The establishment and its staff have been the subjected for months now to constant harassment, including such terroristic activities as smashing of c ar windows, threatening letters and e-mail correpondance, and even worse. Now the main furore is over renewal of bank loan by the Bank of Scotland - and the bank, its directors and shareholders (individually named on "Animal Rights" web-sites) have equally been the subject of such harassment - to the extent that it has provoked an extended article by Polly Toynbee in Wednesdays "Guardian" newspaper - worth reading, at <http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,423277,00.html>, and a call by the previous Prime Minister, John Major (MP for the constituency in which Huntington Life Sciences main stablishment is based) for an extension of police protection for the establishment and its staff - and for Government financial support to replace the current bank loan.
It seems appropriate at this time to draw some general conclusions about the current spate of "Animal Rights", "Environmental" (and I suggest, similarly linked "anti-GM-foods", "anti-Global Warming" or generally "Save the Planet") activities worlwide.
Several obvious things that link all these activities are that they are apparently "anti-establishment"; that their activists are mainly young, and (supposedly) well-educated; and that they are linked (albeit loosely, and perhaps merely by multi-membership of the particular activists) with international "charitable" organisations, such as "Greenpeace", "Friends of the Earth", and "World Widelife Fund" - all of which are now extremely wealthy, - and that they are all anti science and particularly anti technology... all of which these activists apparently suppose are a "capitalist conspiracy".
Now when I was their age (in the 1950s), I was also a "banner-waving activist" - but my target was the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat of a new World War and I was active in the Association of Scientific Workers campaign for the development of peaceful uses of atomic energy - and WE were completely IGNORED by the media (and my confreres in the USA were subjected to vast repression for "un-American activites" - now this lot seem to have unlimited air-time and apparent support of most of the media.....
As a scientist, and also something of a historian, I regard the present anti-science activism as extremely dangerous - and see the methods of the extremists (nail bombs, threatening letters and e-mail targetting of indivual staff members, directors, shareholders and the like) as distinctly akin to the activities of the Nazis in 1933 - with the additional similarity that just as so many, including even Jews, in Germany thought that if they said and did nothing it would all go away - now banks, companies and politicians - and even, to their shame, many scientists - are taking the same "heads down" ostrich-like attitude. A further similarity is how the "Left" is so divided on the matter - with so many "would-be" lefties being carried away with imagining that these anti-scieitific activities are anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and so on. -- Nothing could be further from the truth, and falling into this trap is something for which, if we are not very careful, we shall pay dearly for in the future.
Admittedly Tony Blair has said he will support the continuation of the scientific activities targeted - but he apparently does not see that even the passing throught the Commons of the "Hunting with Dogs Bill" is a sop to these irrational activists. In the 1950s - before the working class began to share in the affluence of the west I would very probably have supported such a Bill - seeing it as an activity of the "idle rich" - but now I see it as an attack on major sports indulged in by those who work in agriculture and the countryside generally - and just a symptom of how completely urban-based our "Labour" party has become, a sop to the "Animal Rights" activists - and generally to the sentimentalism about their pets of the British middle class....
Science and Technology have not only been the basis of developments over the last couple of centuries which have not only done so much to improve the lot of the working classes in the Western World, but have also so evidently been shared to a slight, but not inconsiderable, extent across the world - as shown by the major expansion of world population in the 20th century - but are also the main means of solving the vast problems remaining.
It is opposition to new scientific developments which is the "new imperialism" (i.e. we have our luxury and affluence - you in the rest of the world can stay in the "dark ages") - and I suggest that the activities of those opposing science and technology are in significant danger of becoming the "new Fascism".
© E.C. ("Paddy") Apling, January 2001
Comments on this article
Index to food information
Paddy's Home Page