Who Won the Week (25 April 2021)

Prompt image for the Fandango's Who Won The Week prompt

In response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.

I have a win-fest this week. Without a shadow of a doubt, my winners are:

  • Simon Bramwell
  • Ian Bray
  • Jane Augsburger
  • Senan Clifford
  • David Lambert
  • James “Sid” Saunders

To understand why, we must revisit 15 April 2019. On that day, there was an Extinction Rebellion protest in London. Shell’s headquarters was targeted, quite simply because the protesters believed that Shell is a major contributor to global warming.

Various damage was done, but it was small-scale. Windows were broken, graffiti was sprayed. Small fry. Shell claimed that the bill to clear up the damage came to £25k, which is very approximately the same in USD or EUR.

My six winners were the culprits. Their case came up last week.

However, despite admitting the damage, my winners pleaded Not Guilty. Their defence? That what they did had been a necessary and proportionate response to Shell’s polluting activities.

That’s not a legal defence, said the judge, and instructed the jury to find the six Guilty.

The jury, however, bought the six’s reasons and acquitted. Okay, you’re going to have to prove that you believed your actions were appropriate, but you’re not automatically guilty. And, the beauty of English law is that this case will serve as a template for other, similar cases.

For me, this was my winning story, there and then. That we are no longer automatically guilty if we harm companies as they harm us.

But I wanted to take this story one step further. The ages of my winners.

  • Simon Bramwell is 49
  • Ian Bray is 53
  • Jane Augsburger is 55
  • Senan Clifford is 60
  • David Lambert is 62
  • Sid Saunders is 41

None of these people is Greta Thunberg. None of these people is a fresh-faced teenager arguing that companies like Shell are stealing their future. This is a bunch of mature people who are saying “We have watched this cycle for decades. Have seen the indignance, the protests, the public’s appetite for change and the subsequent inaction by both companies and governments. And we have had enough.”. That is exactly how I feel – I’m not prepared to pussy-foot this.

I think long and hard about the validity of ER’s actions, how they directly affect people who might not themselves be contributing directly to climate change. But who, in many cases, are contributing indirectly. Shell made a profit of $16.5 bn in 2019, and that money must have come from somewhere.

We’re very good a dealing with protest here – protest as much as you like, as long as it doesn’t actually affect anyone. The whole point of protest is that it does affect people. To make them realise something. In this case, I can justify ER’s actions as proportional, every time.

I’m not sure how much there is left to win any more – I’m very pessimistic about climate change – but my generation (I’m 53) certainly has nothing left to lose.


Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

22 thoughts on “Who Won the Week (25 April 2021)”

  1. Very Malcom X—by any means necessary. In this case, a major contributing company to global warming. What can the powerless do to regain power or show their opposition? While in this case, it was minor vandalism, this is a tough one for me, as it opens up discussion on whether violence is ever justified, and I’m usually staunchly opposed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny you should mention Malcolm X. He is somebody whose view I respect so much. But I hadn’t hitherto made that direct connection.

      My view is that violence is sometimes an appropriate response to violence. We also need to be clear that what polluters are doing is violent towards us.


            1. It’s difficult to imagine that anybody can be walking around oblivious to what is happening, I think. I think we’re beyond the stage of ingonance, anybody who pollutes is doing so consciously. Certainly obvious things like CO2.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting story, at many levels: the charges, the protest, the protesters’ profiles, and the outcome. So much to think about, and it is too bad that Shell was not then forced to respond for the damage they have inflicted. Great choice of winners!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, I’m so against this kind of behaviour. No matter what their age, no matter what the justification or reason. This is criminal damage and tit for tat is no excuse.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Not according to the judge.
    Why do you always need to be argumentative? This isn’t Twitter or Facebook, Why not just agree to disagree?

    You believe that tit for tat is okay and I don’t..They committed Criminal damage, and a jury let them off. That simple

    And lucky for them we don’t live in America with armed guards they could have been shot for less!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes you stated the facts of the case and more.

    Criminal Damage is clearly wrong no matter what the reason behind it.

    It wouldn’t be the first jury to have made a bad decision by coming out on the side of lawlessness and opening the gates of hell a little wider.

    What’s next, another protest and some out of the way petrol station having its windows smashed and the assistants terrorised because Shell is selling the petrol? But now bigger idiots are involved and the looting begins. Would that be okay too? How about the woman and her kids who’ve just filled up with petrol, is it okay to scare them and smash up their car?

    A different scenario but the perpetrators have the same excuse as the first lot.

    Liked by 2 people

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