Extinction Rebellion; Unpleasant Scenes In Canning Town Tube Station

What a strangely jumbled up world we live in, do we not? Irony of ironies is that Extinction Rebellion activists have been specifically targeting public transport networks. Be that planes, trains, tubes, and buses, which some argue are indeed the very solution to genuine and understandable serious concerns about the implications of climate change. And the very real threats to humanity as a result the planet being poisoned and stripped of its natural resources. It is quite rightly vital that concerns are expressed and young Greta from Sweden has played a key part in galvanising the world’s attention. Indeed, it has been disturbing to witness some of the very angry responses that she has instigated from frankly a vocal minority of mostly white grumpy middle aged men.

Interestingly the reaction to Greta and the toxic response of some, has been mirrored in the truly appealing behaviour of some commuters captured of course on iPhones who attacked two protestors, who had climbed on top of a circle line train for 20 minutes. The footage shows one of the people being pulled off the roof and then kicked viciously by a mob of commuters who vented their anger, by physically assaulting the protestors. It is tough to watch, and just goes to show that the mob mentality sadly is very much still with us. If the Police had been present no doubt it would have been a different story, but without the deterrent, some people will revert to savage behaviour. What was also strange was that these people were complete strangers, behaving like this at 0700 in the morning.

Thankfully, there were some good Samaritans who went to help protect and defend these protestors. And in many ways this polarisation of people is a reflection of the division, fear, and uncertainty that exist in Britain today. Sadly, this anarchy is not unique to the UK, mass riots in Hong Kong, warfare in Syria, the appalling sacrifice of the Kurds from POTUS. The list gets longer, if you care to look. I am travelling to London later today, to a rather nice swanky awards gala dinner tonight. Would I ever be tempted to attack a protestor because I was late for work, no, not in a million years. It would never occur to me to hurt a complete stranger. But, clearly we have some real anger issues in this nation that allow a minority of people to think that this behaviour is acceptable.

Mind you, some would suggest that the toxic behaviour of our very own elected representatives in the House of Commons, has set the tone for the nation. People seem to be less tolerant in this day and age, maybe it is because we have lost the ability to talk to each other as we have our faces buried in hand held devices. Busy, watching grumpy cats, or checking our Instagram accounts. Some pubs have introduced a policy that customers are not allowed to use their devices in a desperate attempt to get people to engage with each other. When I was in Poland last week I caught a Metro to our office in Warsaw, every single person under the age of 30 was on the phone with head phones on. The more elderly were reading papers and books, or just staring blankly ahead. In stark contrast when on the tube last week every single person was engaged in a device be it a phone or a tablet. Maybe our anger is fuelled by our ability to stop communicating, perhaps we should try to get people to talk to each other. That might stop us dragging protestors off train roofs and kicking the living daylights out of them, before slinking off to the day job.

Written by Austin Birks

October 16, 2019

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