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Letters—We need more protests like those at the Shell meeting

Protesters should take their actions right to the doors of the bosses who are destroying our planet for profit
Issue 2857
climate fossil free activists

Outside the Shell meeting protesting climate destruction (picture: Fossil Free London)

I applaud the protesters that turned a general meeting of the climate-killing company Shell into complete and utter chaos. On Tuesday of last week, protesters from several different climate groups disrupted a Shell shareholders’ meeting from the first minute it began.

They stormed the stage, demanded that the bosses debate with them and even sang “Go to Hell Shell” to the tune of “Hit the Road Jack.” Protesters managed to interrupt the meeting for over an hour and delay it even longer.

While most of us can’t afford to pay our energy bills, Shell pocketed £32 billion last year off the back of a rise in wholesale oil and gas prices caused by the war in Ukraine and profiteering. The company’s recently departed CEO, Ben van Beurden, increased his pay to £10 million last year and took a £2.6 million bonus.

We can’t forget the violent ways that Shell makes its ill-gotten gains. It’s been over 27 years since nine protesters were murdered by the Nigerian state, which colluded with Shell. The protesters, known as the Ogoni Nine, had fought back against the destruction of their homeland by the multinational.

This is just one example in a long list of the crimes against people and the planet that Shell has committed in the pursuit of profit. So I want to see even more of this kind of disruptive protest involving as many people as possible.

Climate activists should make it utterly impossible for companies such as Shell to function on the public stage. Every meeting they have should be disrupted, and their adverts should be defaced.

And every politician who is collaborating with companies like Shell, BP and ExxonMobil should be shamed. Fossil fuel bosses have made the lives of countless people a living hell.

It’s time we made their lives a little harder in return.

Adele Bright


No to abuse of power and homophobia

The tabloid press is feasting on the controversy about TV presenter Philip Schofield. He engaged in a relationship with a significantly younger man after lying to ITV about it.

Rightly some of his co-presenters have raised concerns about his ability to take advantage of his position of power over younger employees. We should not be surprised by the rich and powerful flaunting the rules and engaging in unethical practices. But we must be cautious of some of the rhetoric surrounding Schofield.

Schofield came out as gay in 2020 and this fact has been conflated to the current controversy. Many reactionary sections of the press are drawing an incorrect conclusion that his sexuality has a bearing on his relationship with this employee.

With the far right arguing that LGBT+ people are a threat to children, and increasing attacks on trans rights, we can see why the right wing is so obsessed with Schofield. We should be clear and say no to abuses of power, but also say no to homophobia.

Sky Harrison


We can’t forget Grenfell

The introduction to Peter Apps’ book, Show Me the Bodies—How we let Grenfell Happen, describes “an almost psychopathic disregard for human life” by those responsible for the fire.”

Housing campaigners and those seeking justice for Grenfell packed the Bookmarks socialist bookshop recently to discuss with the author a tragedy that should never have happened. The meeting was organised by Homes For All UK.

Apps described how new safety precautions weren’t implemented despite those in power promising to make change following the fire at Lakanal House in Southwark in 2009. He added that the government and those responsible for the borough ignored all of the evidence about combustible cladding. 

There was a clear thread running through the discussion from the audience. They said that the predominantly black working class community was sidelined in the pursuit of profit. In total 72 men, women, and children died in that fire due to an indifferent and racist political system.

Many contributors called for real changes to housing policy and for council housing to come under the control of local authorities. The Grenfell fire must be at the heart of every housing campaign, as it stands as a beacon for everything that must change within housing.

Morag Gillie

Chair of Homes for All

Spreading anti-war movement is essential

Writing recently in the Financial Times newspaper, Dan Storyev of the Russian human rights group OVD-Info answered why there has been so little protest in the country over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

He described the levels of brutal persecution that the authorities are prepared to take in order to silence any anti-war protests.

“Russians are best seen as a nation held hostage by an authoritarian ruler, Putin, who, like the KGB security police he once worked for, became expert at stamping out dissent,” he said.

His final remark is worth repeating—“If governments and people abroad want Russians to protest more, they should support Russian civil society and help us overcome the fear”.

The best way to do that is to build the strongest possible anti-war movement here and elsewhere.

Alan Gibson

East London

Cops are the dangerous ones

I’ve heard people ask why the two teenagers who died after being chased by the police in Ely, Cardiff, didn’t stop. So in the same way, officer Wayne Couzens wanted Sarah Everard to stop?

People who have had interactions with the police know that they lie under oath, not just in Britain but all over the world. If you want to know the time, don’t ask a police officer, it could cost you your life.

Douglas Watts

On Facebook

Ban private jets next

France has officially banned short domestic flights. I say good. But states need to go much further. What about banning private jets that ferry small numbers of the super-rich from place to place?

Maybe that’s too far for politicians who count private jets as their favourite mode of transport.

Dana Leighton


Mayor must let us breathe

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is releasing his new book entitled  Breathe, Tackling the Climate Emergency. How can he write a whole book on the topic when he continues to plough ahead with the environmentally damaging Silvertown Tunnel project?

This will make the air quality in some of the poorest parts of London even worse.

Bethany Grey

East London

Centrica bosses stay greedy

The share price of British Gas’s parent company, Centrica, is going through the roof.

This is probably because, from October, customers will pay an extra £10 a month. If you thought this company couldn’t get any worse, it has.

Malcolm Bedard


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