe on Saturday."

The Great Climate Swoop will be awesome and takes place at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station tomorrow at 1pm. There are loads of resources on the Camp for Climate Action website, including maps and instructions on where to go, which bloc to join, and how to sign up for text alerts.

E:ON gets youtube swooped

Imagine - and I know this will be a stretch for at least 50% of you - that you're working for E.ON's public relations people. You know that Britain doesn't want to turn every hilltop into an open cast coal mine, nor does it want new coal-fired power stations on every doorstep. What to do?

Always quick to take up this nu-media malarkey, E.on turned to a website called youtube, where people post videos of stuff, and started a 'conversation'. The uninitiated reader might imagine this would be a two-way thing, but not on planet E.ON; they basically wanted a one-way diatribe where their stooges could tell us all why coal was wicked ace and we'd all be queuing up for our very own Kingsnorth.

Except that the enterprising ladies and lads at the Camp for Climate Action found out about it and submitted their own films. After much wrangling (and E.ON pretending that 'technical issues' prevented them hosting any new films) the power-hungry power company gave in.

Which is why you can now see Plane Stupid's very own Dan Glass explaining why coal is bad news on E.ON's own youtube stream. I belive that's what's known as an own goal. Socially inept PR team 0, nu-media savvy environmentalists 1.

They think it's all over...


Apologies for the lack of blog post yesterday declaring the conflict to be over and thanking everyone from my stylist to my cat's stylist to the drama teacher who believed in me. I was climbing in the Peak District, having first phoned BAA to check that they weren't planning to make any big announcements while I was away. Their publicist assured me that they weren't, so I packed my bags and went.

But through the impenetrable morning fog came a quiet vibrating. Leo: "Seen the news?" Me: "No, just drizzle and sheep." Leo: "BAA's canceled the third runway." Me: "Ah. Nice." Leo: "Oh, and half of Greenpeace is on the roof of Parliament."

So BAA has told Theresa Villiers that there's not to be a planning application submitted before the election, and Villiers has sworn that scrapping the third runway is a manifesto commitment. Unless the polls are wrong (and some of us who grew up under Thatcher might be wishing that they were) the Conservatives will win the next election. Ipso facto, no new runway at Heathrow.

At the moment it's all speculation, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that expansion at Stansted and Heathrow is pretty sunk. But that doesn't mean that the battle is over. Across the UK craven councillors, regional development tossers and the Secretary of State for Climate Change are all trying to get regional airports expanded. While the third runway may have been the symbol of climate illiteracy, regional airport expansion is a testament to the self-important: "Bristol has to have a great big airport or I'll feel inadequate when I meet councillors from other cities."

So rest assured: Plane Stupid is not giving up and going home. While last week was an awesome one for climate change activists - agreement on deforestation in the Amazon, no Kingsnorth, no third runway - there's still plenty of fight to be had. Over the next year we'll be taking on the regional airport expansion programme and that great generator of demand, deliberately misleading airline adverts ("Fly to Barcelona right fucking now or you'll have nothing to talk about at work on Monday"). We'd really like you to come along for the ride.

In fact, why not start now by grabbing your mates and dragging them to the Great Climate Swoop next weekend? You're also invited to Copenhagen in December, and why not join us as we occupy the runway of... oh wait, that action's a secret. You'll just have to wait and see.