Tag Archives: insulate

#InsulateBritain activists are jailed by #GrantShapps – and then most of them walk free

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain. I don’t mean the freed activists went straight back to their protests, but This Site doesn’t have many pictures of group members and this one is purely representative.

This is amusing.

Knowing that seven were released immediately makes Grant Shapps’s comments a little silly, don’t you think?

Also the fact that he’s keen to jail anybody who makes motorists miserable. Like traffic wardens and police?

As with most Tory government schemes, Shapps simply didn’t think his words through.

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Is negative reporting from the right-wing press fueling assaults on Insulate Britain?

Ink today – what tomorrow? This 77-year-old ex-doctor is afraid of what the next member of the public will do to him and/or his colleagues – and papers like the Mail are egging on the attackers.

Yes, it’s annoying when your driving experience is disrupted by people who have superglued themselves to the road to draw attention to life-threatening issues including climate change – but that doesn’t justify assaulting them by throwing ink in their faces.

But here‘s the Daily Heil showing off its worst fascistic tendencies by venerating some music promoter for doing just that.

It seems

Andrew Dutton was filmed calmly walking along the line of the protestors sat in the middle of the road and spraying them with ink as they blocked traffic yesterday.

The 38-year-old from Harlow, Essex, who works with bands and arranges concerts, later told friends he lost his temper after asking the protestors to move from the A40 in North Acton, West London, to allow an emergency vehicle through – only for them to refuse and stay put.

I’m not buying that. Insulate Britain activists have a standing rule to let emergency vehicles through.

As Steve Gower said when This Writer interviewed him,

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.

The Mail‘s report shows footage of Dutton assaulting the protesters with the ink – with not a single emergency vehicle in sight. So I have a couple of doubts about the claim made about him (it turns out his friends told the right-wing rag about the alleged ambulance, not him).

The piece is highly supportive of the aggressor. Besides the ambulance allegation, it said his friends had hailed him as a “hero” and the protesters – who want better insulation for social housing, to stop people from dying of the cold in their own homes and to help tackle climate change – as an “eco mob”.

The result is that these people are scared. This tweet, and the embedded video, sums up the situation:

We’ve recently seen footage of a woman who tried to run over Insulate Britain activists in her Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school. Commenters have questioned why he couldn’t walk.

The hypocrisy is palpable. Only days ago, politicians were calling for “respect” and for people to stop fuelling the kind of “hatred” that led to the death of Tory MP Sir David Amess.

After Tory MPs were criticised for letting water companies pump raw human waste into our rivers and other waterways, they whinged – falsely – that they were being attacked with hate speech.

But when people are confronted by someone with a cause to promote, suddenly it’s okay to roll a Range Rover over them or spray ink into their eyes?

That is the message the Mail is putting out.

And the Tories must be delighted because once again, they have succeeded in getting people to squabble with others instead of casting a critical eye over the many faults of our (Tory) government.

The protesters involved are afraid – but they aren’t going to stop because they know people have already died because they lived in badly-insulated homes and they know that it will happen to others if they don’t succeed in prodding the government to act.

The – video – evidence shows they are right to be afraid.

What happens if one of them ends up suffering serious injury? What if, next time, it’s – well, I’m not going to put ideas in the heads of the irresponsible.

Will the reporter who penned the Mail piece turn himself in for possibly having incited it?

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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#ConcreteMike : interviewer tells #InsulateBritain spokesman you can grow concrete

This is what happens when a right-wing radio presenter thinks he’s smarter than a simple man with a simple message:

“You can’t grow concrete,” said Cameron.

“You can…” responded Mike Graham – and then had to eat silence while Cameron let the enormity of his mistake sink in.

This Talk Radio presenter actually suggested that people could grow concrete – a synthetic substance.

And then he went on to suggest that being a carpenter – making items out of a renewable substance like wood – is bad. It’s one of the oldest and most useful professions in any human culture!

No wonder Mr Graham said he didn’t want to talk to Cameron – or anybody else from Insulate Britain – ever again. As it is, he will undoubtedly receive a strong shaming over this.

If you really want to know what Insulate Britain is about – there’s a reason behind their road-blocking protests, you see – then enjoy This Writer’s interview with another member of the organisation, here.

The quick summary is that if you agree with Insulate Britain, then you want warmer homes, a solution to the dangers of climate change, and decent jobs for local craftspeople.

If you don’t, then you side with somebody who thinks carpentry is a bad idea.

And if we’d listened to people like Mike Graham back when humanity was first starting its ascent, we’d all still be living in caves, wearing animal skins and afraid of the dark.

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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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.

Wow!

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.

AFTERWORD:

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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Don’t believe the critics – Labour’s plans are good for Britain

What do you think of the Labour Party conference this year? It’s a loaded question and one that is bound to elicit loaded answers.

The propaganda machines of the other parties have been working overtime to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition, with Scottish people who wanted independence (the minority, let’s remember) claiming Labour lied to them, UKIP supporters adamant that the party is full of child abusers (based on a BNP propaganda website, which should tell anyone with a brain all they need to know), and of course the Tories doing what they usually do – blaming all the country’s problems on the last Labour government while stealing the family silver.

You never hear ‘No’ voters saying Labour lied, do you? You never see UKIP supporters complaining about racism in their own party. You never see Tories calling for genuine reform that helps the 99 per cent, rather than the tiny minority that they represent.

So let’s look at what Labour is proposing. Let’s make a list – because, you know what? Mrs Mike was watching coverage of the conference yesterday, and even she tried to tell Yr Obdt Srvt that Labour wouldn’t keep its promises. If we have a list, we’ll be able to check the promises against what they do, after a Labour win next May.

So let’s see what Ed Miliband promised. He outlined six “national goals”, and he called for 10 years in which to hit them. You may very well ask: Has he been reading Vox Political? Recent comments questioning Labour’s intentions have been answered with the simple observation that it takes time to change the direction in which a country is travelling (or in the UK’s case, lurching), and Miliband’s words echo that sentiment. He can’t do everything in one day. It does take time. Let’s look at those goals.

They were:

Halve the number of people in low pay by 2025, raising the minimum wage by £60 a week or more than £3,000 a year.

Ensure that the wages of working people grow with the economy (something that is glaringly missing from the Conservatives’ ‘economic recovery’, meaning that – for the vast majority of us – it isn’t a recovery at all). Miliband said: “What’s amazing… is that statement, that goal is even controversial. It used to be taken for granted in our country that’s what would happen.” He’s right – look at today’s article from Flip Chart Fairy Tales that Vox Political re-published.

Create one million jobs in the green economy – neglected by the Conservatives – by 2025, committing to take all the carbon out of electricity by 2030; start a Green Investment Bank; devolve powers to communities to insulate five million homes by 2025, saving energy and heating costs

By 2025, ensure that as many young people will be leaving school or college to go on to an apprenticeship as currently go to university. It really is as though he’s been reading Vox Political. A long-standing gripe of this blog is that governments have concentrated on academic achievement while neglecting the education of people who have more practical aptitudes. This is a very welcome change.

By 2025, be building as many homes as we need, doubling the number of first-time buyers in the UK. Vox Political would prefer to see far more social housing; perhaps this will come as well but it wasn’t part of Miliband’s promise. Nevertheless, the pledge to build 500,000 new homes should make housing more affordable again for people who aren’t spectacularly wealthy or don’t have wealthy family members.

Finally, to create a world-class 21st century health and care service, funded by a clampdown on tax avoidance including tax loopholes by hedge funds that will raise more than £1 billion, proceeds from a mansion tax on homes above £2 million, and money from tobacco companies. Total: £2.5 billion (per annum, it seems). Some have said this is not enough when the NHS is facing a £20 billion shortfall but we must remember that this deficit only appeared recently and could be the result of Tory scaremongering, or the private companies introduced by the Tories leeching money out of the system to fatten their shareholders. More details were due from Andy Burnham today (Wednesday).

Oh yes, you see Andrew Lansley’s hated – Yr Obdt Srvt really cannot find the words to show how vile this diseased piece of legislation really is – Health and Social Care Act will be repealed by a Labour government. If you don’t care about any of the other measures, you should vote Labour for that reason alone.

So those are his six goals. But what’s this?

“It is time we complete the unfinished business of reform of the House of Lords so we truly have a Senate of the nations and regions.” Considering the way Cameron has been packing it with Tory donors, rather than people of any expertise (as it is intended to contain) this can only be a good thing.

“And it is time to devolve power in England.” What a blow against the Tories who have been claiming Labour want to delay or destroy such a process! Miliband is talking about “devolving power to local government, bringing power closer to people right across England”. That seems to be an indication that he wouldn’t create a new, expensive English Parliament but would give power back to the current councils – power that has been leeched away from them by centralising Conservatives and the previous, neoliberal, incarnation of Labour.

There’s more. He wants constitutional reform. But unlike David Cameron, who wants to impose changes from above, so that they only benefit people who are already rich and powerful, Miliband wants to make it a matter of public discussion. Those who can’t be bothered to take part will only have themselves to blame if they don’t get what they want.

There were promises on foreign policy – to stand up for the UK in Europe, in contrast to Cameron’s strategy which Miliband blasted: “When David Cameron comes calling, people don’t think he’s calling about the problems of Britain or the problems of Europe. They think he’s calling about the problems of the Conservative Party. And here’s the funny thing… If you’re elected the Chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of France, you don’t really think you were elected to solve the problems of the Conservative Party.”

More solid was the promise to recognise the state of Palestine and actively seek a solution to the problems of that part of the world we might call – in an attempt to be fair – the Holy Land: “I will fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side.” Many detractors have wrongly claimed that Miliband is a Zionist, determined to support the Israeli government’s use of vastly superior firepower to eliminate Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank; they had better think again – and look very hard at David Cameron, whose government has done as little as possible to protest at what has been happening.

And Miliband also said he wanted Labour to fight discrimination against same-sex relationships around the world. That may not seem as important to some people, but in some places it is just as easy to be killed by homophobia as it is to be killed because of your religion. Personally, Yr Obdt Srvt finds same-sex relationships unattractive – but it takes all sorts to make a world.

That makes six more goals! Double the value.

These are all good aims. All of them, if seen through, will be good for the UK.

So there’s your checklist, with 12 – not six – goals on it. If you support Labour next year, you’ll be able to check Miliband’s progress against them and you’ll have a chance – halfway through his 10-year plan – to stop him if he’s not making it happen.

Alternatively, you can say to yourself – as Mrs Mike did last night: “He doesn’t mean it. They’re all the same. It’s not worth voting,” or any of the other things the Tory campaign chief Lynton Crosby would like you to believe, and you can sit on your thumbs at home. That would be a vote for the Conservatives to carry on raping your country and ripping you off.

If Labour win in spite of people like that, then they will still benefit from the changes Miliband wants to introduce, along with the rest of us. If the Conservatives win because of those people, then we will all lose – apart from a miserably small band of super-rich, super-selfish, super-arrogant and entitled exploiters who tell Cameron what to do.

Framed that way, it isn’t really a choice at all, is it?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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