Whose side are cops on?

As radical thugs wreak havoc on London traffic by blocking key roads, some hacks write scathing articles and some others churn out sympathetic ones.

However, no one makes a big deal of the name the thugs go by, Just Stop Oil. That’s a pity, for in some important ways the name establishes historical continuity.

Back in the 1960s, American radicals protested against the Vietnam war by chanting “All we are saying is give peace a chance”.

Of course they chanted more incendiary things too, such as “Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF are gonna win” and “Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” But it’s the “All we are saying” sing-along that must have inspired our own thugs.

“All we are saying” sounds modest, understated, reasonable. The implication is that we could be saying other, equally justified, things, such as calling for violence against the police, terrorist attacks on life and property, poisoning the water supply.

But we aren’t, are we? All we are asking is a chance of peace, which is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? So it can’t be that much to ask. Hence any attempt to disperse us would be an attack on reason and moderation, launched by murderous warmongers.

I don’t know whether the organisers of the Just Stop Oil movement have studied historical precedents. But the word ‘Just’ suggests they might have done. They could have simply said “Stop oil” without distorting the meaning of their demand. But the tone would have been wrong: too harsh, bossy, peremptive.

Yet the word ‘Just’ makes it sound sensible. Just comply with our little request and we’ll go home.

However, if you don’t comply, we’ll paralyse city traffic, superglue ourselves to some museum paintings, throw tomato soup on some others, paint public buildings orange and in general commit all sorts of excesses. But whose fault is that? Yours, for refusing to see reason.

Ostensibly the thugs are protesting against new oil licences, but that’s only their immediate objective. The ultimate aim is to get rid of all fossil fuels, and if that plunges Britain into icy darkness, then so be it. At least ‘our planet’ will be saved.

Arguing against the face value of the argument is pointless, for there is no face value. Much more interesting is to consider the response from our police, sworn to uphold public order.

After all, the disruptions have been going on for months, and only recently have the police begun to remove the road blockers and make some perfunctory arrests. Until now police officers haven’t even tried to conceal their sympathy for the Just Stop Oil cause. Instead of whipping their truncheons out, they’d dole out cups of tea and share a good chuckle with the thugs.

Drivers stuck in central London try to plead with the road blockers, appealing to their nonexistent good side: “I’m an ambulance driver, with a patient in the back.” “I’ve got to feed my family by driving this cab.” “I’ve got to get to work.” “I’m visiting my dying mother in hospital”.

None of these makes a dent, not even the plea that the patient in the ambulance is about to die from a heart attack. Unfortunate, runs the stonehearted reply. But if we don’t stop oil, many more people will die.

Desperate motorists have to resort to DIY policing. They grab the thugs by the ankles and drag them off the road. Some punches are also reported to have been thrown, but surprisingly not many. My first impulse would be to drive right through those thugs, but Penelope assures me that this would be ill-advised.

She is doubtless right, for the Met takes a dim view of even people removing the thugs from the road, which the police tag as “taking the law in your own hands.” Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said as much:

“The police must work within the clear legal framework and secure evidence for the offence of highway obstruction,” he said. One would think that securing such evidence would require no elaborate investigative work. After all, the road blockers are in plain view.

One would think wrong though. For it takes a law enforcement professional of high rank to appreciate the legal subtleties involved. According to Mr Twist, proper, usable evidence includes “showing clearly that there is an obstruction, that it is deliberate, that it is unlawful, and finally within the context of protest, that it is unreasonable in all of the circumstances.”

Only the last part of that litany of requisite corroboration gives a clue to the Met’s good-natured treatment of road thuggery. The other parts are self-evident: an obstruction is there for all to see, it’s undeniably deliberate (the thugs don’t block roads by accident), disrupting public thoroughfares was against the law the last time I looked.

However, and here we get to the crux of the matter, the state manifestly doesn’t regard these actions as “unreasonable in all of the circumstances”. The reason is simple: the state and the thugs share the same suicidal commitment to eliminating fossil fuels.

The only difference is that the state pretends to go about this task in a deliberate, grown-up fashion, while the thugs act with youthful impetuosity. The state thinks in terms of a few years; the thugs want to get their way instantly. But even if their methods and timelines differ, they share the same aim.

Therefore the state can’t possibly treat the thugs as criminals. They are likeminded allies pulling in the same direction, if perhaps tugging too hard. A mild reprimand is in order accompanied by avuncular advice to show some patience. But no harsh punishment is on the cards.

Police officers were seen taking the knee during the BLM riots for the same reason. The state has a vested, divide et impera, interest in sowing racial discord. A house divided against itself can’t resist a steady growth of state power, which is the principal – increasingly sole – desideratum of all modern governments.

On the other hand, private individuals trying to use their own meagre resources to protect their property or, as in this case, to drag antisocial thugs off the roads are working against the state. They are the real enemies.

This should answer the question in the title above. Two short words will suffice: not yours.

6 thoughts on “Whose side are cops on?”

  1. The two morons hanging from the bridge cause a traffic jam that resulted in the deaths of two women. That is murder. Taking action you should have not done that resulted in the death of others.

  2. It is news like this that makes me despair for the future. Are we really going to go back to the days before the industrial revolution? Will my children have to learn to farm? To raise livestock? To weave their own clothes? Then I see reports of large processions on the feast of Christ the King (this past Sunday – in the rigid and undesirable traditional calendar) and I realize that there are some sane people out there.
    Imagine the uproar that would ensue from blocking the road to end abortion – Just Stop Murdering Babies. Would the police bring tea?

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