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« Stochastic Stern | Main | The unbearable dawn chorus »

Going down?

The highlight of the day looks as though it's going to be the sentencing of the Heathrow 13 - the gang from Plane Stupid who thought it would be amusing to shut down Heathrow airport for several hours. Expectations are that a jail sentence beckons.

The usual suspects are protesting outside the Magistrates Court and there will no doubt be lots of spurious claims that these were "peaceful protestors", as if preventing people from going about their daily business were anything other than thuggery.




It's about time these people were dealt with.

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Reader Comments (264)

Golf Charlie,

A pretty repulsive thought but one that needs scientific investigation:

Does spittle from a human turn a vegetarian meal into one containing animal protein?

Perhaps an answer could be found, whilst in the position of having all one's meals prepared for one.....

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook


The suffragettes could not fight for their cause through the ballot box, apartheid could not be defeated through the ballot box. Accordingly, civil disobedience (as distinct from peaceful protest which is holding up placards) was justified to overcome a massive injustice imposed by an undemocratic state. These scumbag thugs can achieve their goals through the ballot box, they just need to persuade sufficient people to vote for the Greens. They know they can never actually achieve this so, rather than accept the will of the majority, they try to get their undemocratic way by disrupting the lives of others in the hope that they can exert a disproportionate influence on decision making and government policy. They are despicable, hubristic scum who need to go to their room (in Pentonville and Holloway) to think about what they have done.

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Oh Lord, bane they may be but no one is arguing for their rights to protest be curtailed, I strongly believe in free speech even if, I vehemently disagree with its point of view and this includes rabid Mullahs.

But peaceful protest and no trespass only.

We need to debate with words not through deeds and actions, the reason why we are so aggrieved at the imposition of the green agenda - is, we were never asked, it was arbitrarily imposed and with no comeback - how is that debate, how is that democratic?

We remember, how so many 'peaceful protests' end, with some student chucks a block of concrete off the top of a building, hangs on a war memorial because he's so into it and anyway wanting to be excused said that, "he was pissed". Indeed, he royally pissed on the commemoration of those who freely gave their lives in order that he could make protest - recall if you are able, what would have been the alternative had the other lot won?

Protest demons - traitors, just banging on about save the polar bears and by stopping fellow citizens from going about their lawful business, not only is it out of order because indubitably - whether we want it or not the green agenda is being imposed . This additional imposition, protest this adds insult to great injury - who are these brain washed unwashed - to tell me whether I can or, cannot fly if I so desire and can afford it?

Now do simmer down.

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

stewgreen, it is worth adding that the Police in the UK are NOT routinely armed. Their patience and tolerance when confronted by 'peaceful' protestors, is abused by those seeking publicity.

I am not sure how US, or indeed most of the world's Police, would have dealt with a similar incident involving disruption of an International Airport. Maybe this is why it tends not to happen.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's clear what we need here is the reintroduction of stylites - in this case of the eco-persuasion.

In fact I'd pay to see that at he airport - airports need more art / entertainment.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:02 PM | Registered Commentertomo

So when do we jail these damned French air traffic controllers?

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I don’t know that it will be Plane Stupid but sooner or later this kind of protest is going to lead to a serious incident. It’s not even effective. If you are annoying enough, long enough, you may win a demand but more likely you will harden people who might have considered your point. It’s what made a lot of people dismiss AGW out of hand. ‘What are those green loons wittering on about now?’ Marches - yawn.

Public protest is an over used tool.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

If they wanted to protest climate change they could have easily done it within the confines of the law. With a lawful protest the authorities can ensure that those not taking part suffer the minimum possible disruption to their lives. The problem they have with this is that it would have garnered, at most, a couple of paragraphs in local newspaper.

Instead of this the 13 people in court decided that they were going to forcefully impose their will on the hundreds of thousands of people going about their lawful business. Imposing your will on somebody else in this manner is thuggish behaviour.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Bitter&Twisted : "I also wonder whether UEA condones its students who support what was clearly an illegal activity?"

The press release will no doubt say they have been "vindicated"!

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermike Haseler

I wonder what Macmillan Cancer Support thinks about one of their in house solicitors having a criminal record?

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

JamesG, the French Authorities have a history going back over 200 years of not intervening in disputes. This is why two French fishermen and a Lilo can successfully blockade a ferry port, as it only disrupts the British.

If only the French were more welcoming to foreign asylum seekers and refugees, there would be no camp at Calais. Instead, the French blame problems in Calais on the British.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Don't use my court as a political platform"

Shame this particular Magistrate didn't chair the Leveson Inquiry

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

How long before the death threats.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid


Just seen your original comment and I don't think anyone has noticed the confusion. The "these" protestors were the ones who ground Heathrow to a halt. The current batch of protestors outside the magistrates are free to protest as much as they want within the law and that's not who the Bishis referring to. The other guys are the ones who stopped others from doing their business.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Shame these hooligans didn't bring Prince Charles Daughter in law flight to a stand still

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I think it will be very interesting to see how long it will take for the UK population to fully wake up to climate policy and the lack of democracy in this country. When they finally do wake up then I do not think peaceful protest will cut the mustard ^.^

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:13 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Heathrow 13 'people of real conscience' according to the BBC. Did we think they were robots? Perhaps they are.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

There is a profound (but often neglected) difference between the protesters you cite (suffragettes, MLK, Ghandi, et al) and the entitled whiners of today. The former fully expected to be jailed for their actions; i.e. they felt that their contribution to a future good outweighed the very real punishment they expected to receive for their actions (self immolation of course is the scary extreme). It was a form of self sacrifice.
As mentioned, Peter Gleik is now the epitome of the self righteous protesters who would be outraged if given the actual punishment warranted by their transgressions. (Greenpeace protesters are usually of that ilk.) And there would be a lot of silly public outpouring in protest by their supporters.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Daddis

According to the BBC they have been given six week suspended prison sentences.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

As one would expect they got suspended sentences and community work. No wonder people escalate their crimes. Perhaps their criminal records will one day come back to bite them.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Judge choked. Apparently the defendants have degrees and do charity work.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterigsy

"Does an individual have a higher or lower carbon footprint, when in prison? Centralised heating and cooking, reduced travel opportunities, restricted use of electricity etc.

Some useful and constructive research could be carried out, to pass the time."

So, Golfcharlie, is it the Unabomber that's been doing community service as the Heartland Institute's wiki page webmonkey ?

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

How very different would be the attitude of George Monbiot , and Phil and Brandon here , if I and a group of like minded protesters were to disrupt the construction of the next massive windfarm here in NW England . They would be calling for our public whipping and our remains hung in chains outside the Grantham Institute to deter anyone else from stopping the great and noble cause of making a few people very rich at the expense of the natural environment and the rest of the population.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermikewaite

They have been freed--why, I wonder? Tomo, I wasn't suggesting any absence of mens rea in the usual sense; their acts were clearly intentional, they had some sense of the effects and consequences, and they were guilty. However, I do suspect these young activists suffer from impaired moral agency--probably from the combination of irrational belief in their cause combined with a prior experience of the complete absence of consequences for their actions. Apparently, the consequences will continue to be suspended. . . .

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRamspace

Wrong side of the law, right side of history. Slap on the wrist. Heh.

Waitrose (Vegan) Champagne all round tonight :-)

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Ramspace, you've got to do a lot more to get time in prison... or commit contempt of court. But sooner or later this type of stunt is going to act as a distraction for something bigger and everyone will wring their hands and ask why nobody took it seriously and stop it.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Apparently they got suspended sentences. "They acted because of their deeply held beliefs."

I've got a deeply held belief that they should have been locked up.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

One has to wonder what semi legitimate means of disrupting Green Blob Activism would not incur a prison sentence. I am not sure that Green Blob Activists would be so supportive of human rights, if the tables were turned, and their everyday life of disrupting others was disrupted.

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Blimey Brandon got to you guys! What a great derail by that man! Like dogs chasing a ball!

Feb 24, 2016 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

What derail? The whole brandon thing was very on-topic imo?

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

"They acted because of their deeply held beliefs."

So do suicide bombers.

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:26 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

@Mr Shollenberger: These people are thugs, & if not now, they will become so, probably very soon! They have the same escalataion mentality of the Animal Rights Front protesters. You may not be aware, but a few years ago, there was a company in the UK that bred rabbits for laboratory use, the production facility couldn't be breeched as the sceurity was too tight. So the protesters chose the nuclear option, & dug the remains of the mother of one of the directors of the company, & refused to return them to the family grave until rabbit breeding was stopped with immediate effect. The distress caused to the familes & friends was enormous, it was a disgusting & outrageously malicious & spiteful act. When requested for information from the more moderate wing of the august ALF, it was claimed that they had no knowledge of who was responsible. However, unofficially, it was believed that they did know, or at least knew someone within their hallowed ranks that did know.

Now I hear you say, what's that got to do with global warming? The mentality is very similar. Each protest is escalated each time, slowly slowly catchy monkey, as they say! Eventually, they will become so emboldened by their acts of bravado, they will eventually reach a point when nothing will be off the menu where acts of protest are concerned! We have already in this country had a bunch of protesters who climbed a power station facility (power plant to you), causing criminal damage, & on the doubtfully accurate testimony of one Dr James Hansen, were let off with a warning! So please don't think or even claim that where an act of protest goes unchallenged, it won't make such protesters think they can get away with ever more outrageous acts!

I can't speak for manmade global warming protesters, but ALF people aren't too smart. There have been several instances where AFL members have broken into laboratories & "liberated" rabbits used for testing. They have crowed allowed for all to hear about their achievements. However, these rabbits are specifically bred for such work, & have minimal "wild" instincts, & would most likely have been killed by a wild buck rabbit all within a few days, somewhat defeating the object of their liberation! Just sayin'!

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Yeah only caused "astronomical" costs and disruption.

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Which one will be Knighted?

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Brandon and PC don't seem to understand that going onto a busy runway not only endangers the lives of the protesters (c.f. The suffragettes), but also other people going about their business or leisure. Their actions could have killed hundreds of people.

I hope their prosecution gives them criminal records.

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Alan the Brit

Do you think that these wild buck rabbits would have raped the "liberated" laboratory rabbits before killing them?

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterColin Porter

The protesters are of course entilted to free speech. However, I am entitled to disagree or ignore them if I choose to do so.

The protesters are free to present their arguments in a political speech and ask that I vote for their proposals. I am free to vote for someone else.

However, the moment they escalate their protest to blocking runways, they have now lost those rights. They have no right to make me listen to them, just like they have no right to impose their minority views without democratic mandate. Any attempt to do so should be resisted by any free and democratic society, to do otherwise leads to tyranny.

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

It is my deeply held belief that all members of Plane Stupid are baby-killers and should be treated a such.

Feb 24, 2016 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&twisted

A few days ago came the case of a geezer in an Audi A8 caught driving at 149mph, learner driver, uninsured. Suspended sentence, driving ban, community service. Does anyone really think that these protesters were ever likely to go to jail? Never in a million.

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

Deep breath, guys.

1. Yes, they now have criminal records.
2. Further offences committed within the next two years will activate those suspended sentences.
3. They have been fined. Sum unknown (to me, at this moment. Times & DT more interested in guilty verdicts at Rotherham)
4. They have also been sentenced to community service. Again I don't know the details.

Not sure just what you were hoping for but there was no way that you were ever going to get anything more severe than this. We really do need to keep a sense of proportion.

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I wonder if any of the "Heathrow 13" were also in the "Arctic 30" group or the 44 activists blocking the Russian Arctic oil tanker from unloading in Rotterdam or perhaps second time offenders in anyway.

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Mike Jackson, fair comments!

Meanwhile pressure for another runway serving London remains, as consumers and business know that demand keeps increasing, for more air travel. Climate scientists and Green Blob activists flew in from all over the world to Paris before Christmas, set an excellent example of hypocrisy, and made this point without eating humble pie as their in-flight meal.

With this mere legal slap on the wrists giving them confidence, I wonder what the idiots will do next?

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Paul Mathews

Not a difficult guess. Perhaps Mr Jones should have some questions to answer? I would call it child abuse.

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

It is in the tradition of this country over centuries that people have taken direct action and it should not be one which receives a custodial sentence,’ said shadow chancellor John McDonnel
I'm tempted to take direct action myself and instruct my accountant tomorrow not to transfer my corporate tax payments next week to the HMRC. Surely quite justified given I payed 5 times more last time round than Facebook.Then again I suspect I won't get a six week suspended sentence for not paying ....Throw them in Gaol and chuck away the key. Unfortunately this country has become so feminised, limp-wristed wasters like this are actually respected.

Feb 24, 2016 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered

"Future Scenarios & Policies Builder" Bottoms, apparently inspired by the "constancy of the line and the often-stormy sea" of her West Wales coastal upbringing is using her Law LLB in Cairo to work on "decarbonisation policy for @OnTrack0 & zero carbon development in Egypt" by frustrating the Egyptian governments struggle to keep the power on with coal fired electrical power.

Fighting for "climate justice" in Egypt could well have more serious civilian "collateral casualties" than snarling of Heathrow operations.

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

Not sure just what you were hoping for but there was no way that you were ever going to get anything more severe than this. We really do need to keep a sense of proportion.

So James 'not enough bullets' Delingpole got it wrong then?

The Heathrow Airport Climate Protesters Are Going To Jail. Good.

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The sentences handed down to those b@stards in Rotherham has pleased me a million times more than anything that could have happened to these people.
Luckily we have a lot more good sense than those green fools.

if those idiot Heathrow 13 had any judgement, they would have been over at Rotherham protesting something real

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

"So James 'not enough bullets' Delingpole got it wrong then?"

You'll have to wait and see. It's a suspended sentence, or did you not understand that?

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Phil Clarke, what kind of Non-Violent Direct Action would be acceptable against wind and solar farm developments, that people object to. They are a waste of public money after all. Would it be different if someone had funded their own solar panels or wind generator, and use was sabotaged?

With your experience and training in such matters, you have expertise worth listening to, though it might count for diddly-squat in a court case. If you consider this case sets a sentencing precedent (they were found GUILTY) you need to be careful what you gloat about.

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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