The campaign of criminal damage in Edinburgh is targeting companies engaged in decent, lawful and worthwhile activities, says Alan Cochrane.
The term “useful idiots”, most commonly attributed to Lenin to describe Soviet sympathisers in the West, has never been more appropriate this morning than in describing those who give public support to the hooligans causing criminal damage in Edinburgh in the cause, they claim, of averting climate change.
Supporting a malign cause in the mistaken belief that it is a force for good when common sense should suggest the opposite is a common feature of the deluded in our midst and nowhere is this better demonstrated than when the words “climate change” are mentioned. Simply uttering them apparently justifies any action, no matter how daft or how violent.
Yesterday, and in no particular order, saw some nutters – although they prefer the term "activists" - superglue themselves to the car park at Royal Bank of Scotland offices, whilst others climbed onto the roof of Forth Energy’s HQ, and two chained themselves to the front of the building. Windows had been previously smashed at RBS’s head office at Gogarburn, which has seen a Climate Camp – so-called – installed outside for several days now.
An "oil slick", using molasses, was created outside Cairn Energy’s office in Lothian Road and similar, but much more dangerous, slicks were also poured onto the main A720 and A8 roads. And a Clydesdale Bank branch was spray-painted.
Whilst superglue was also used to stick protestors together on a bridge over the A8 , at the Port of Leith and at other RBS premises near the Gyle Shopping Centre, the mystery to me was why the police bothered to remove them. The nights are fair drawing in and I’m sure our committed friends would have been happy to stick it out as the winds of autumn arrive.
What all of this is about is the claim that each of the companies targeted is involved in investing directly or in bankrolling, through loans, what one Sunday newspaper called “dirty oil.” The oil they were talking about, however, is the same oil that we all use in our cars and, presumably, the same oil that is used to deliver that newspaper.
And the particular sin in the case of RBS is that it is lending money to household names like BP, Shell and the like, when it is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer. It doesn’t appear to matter that it is only by making successful investments that RBS will ever be able to redeem the damage done by "Fred the Shred" and pay back the taxpayer.
No mention is made by the protestors of the thousands of people employed around the world by these companies as a result of these loans or of the pension funds of millions of people that benefit from any profits made.
Instead, we’ve been treated to a quite hilarious account by one of the principal "useful idiots" of life in the Climate Camp, complete with a detailed account of how well ordered everything is by these “earnest, clean-shaven and fresh-faced twenty-somethings,” including lots of stuff you didn’t need to know about their sanitary arrangements.
In their arrogant desire to justify anything and everything connected with this sort of protest, these unashamed apologists for illegality ignore the fact that it is taxpayer-funded policemen who are caught in the middle, trying on the one hand to allow peaceful demonstrations but vilified if they act against law-breakers.
The greater the current economic downturn, the less we hear about climate change or other so-called environmental and "green" concerns; it was ever thus, which is why this lot have to resort to a high-profile attack that’s concentrated in the main against an outfit like RBS, which is not the UK’s most popular concern at the moment.
By their activities in the recent past, banks such as RBS have not exactly been innocent in helping to deepen this country’s economic gloom but they and concerns like Forth Energy, Cairn Energy, Clydesdale Bank and others being targeted in Edinburgh at present are engaged in decent, lawful and worthwhile activities. They are doing nothing of which they should be ashamed.
It is those who through their idiotic and public backing of people who perpetrate criminal damage in pursuit of entirely dubious objectives who have most cause to hang their heads in shame.