SARAH VINE: Fanatical eco-cult are only fuelling contempt

SARAH VINE: Fanatical eco-cult Insulate Britain are only fuelling contempt

Disruption works; disruption is justified. Those are the words of Roger Hallam, founder of Insulate Britain, on his website.

Beneath a moody photograph of himself, Hallam sets out his stall: ‘Life is good and we must preserve it at all cost. Whatever it takes.’

Except, that is, if you’re unfortunate enough to be caught up in one of Hallam and his mob’s so-called peaceful protests.

Asked this week whether he would block the path of an ambulance transporting a critically ill patient to hospital, Hallam’s unequivocal response was: ‘Yes.’

In other words, to pursue his group’s agenda, this man would take action that could deliberately cause someone’s death.

Founder of Insulate Britain Roger Hallam said he would block an ambulance taking an ill patient to hospital. Pictured: Insulate Britain activists block a motorway near Heathrow Airport

To pursue his group’s agenda, this man would take action that could deliberately cause someone’s death. Pictured: Insulate Britain activists block a motorway near Heathrow Airport

It is the kind of deranged logic to which fanatics of all flavours have subscribed over the centuries.

It doesn’t matter what the cause is. Politics or religion, the common denominator is always the same. Agree with me, or moral superiority dictates that you are expendable.

No matter, say, that you are rushing to be with your sick mother in hospital. Or that you have just come around from a Covid-induced coma and need to undergo urgent medical tests.

Plead all you like, weep all you want: your words will fall on deaf ears. Your feelings and emotions pale into insignificance against the single-minded selfishness of the sacred mission.

They will not budge, no matter what, for the simple reason that these people believe that they, and only they, are right. Anything or anyone who stands in their way must, at all costs, be eliminated.

That is what we are dealing with. A fanatical eco-cult every bit as bonkers as any of the lunatics who have, over the centuries, sought to impose their will on the rest of the world. And potentially just as dangerous. 

They will not budge, no matter what, for the simple reason that these people believe that they, and only they, are right. Pictured: Activists block Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction

With prats such as Hallam on the loose, the issue of climate change no longer seems like a practical problem. Pictured: Activist blocks a motorway near Heathrow Airport on October 1

Not just to the public, but to the cause they claim to love. Because the truth is that until this lot came along, the need to modify our lifestyles for the sake of the planet was one that most ordinary people were on board with.

Some more than others, admittedly. But then not everyone can just rush out and buy an electric car, or switch to cycling to work, or replace their draughty windows. 

Bit by bit, though, attitudes were changing. The direction of travel was the right one, both at a personal and political level.

Because this lot are annoying, they make a person want to rush out and buy the nearest gas-guzzling 4×4, says Sarah Vine (pictured)

But with prats such as Hallam and his followers on the loose, the issue of climate change no longer seems like a practical problem we all need to work together to solve — it’s just a source of frustration and anger.

Witness the scenes of exasperated motorists, including a paramedic, dragging limp protesters off the road like sacks of rubble in order to let an emergency vehicle through. The fury was palpable. And I, for one, found myself cheering every one of them on.

Because this lot are so annoying, so arrogant and smug they make a person want to rush out and buy the nearest gas-guzzling 4×4 just to exact some small act of revenge for the misery of the past few weeks.

Of course, we need a plan to counter global warming. And who knows, maybe we do need some kind of figurehead to lead the way. 

But one thing’s for sure: swivel-eyed Hallam and his army of climate-change zombies are not it.

WHY SEEING YOUR DOCTOR CAN REALLY BE LIFE-SAVING

A few years ago, my lovely GP retired early. I was her patient for more than 15 years, during which time she saw me through (in no particular order) two pregnancies, an appendicectomy, double pneumonia, a broken arm, quinsy, swine flu, post-natal depression, the menopause and a variety of other minor medical mishaps.

Shortly before she went, she confided that she had grown weary of all the bureaucracy and form-filling.

But the last straw had been the pressure to operate under a ‘polyclinic’ model, where, instead of having her own roster of regulars, she and the other doctors at the practice would see patients on a random basis.

I was reminded of this when it emerged this week that, according to a major new study, having the same GP over a period of years is the key to staying healthy.

People who build a long-lasting relationship with their doctor are 30 per cent less likely to need out-of-hours help and 28 per cent less likely to be hospitalised. 

This resonates so much. My old GP was not just my doctor, she was someone I could rely on and — perhaps more importantly — someone who knew me well enough to know when I needed her help.

After she retired I moved to a different surgery, and things just haven’t been the same. Covid has, of course, played its part; but this move away from the model of the family doctor — someone who knows his or her patients not just as a collection of ailments, but as real people — pre-dates Covid.

Most surgeries now operate the multi-practice model, and for many patients it is demoralising and dehumanising. I wonder if doctors, like my old GP, don’t feel the same.

I’ve been trying to get an appointment with my new surgery for some weeks. On Monday I finally got through. 

I now have a telephone appointment booked for October 18. I have no idea who I will be speaking to, nor what time they will call me, merely that it will be some time between 8am and 1pm.

Funny, isn’t it? Even my supermarket manages to give me a one-hour delivery slot. Then again, they probably know more about me than this doctor ever will

SAVE BILLIE FROM BRITNEY FATE 

Billie Eilish is to become the youngest artist to headline Glastonbury. A remarkable achievement for this hugely talented 19-year-old. 

Billie is the Britney of her generation, a young woman who shot to fame at the age of 14, and whose life since has been a non-stop roller coaster.

Billie Eilish (pictured) is to become the youngest artist to headline Glastonbury – a remarkable achievement for this hugely talented 19-year-old

Britney’s troubles began when her talent became a prison and her life the property of music industry bloodsuckers. I just pray the same doesn’t happen to Billie.

There’s always that moment when you think: ‘Oh dear, they’re bringing the Army in. That can’t be good.’ 

And then there’s another part of you that goes: ‘Ooh! They’re bringing the Army in. Thank Heavens!’ Sorry, but there’s just something about a man in uniform…

I can’t say I’ve had much admiration for Matt Hancock of late, but all credit to him for having the courage (and stamina) to run the London Marathon on Sunday.

He must have known he would endure some harsh comments along the way, and he did; but he still went ahead, and raised nearly £8,000 for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Everyone deserves a second chance, and it seems to me Hancock is not afraid to work hard to earn his.

UBER AND OUT…

One of the unforeseen side-effects of the petrol panic is that — in the capital at least — you can’t get a taxi for love nor money, especially after hours. 

And now that Uber drivers are striking over pay and conditions, it’s only going to get worse.

My teenage daughter, who was at a friend’s Bond-themed birthday party at the weekend, had 16 Uber drivers cancel on her.

Luckily, she was able to stay at a mate’s house; but until this crisis is over — and given the level of unease about safety on our streets — wouldn’t it be an idea for the London Mayor to lay on extra public transport?

I’m not entirely sure about Dame Helen Mirren’s dramatic black eyeliner and thunderous expression at Paris Fashion Week. 

I’m not entirely sure about Dame Helen Mirren’s dramatic black eyeliner and thunderous expression at Paris Fashion Week

I realise this is what’s known in the fashion world as looking ‘fierce’. But if you ask me, it was just plain scary.

I started watching Squid Game a week or so ago after it popped up on my Netflix home page. 

I lasted 20 minutes before I decided life was already too depressing to watch poor people being tortured and killed for money. 

The fact that it has become the streaming service’s No 1 show tells you all you need to know about the nature of society today.

Given what we’ve discovered about the way Facebook ignored its own evidence about the damaging effects on young people of its social media platforms, which include Instagram, could Monday’s six-hour outage actually have been a timely and long overdue act of God? 

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