Guido was on Tufton Street last year on the afternoon when Extinction Rebellion organised a demonstration outside the offices of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Guido left after listening to some crackpot speeches and watching the hippy dancing, which was before they started vandalising the offices.
Next week, Jessica Townsend will appear alongside XR co-founder Clare Farrell and Professor Rupert Read on charges related to vandalising the offices of 55 Tufton Street. The three are once again organising an event to coincide with the court date. Apparently it will be a tour of Tufton Street, “the most dangerous street in Britain”, revealing the
“Hidden away in corners of privilege around Westminster are a series of think thanks doing nefarious work… They hide in plain sight in nice suits, disguised as old white male has-beens or men without distinction. Join us and hear about the hidden villains of our time, tucked away in beautiful buildings paid for by dark money.”
Perhaps they will start with the biggest building on the street: the Mothers’ Union headquarters. In reality, Tufton Street is home to a number of think tanks and charities because rents are cheap for a location not too far from Parliament. Inside, most of the people working are casually dressed young idealists. The cheap offices are not what Guido would describe as beautiful. They’re more utilitarian.
There is something fundamentally totalitarian in believing that all opposition is illegitimate and any opponents must be physically attacked. Vandalising buildings isn’t going to advance your arguments, nor is it a healthy way to conduct democratic debate in an open society. The Courts should order the well-funded vandals of Extinction Rebellion to make full restitution financially for the damage, with additional exemplary fines.