What if it had been an anti-abortion protest?

First the facts. A group of 40 Greenpeace fanatics stormed a City banquet just as Chancellor Hammond was about to speak.

Mark Field won’t be smiling for much longer

As one wild-eyed woman rushed towards the Chancellor, Foreign Office minister Mark Field grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and marched her out of the room.

The ensuing outrage couldn’t have been any more hysterical had Mr Field smashed the fanatic’s head with a champagne bottle. Both Labour and LibDem spokesmen are demanding that Mr Field be summarily sacked.

The word ‘assault’ has been bandied about, accompanied by feigned amazement that the police hadn’t been involved. Assault is of course a crime with, depending on its severity, a custodial sentence a possible outcome.

Greenpeace have issued a whining statement about Mr Field’s utterly unwarranted brutality. After all, they merely intended to “flash-mob the Chancellor’s podium, hijack the microphone and give the speech we all need in a climate emergency.”

Allow me to paraphrase. Those crazed extremists breached the security of a private gathering, disrupted the Chancellor’s speech and rushed towards the podium, intending to yank the microphone out of his hand by force and scream frenzied gibberish at the bemused attendees.

It was a distinct possibility that the Chancellor was facing a physical threat as well. Those zealots have been known to resort to fire bombs, not just the flash ones. The ejected woman could well have had a weapon in her handbag, and any sensible person should have accounted for that possibility.

Greenpeace described their action as “peaceful protest”, but I beg to differ. True, the fanatics involved turned out to be unarmed, but breaking through a cordon of security guards and rushing towards the podium was a violent act in itself, even if it wasn’t followed by a fusillade.

At such stressful moments one must expect the worst. For example, a burglar breaking into a house at night may ‘only’ want a computer, a TV set and perhaps some jewellery.

However, the man of the house is unaware of the criminal’s intentions. He owes it to himself and his family to assume that it’s not just their property but also their lives that are in danger. The man is therefore justified in thwarting the crime with any weapon he has at his disposal.

This principle is no longer valid in our courts, and hasn’t been since justice and morality went their separate ways. However, bringing them back together, it takes a warped, or else non-existent moral sense to deny this simple, millennia-old logic.

In other words, Mr Field acted preemptively, decisively and justifiably. Yet he may still fall victim to the pernicious New Age cult of modernity. It’s not his action that’s deemed to be ipso facto objectionable, but its target.

Greenpeace activism (along with other faddish crazes, such as animals’ rights, militant feminism or anti-fur fanaticism) has been raised to the top of the totem pole that, in the absence of real religion, acts as its surrogate.

The idol sits so high up the pole that no criticism can reach it. In fact, taking issue with it can’t even qualify as criticism any longer – it’s blasphemy at best, apostasy at worst.

Now imagine it wasn’t a Greenpeace gang breaching the security at a City banquet, but a group of anti-abortion protesters disrupting a speech by the shadow chancellor. Imagine further that a Labour MP acted in the same manner as Mr Field did.

Do you think the public reaction would have been as loud and uncompromising? Do you think we’d be hearing demands for the culprit’s dismissal or even arrest?

If you do, you live in a world that these days is but a figment of romantic fancy. That chap would have been praised to high heaven for his bravery, with one or two insincere regrets expressed about the excessive physicality of his otherwise laudable response.

It’s not the action but the cause that’s at issue. Protesting against warm weather in even a violent manner qualifies as a sacred right; protesting against abortion or euthanasia doesn’t.

For the record, I would have felt the same way had a right-to-lifer been involved in the situation I’ve described. We in Britain still have many channels for expressing legitimate protest without having to act in an asocial, disruptive and threatening manner.

Hence I would have applauded that hypothetical Labour MP as much as I’m now applauding Mr Field. Alas, no one else is joining in the applause.

Facing the likely end of his political career, Mr Field has been forced to apologise “unreservedly” and to claim he “deeply regretted” his actions. 

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis added that the party would investigate the incident, a suspension looming large in the subtext. And even the City of London Police have confirmed they have received a “small number of third party reports of an assault taking place” that are “being looked into”.

I don’t know if criminal charges will be filed, but one way or the other Mark Field will be sacrificed at the foot of that totem pole. New idols have taken over and they are athirst.

P.S. Speaking of the Conservative Party, now Jeremy Hunt has made it to the finals, I anticipate new Cockney rhyming slang expressions, such as “don’t be such a Jeremy” and “he’s a big fat Jeremy”.

3 thoughts on “What if it had been an anti-abortion protest?”

  1. “The ejected woman could well have had a weapon in her handbag”

    Correct, the woman and her associates were the aggressors. Engaging in disorderly conduct. Creating fear and alarm in another person for which grabbing her by the scruff of her neck was warranted.

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