Interview: as Insulate Britain returns to our roads, here’s why you should support them

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain.

Activists from Insulate Britain have rekindled their campaign for better home insulation by supergluing themselves to roads in Liverpool Street, Limehouse Causeway, Bishopsgate and Upper Thames Street.

What a nuisance, right?

Wrong. Well, it’s wrong if you love your relatives and friends, anyway.

And it seems people are getting it – because members of the public reportedly told the protesters they were “doing a good job”.

It seems the organisation has gained a lot of ground since a London mother tried to run over members in a Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school:

The police were informed…

… so This Writer is sure we’ll hear more about that incident in due course.

But what is Insulate Britain all about? And what does insulation have to do with disrupting road traffic?

Vox Political had a chance to find out when This Writer interviewed Insulate Britain’s Steve Gower – appropriately enough, on a road. I recorded the chat, so you can hear it right here:

If you are deaf, please find a text version of the interview below:

Who are you? That’s a good start, isn’t it?

Yeah. I’m Steve Gower. I’m a volunteer advocate for the homeless, I’m currently unemployed, and I’m working – working! – I’m also a member of Insulate Britain.

Right. So what is Insulate Britain?

Insulate Britain is a group of individuals and a campaign that have made a demand to the government to insulate all the council and social housing properties in this country and to provide a meaningful statement to prove that they are serious about reducing the amount of CO2 in the environment [in accordance with] the Paris Agreement of 2015 that they’ve signed up to, by 2025.

How are you doing it?

By completing non-violent direct action around the M25 and surrounding areas.

Why around the M25?

Because unless a financial crisis happens as in disruption to the Capital, the government will not listen.

That’s the important point, I think, because we see it on the news – well, we do; you go and do it – and there’s a kind of disconnect, I suppose, because of the way it’s reported. We need to know what the necessity is. People need to find out why you are doing the things you are doing.

I agree with you there. We made a statement – I personally posted a written statement to the government in August, where our demands were exactly that – the insulation and retrofit of all council and social properties to be completed. Not just talked about, because we’ve been promised this before.

Over 20 years ago, the government of the day recognised that 50,000 people in the UK were losing their lives through the cold in their own homes. 20 years on, nothing substantial has changed. We have got the leakiest homes, not only in the whole of the UK, but in Europe as well.

Would it be spectacularly expensive for them to do? Is there any financial disincentive for them to do it?

It’s not going to be cheap – but my personal answer to that is [to ask] how much value you put on the life of your child, the life of your grandchild, or the life of your grandmother or grandfather.

In financial terms every house is different, but it has been estimated between £500 billion and £1 trillion or £1.1 trillion over a 10-year period.

Okay, but against that you balance the lives that are saved, and of course if you wanted to put it in money terms, a life has a huge economic value. So the economic argument doesn’t work anyway because it’s the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The other figure is that for every pound that is spent retrofitting and installing insulation into people’s properties, you will gain £3.20 back.

Yes, there you go.

But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for my children and my children’s children.

Quite, but I think it is worth putting out there: there is no economic argument for it anyway.

If there was an economic argument about this, because we’ve put ourselves in debt, this country has been in debt since 1690. We have found money when we needed it in the past 3- or 400 years, for disasters or even wars. This is a humanitarian crisis on our island.

That’s right, because the UK of course is the home of the magic money tree.

[Laughter] You said that, not me!

I’ve been saying it for a while now. So you’ve been doing these demonstrations on the M25, these acts to disrupt, I suppose-

And for this conversation. You’re only talking to me now because of the fact that we’ve been on the roads for the last [few] weeks.

That’s exactly right.

I’ve been a ground worker in my past life. I’ve built houses in that lifetime. Those houses are not fit for purpose; they are as leaky as the ones I’ve mentioned before – we’ve got the leakiest properties in Europe. New properties today are within that scope as well. They will need retrofitting in the future. They are today not fit for purpose.

Strangely enough I was hearing something on the radio about that, only the other day. The idea is that they put plans up for approval based on how a place will look and then they try to put everything into it afterwards. It’s always many years behind the times.

There are houses today – built – that are eco-friendly and have zero carbon emissions. Every house, by law, has to be rated from A to G. My personal property is a one-bedroom flat, category E. I don’t drive – I can’t afford to drive, unfortunately. But if you drive, a family car emits less CO2 than my flat over the course of a year.


Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve built properties – as the boys and the girls are doing now in the construction industry – that are not fit for purpose. With this – what we’re asking for – are proper insulation and retrofit, which will mean quality jobs, valuable jobs, and houses that will be fit for purpose, for not only the next 10 or 20 years but possibly into the next century.

How proud we would be of that! How proud a job, and significant, that you are building not only a house, and a home, for a family, but saving the planet as well.

Right. That’s what you’ve been doing; those are your reasons. What has the response been from the authorities?

We’ve had no response other than a mention in the Tory Party conference from Boris himself, calling us this, that and the other…

What an honour!

What an honour, yeah, it has been! I, and many of my comrades and friends on this campaign, may – probably will – end up in jail for our actions: non-violent, direct action.

But we are just the messengers. The real traitor in this episode is our government. They are traitors to our country by knowingly allowing people to die prematurely this winter, as they have done for the last 20 or 30 years.

There are estimates of tens of thousands of people living in fuel poverty who won’t be alive this time next year and we are the ones who will probably end up in the dock and in jail. That just tells you what sort of country we are in today.

And that’s the treachery of it as well, of course, that instead of taking you seriously, they are punishing you for doing something – for drawing attention to something that they should have been doing anyway.

They’ve got one job. For the safety and the well-being of the people.

Yeah, but they’re not very good at it…

Do you have a message for people out there who might be a bit confused about what’s going on?

We’ve got [a few] days now for the government to make up its mind what it’s going to do with our actions and the reasons behind them. It’s also an opportunity for the population of this country to find out exactly what we’re asking for.

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

So you’ve got propaganda against you as well, then.

We apologise for temporarily halting the lives of individuals getting to school, getting to work and what have you; I have been, in the last 20 years, obviously, a parent; I have worked all the hours God sent on a construction site and had injury at work as well, and still gone back to work.

Where it has got me is where I’ve built houses that aren’t fit for purpose. I’ve built schools that I couldn’t afford to send my son to. And I’ve built shopping malls that I couldn’t afford to shop at.

You are looking at Christmas Future. I don’t want you to have the same future that I am living today. When I left school there was one job to every 10 individuals. They wrote a song about it.

Today the tables are turned. The people and the workforce, the working class, have got more power today than they’ve ever had because of the circumstances – what’s gone on for the past two years. They shouldn’t be rushing to work. They should be given a decent wage and decent working rights. That needs to be told as well.

This will not only provide quality jobs, but we demand that we want quality products as well.

Four years ago an incident shook the country, most of Europe and the world, and that was Grenfell. The materials that go on our houses tomorrow have got to be fit for purpose and not substandard. That is also what is on the agenda here.

How they do it – and this is my personal belief but I think there’s a lot of support for it – is we look after our own – we get local craftsmen, local jobs, local workers, local builders to do our work for us. We don’t want the corporates involved, and that includes the materials as well.

They’ve got to be sustainable materials, and certainly not the ones we’ve seen – unfortunately – in Grenfell.

Absolutely right. Okay?

Thank you.

That’s cool.


So there you have it.

Trying to save many thousands of lives – and attack climate change – by improving home insulation=BAD. Actually aiding drug and financial crime=GOOD. That’s apparently according to the people who guard the law.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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1 thought on “Interview: as Insulate Britain returns to our roads, here’s why you should support them

  1. John David Jones

    “The Raging Mum”…All mouth, t*ts, inch-long polished finger nails and gas guzzler vehicle..! Her final words in this clip being, “I don’t care..!”

    That’s pretty obvious, Missus, people who DO care are beneath your contempt…

Comments are closed.