Imagine the scene – you’ve decided to treat yourself to a steak dinner in a local restaurant. Suddenly, the convivial atmosphere is wrecked by screaming protestors who storm in waving placards claiming that meat is ‘murder,’ screaming abuse and playing the ugly sound of cows being slaughtered.
This is protest 2018-style. A rowdy bunch of self-centred militant vegans picking on ordinary people having a normal night out. People using their wages to purchase a meal of their choice. OK, it might include meat – but last time I checked, that wasn’t yet a crime in the UK.
Bullying in schools and on social media is at an all-time high, and the effect on young people has been catastrophic. More teenagers than ever are suffering mental health issues. Is it any wonder?
Bullying is the new normal in modern Britain. Why talk softly when you can shout your head off? Reasoned argument and debate has been ditched in favour of ranting.
It’s easy to see why the young might think that oafish behaviour and shouting is the normal way to communicate – turn on your television to watch democracy in action, and what do you see?
Diners tucking into their food at a Brazilian steakhouse were shocked after vegan activists stormed the restaurant and played the sounds of cows being slaughtered
Stand up if you love meat!’ Moment boisterous stag party chant back at vegan activists who stormed Brighton steakhouse
Whenever the Prime Minister or a party leader tries to answer a question in Parliament, a barrage of heckling, shouting, mocking laughter, ensues from fully grown men who should know better. Basic bullying that most ten year olds would never dare try on in class. In 2018, the level of debate has degenerated to an ugly shout.
Even people (women in particular) who do not agree with Theresa May’s policies are appalled by the level of abuse directed at her by fellow politicians from her own party.
Once, if you felt strongly about something and wanted to protest you joined a peaceful march – I walked with thousands against nuclear weapons in the 1960’s, and against the Vietnam War.
In 2003, over a million well behaved citizens turned up to protest at the prospect of war with Iraq.
When did protest get nasty? Since the 1990 Poll Tax riots caused havoc in central London, a relatively committed group of anarchists have sought social change through violent, disruptive action, not silent sit-ins, or heart-felt speeches.
They wrecked Parliament square and Westminster protesting against the introduction of student fees in 2010. They did the same over the G20 summit in the City of London the year before.
Now, some militant vegans and climate change activists are taking the same direct action. Last October, marchers demanding a People’s Vote for a second Brexit referendum were peaceful – so why are climate change demonstrators so determined to bully the rest of us into agreeing with their concerns about the environment?
Over the last few weeks, they have glued themselves to government buildings, and blocked major roads throughout the city. The other Saturday, they attempted to block 5 bridges over the Thames, with 85 arrests. I’m all for protest, but can it not distrupt the lives of other citizens who are just trying to go to and from work?
Cyclists are another group – like vegans – whom you criticise at your peril. Over the past couple of years, I’ve voiced concerns about the amount of road space being designated exclusively for cyclists. Traffic ground to a standstill for months during construction of cycle lanes in Central London, and yet, outside the rush hour, a great many of them lie relatively under-used.
The public are expected to sign up to the mantra that cycling is GOOD and motoring is BAD. I am not saying any more on that subject, because militant lycra louts have bullied and trolled me thousands of times on social media. According to cyclists, every accident is a driver’s fault. And yet the number of deaths on the roads has been falling steadily, dropping by 40% in the half century to 2013.
Most cyclists are well-adjusted human beings, but a small minority are aggressive bullies, who cycle on pavements, through red lights and who believe they have the right of way in every situation. The rest of us – pedestrians and drivers – are lesser mortals.
As for the undisputed rise in veganism, this has been accompanied by an equal lack of consideration for others. Surely, every citizen has the right to choose how to live their life, as long as they are not breaking the law. Toleration has to be a central plank in a civilised society.
Janet Street Porter: ‘When did protest get nasty? Since the 1990 Poll Tax riots caused havoc in central London, a relatively committed group of anarchists have sought social change through violent, disruptive action, not silent sit-ins, or heart-felt speeches.’
Sadly, some of those who shun meat regard those who eat it as fair game. We have to be converted, not matter how much bullying and shouting is involved.
I have been sent hundreds of messages claiming that all dairy farming is murder, than butchers should be attacked, that beef producers are no better than the people who ran concentration camps. We need to gain some perspective, because it’s hard to sell your point of view when it is accompanied by a foul-mouthed rant.
The former editor of Waitrose Food magazine made a pretty tasteless joke about vegans – I imagine that he was heartily sick of being preached at. He subsequently stepped down from his job (after all, Waitrose clearly need to sell a whole host of new products to this growing market, which has quadrupled since 2011), but the abuse didn’t end there. William Sitwell received threats from people who wanted to ‘roast’ his child.
Since then, a farmer’s shop selling Christmas turkeys has been attacked and some vegan groups have said that more direct action is planned.
Not eating meat is a lifestyle choice, but we seem to have lost the ability to agree to disagree. There is no point in complaining about small children turning into bullies – they are only apeing the rest of us.
Violence breeds violence, and the intimidation needs to stop.