Insulate Britain: Prisoners raising public awareness of immediate action required to combat climate crisis

So far, the hunger strikers of Insulate Britain (IB) have been swept under carpetby the UK press; in fact, getting more favourable coverage in Europe.

Not surprisingly the red tops and right-wing media here have been focusing on the establishment line i.e., inconvenience caused to motorists and ambulance delays, to distract attention away from total Government inaction/culpability on the climate crisis.  The Daily Mail cried ‘hypocrite’ about one of the hunger strikers who did a global road trip in 2012, rather than focus on her decision not to have children to help the planet’s carrying capacity. (The road trip was in fact undertaken to see the world before it was too late.)

Emma Smart is a conservationist and scientist from Weymouth. She is now reaching a critical stage in her refusal of food from a hospital bed in the medical wing of HMP Bronzefield, Ashford, Middlesex. She has been on hunger strike for 25 days as of today. Hunger strikes can cause irreparable damage to the body at this length of time.

She has said: “I am proud of my actions with Insulate Britain. The government knows that our simple no-brainer demand to cut carbon emissions by insulating Britain’s homes will  save lives, eliminate fuel poverty, and create thousands of valuable jobs. Their failure to take even this basic first step to address climate breakdown is locking us on a course to the destruction of everything we cherish.”

Ben Buse of Bristol went on hunger strike on November 25 following the decision by the prison authorities to move him and fellow IB prisoners to different wings at HMP Thameside. He described this as “an attempt to break us and break out resolve to continue protesting until the Government addresses the climate crisis.”   

Nine more IB injunction-breakers face prison at their High Ct appearance on December 14. Just to be clear, the reasoning behind why the ‘eco-mob’ are in prison is twofold: on the one hand they want to be, on the other the Government wants them to be but with the caveat of it being with the minimum of fuss and publicity.

So, by trying them under civil law and use of injunctions the state obviates a jury trial whereby the miscreants would be tried under criminal law for highway obstruction or conspiracy to cause public nuisance – charges which more than 120 other IB campaigners still face.

High Court civil cases are judged by a senior judge, in this case, sister of fossil fuel investor, Dame Victoria Sharp – the clue’s in the name – who sentenced the nine to between two and six months at the November 17 hearing.

Emma Smart went on immediate hunger strike following her sentencing.

During the IB campaign over September-November motorways and major roads were blocked in London but also in Dover, Birmingham and Manchester.

To find out more about the  IB campaign email: [email protected]

~J Goody


Image by Insulate Britain.