UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed his predecessor Margaret Thatcher as a “true feminist, green and revolutionary” as he addressed the launch in Whitehall’s Banqueting House of the final volume of an official biography of Lady Thatcher, written by his former boss at the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore.
Johnson deplored the fact he had to make his way to the event through streets filled with "un-cooperative crusties and protestors of all kinds" taking part in the "Extinction Rebellion" action to demand more decisive action against climate change.
“I hope that when we go out from this place tonight and we are waylaid by importunate nose-ringed climate change protestors, we remind them that she was right about greenhouse gases. And she took it seriously long before Greta Thunberg,” said Johnson in a reference to the teenage environmental activist’s emotional address at the recent UN General Assembly in New York.
He urged the climate protesters and his audience to buy a copy of “Charles’s magnificent book” so that they could learn about a “true feminist, green and revolutionary who changed the world for the better”.
Boris Johnson referred to Thatcher’s removal from office amid a row over the EU in 1990 as “a single glittering and terrible event. An assassination. The political extinction of a long-serving monarch” by Conservative MPs that paved the way for John Major to take her place.
“Just like Julius Caesar, this drama raises in all our mind the question: 'Were they right? Were the regicides justified in what they did?'” said Johnson.
The current UK Prime Minister also took up Thatcher’s stance on apartheid, as he controversially claimed that the former PM had “secret dealings with Nelson Mandela and the ANC to bring about Mandela’s release and the end of apartheid”.
During her tenure as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher had been condemned for opposition to sanctions targeting the apartheid government in South Africa and her branding of Mandela’s African National Congress as “terrorists”.
After her death, it was revealed by aides including the former UK ambassador to Pretoria that privately Thatcher had urged President P.W. Botha to free Mandela and end apartheid.
UK Capital Besieged by Climate Activists
Over 130 people were arrested in London in connection with climate change protests by campaigners from the 'Extinction Rebellion' movement on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said, as a two-week environmental protest action began, planning to block streets and bridges in the UK capital and shut down governmental departments.
Around 30,000 activists will reportedly engage in the campaign, with police warning of possible arrests of those violating the law.
The wave of protests is also expected to spread across 60 cities worldwide, including New York, Berlin and Madrid among others.
The campaigners are protesting what they call the inertia of the governments around the globe in the face of a climate and ecological crisis.
Extinction Rebellion is a sociopolitical movement that was founded in the UK in May 2018 to urge governments to take action to tackle climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the risk of ecological collapse, with the declared long-term objective of completely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.