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HomeNewsTaking the PSI: The Guardian pumps up the tyre letdown mob    

Taking the PSI: The Guardian pumps up the tyre letdown mob    

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‘IT’S quick, easy and anyone can take part!’    

Er, no, it’s not a new exercise fad or a variation on the lottery. It’s the online invitation from eco-lunatics to join in their latest virtue-signalling wheeze … letting car tyres down.    

Not just any cars, mind. No, to the apparent delight of the Guardian,  the zealots of the self-styled Tyre Extinguishers are on a deflationary mission targeting ‘gas-guzzling’ SUVs (sports utility vehicles).    

The anonymous vigilantes say the cars, better known in Britain as 4x4s, off-roaders, or Chelsea Tractors, are a ‘climate disaster, belching out toxic fumes’.     

Their attack method is to unscrew a tyre’s dust cap and use a lentil to depress the valve core, releasing the air. The dust cap is loosely screwed back on top of the lentil and the valve is held open, eventually totally deflating the tyre.     

As a concession, the activists thoughtfully let down only one tyre  per vehicle. It is not known if the lentils have to be organically grown.    


Such vandals first struck in November during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, deflating SUV tyres and leaving ‘climate violation’ leaflets under windscreen wipers – similar to parking offence notices. 


The Tyre Extinguishers now have their own website, complete with lentil weaponising instructions and printable ‘violation’ leaflets. Telling eco-warriors how they can go SUV-hunting at night, the site says: ‘In towns and cities, you won’t have to walk far to find one. Target posh / middle-class areas. Deflating tyres repeatedly and encouraging others to do the same will turn the minor inconvenience of a flat tyre into a giant obstacle for driving massive killer vehicles around our streets.’    

Minor inconvenience? What if the car owner has just got a call that a relative is seriously ill and they need to get there straight away? Yes, there are garages and motoring rescue services, but they would be unlikely to arrive for some time. If you had a foot pump or mini-compressor, you could pump the tyre back up, but it’s generally not advisable to reinflate and use one that’s been completely flat.     

The alternative, jacking up the car and changing the wheel, is no picnic even for a relatively fit person, especially if it’s dark and wet. However, these climate clowns wouldn’t know that, because they are unlikely ever to have dirtied their hands in such a way – indeed to have done any task involving manual labour.   


While sane people will be appalled by such vandalism, the Guardian – where else? – has given Tyre Extinguishers an enthusiastic write-up on its website.    

It gleefully reports that ‘in just the past week, activists have “disarmed” SUVs in Chiswick, Maida Vale, Wood Green and Muswell Hill in London, Brighton and Hove, and Manchester’.    


It says the ‘activists have been receiving solidarity and calls for information from around the world’ and tells us the actions have ‘all gone smoothly so far, with no arrests or near misses yet reported’.     

It’s not hard to guess why. There’s absolutely no chance of any comeback against these morons, especially from the law – as we saw initially when the loft insulation maniacs glued themselves to motorway slip roads.    

It’s unclear if letting tyres down can be classed as criminal damage. However, you can be sure that if Plod spots an ‘extinguisher’ at work, he’ll enquire if he is quite comfortable, and tell him to mind he doesn’t do his back in. Then he’ll probably give the car owner a fixed penalty notice for having unroadworthy tyres.     


Meanwhile, the Guardian paints the ‘activists’ as a sort of secret resistance army. It quotes Tyre Extinguishers as saying part of its strength is that ‘not even those of us at the centre of this know the numbers of people involved, or even who they are’.    

So there they go, undaunted, into the night, armed only with the seeds of an edible legume – ‘if captured, eat your lentils’ – and a copy of Every Boy’s Guide to Off-Roaders.  

It’s not exactly parachuting into enemy territory on a sabotage mission carrying a Sten gun, as many young men and women were doing in wartime, is it? But hey, let’s not cast doubt on their valour. Unscrewing those dust caps can be tricky – you could chip a fingernail.     


As an aside, I wonder how many of the smug, hypocritical hacks on the Guardian have SUVs? Quite a few, I’d bet. Of course, they’ll drive their EVs (Electric Virtue-Signallers) while in London and keep the Landy or Jeep at their second homes in Cornwall or the Cotswolds.    

What can we do about this latest bout of madness? Nothing. Yet again, we’ll just have to bite the bullet of impotent rage, and despair even further of this increasingly bonkers world turned upside down. 

However, I can still dream of coming across an ‘extinguisher’ kneeling by a car while I have a high-pressure air pump handy. I know where I’d stick the nozzle – and it wouldn’t be in the tyre valve.    

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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