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Because they’re sensible?

India’s war on Greenpeace
Environmental activists are being investigated, prevented from leaving the country and having their funds frozen. Why is India’s political class lining up to brand them enemies of the state?

This is another in our series of questions in The Guardian we can answer.

31 thoughts on “Because they’re sensible?”

  1. as the official scanned her passport, Pillai sent idle texts to a colleague in Boston

    Rude as well as ignorant.

  2. A better question: why are our political classes in thrall to the AGW lobby on the basis of some extremely dodgy computer models which have failed to reproduce reality?

  3. as the official scanned her passport, Pillai sent idle texts to a colleague in Boston

    Using a mobile phone when stood in front of an immigration desk is a bad idea anywhere, and in a lot of places forbidden. I suspect this behaviour had as much to do with her being picked out than anything else.

    Having done somewhere around 240 border crossings in the last 10 years (yes, I have a spreadsheet where I record my whereabouts, just in case another dickhead Russian official asks me) I have found that standing up straight, being polite, looking straight ahead, and shutting the fuck up tends to get me through with no problems.

    Although I did mention to the UK “border force” drone in the high-viz vest* at the Channel last Saturday that I thought the reason so many Africans were trying to cross into England is that they’d mistaken the long lines at immigration and general slowness of processing passports to indicate they were back in Nigeria. He wasn’t impressed, but then nor was I.

    *Incidentally, does anyone remember the days when a high-viz vest indicated somebody who was doing some useful work? Not it seems to indicate the precise opposite.

  4. Tim Newman: “Incidentally, does anyone remember the days when a high-viz vest indicated somebody who was doing some useful work?”

    Yes! Now, it is seen even on people who aren’t even working…

  5. I have a theory that within my lifetime, hi-viz vests will become compulsory “for safety reasons”. Payment of a fee will naturally enable the right sort of people to opt-out. A latter-day sumptuary law, if you will.

  6. Ljh–The state loves eco-freaks because they share the states agenda of ever greater control of everybody else. The billions pissed up the wall isn’t coming out of the politicals pocket so they should care.

  7. “Incidentally, does anyone remember the days when a high-viz vest indicated somebody who was doing some useful work? Not it seems to indicate the precise opposite.”

    The ultimate lunacy will be soldiers on active service having to wear them “for safety reasons”. It will be an EU directive, naturally.

  8. About ten years or so ago Private Eye had a cartoon of a police officer in a hi-viz jacket stopping an elderly couple and demanding to know why they weren’t wearing hi-via jackets. The background was an urban high street with everyone else pointlessly wearing hi-viz jackets.

    Not that absurd anymore.

  9. RlJ, given the poor situational awareness of armed plod at UK airports, the last thing you want is to be flagged as a friendly.

  10. I wouldn’t really describe Indian officials as sensibly: rather it seems to be a case of a war between loons

  11. “Presumably the hi-viz vest identifies the border greeter as a ‘friendly’ to the armed plod?”

    Thankfully terrorists are too stupid to realise they could also wear a hi-viz jacket and hence become invisible.

  12. Tim N,

    About ten years ago, there was a mandate that anyone out running around the grounds of the Joint Services Command & Staff College had to be wearing a hi-viz vest.

    This wasn’t quite completely ignored (though I never saw anyone running in high-viz) but the quid quo pro was that folk wore white or bright T-shirts with their CS95 (camouflaged) trousers if they were running in kit: the issue being that CS95 was actually quite good at blending you into a verdant background, and the usual green or brown T-shirts (either issue kit, or the assorted unit or tour T-shirts which tended to be similar colours) – meant that at dawn and dusk, it was quite easy for someone running alongside or across a road to be overlooked until very late.

    A rather British pragmatism, I thought, rather like the “two-can rule” in the bar in Basrah when I was there… “we’ve brought in this rule, this is the behaviour we’d like to see, so behave sensibly or we’ll actually enforce the rule…” Compare and contrast the US practice where entire companies of trainee troops have to wear high-viz belts while running in formation, Or Else (even trainees at HMS Collingwood just have one at the front, one at the back and the squad leader out to the side in high-viz)

  13. Jeremy Poynton, I fully agree on that part. Was only objecting against the description of the Indian officials

  14. The ultimate lunacy will be soldiers on active service having to wear them “for safety reasons”. It will be an EU directive, naturally.

    The Royal Australian Navy decided they needed a camouflage uniform. Possibly because of USN carrier envy.

    So they promptly procured a rather unfetching (but not as bad as the Australian Army “Minny Mouse” desert cam) cloth. And then somebody clearly said “what about ‘Man Overboard’?”

    So they sewed high-reflectivity white strips to the upper arms. Of a camouflage uniform.

    See here.

    Surprisingly, the new RN PCS uniform isn’t so silly. Being basically blue rather than camo.

  15. SE’s story about the navy reminded me of a story one of my RM pals told me.

    He was the officer in charge of non-compliant boarding operations in the Persian Gulf in 2001-2, when Saddam Hussein was busting the sanctions by sending out ships full of oil with the crew effectively welded inside. In the videos my mate was running about with an SA-80 which he said was handy for shooting people on the deck of a ship but not so useful below decks. Ideally they would have used MP5s but when the Royal Marine boarding parties asked for a couple of them, the Royal Navy guys – whose job was to stand around on the mothership doing fuck all – demanded them as well, and as they wanted a whole load of them the request was denied on grounds of cost. Bunch of twats.

  16. “Collectively, the report says, such NGOs drag down India’s GDP growth by 2-3% annually. The authors do not offer the mathematics behind this claim.”

    The irony of the Guardian complaining that the authors haven’t showed their working out.

  17. SE I’ve seen US sailors in blue camo. I assumed it was to make it difficult for the U boat crews to machine gun them in the water.

  18. Have to wear a hi vis vest when dropping sacks off at mail depot. A distance of maybe 10 feet to walk – takes me longer to get the vest on and off than to drop the sacks off.

  19. Bloke in North Dorset

    Unless its absolutely crystal clear daylight I was wear something hi vis when out running.

    My reas0oning is if I get hit by a vehicle I, if still alive, or my wife, can point this out if the driver tries to claim they didn’t see me. It could affect an insurance claim, which is why most people have to wear them at work, it isn’t “elf & safy gone mad” its an insurance requirement.

  20. The last time I saw a school outing crossing London Bridge all the little darlings were dressed in hi-viz and shackled together.

    I wonder if CAGE know about this?

  21. SE I’ve seen US sailors in blue camo.

    Indeed. Usually in the desert where it isn’t exactly a match for the background. But, heh, that’s the power of branding.

    I am assuming some senior RAN officers seeing such yank matelots is why the RAN developed their “interesting idea.”

    Obviously, the correct camo for a modern warship would be based on grey and rust with highlights of stale grease.

  22. SE,

    The USN’s blue digital camo is at least vaguely related to being at sea. The US Air Force for a while demanded and got a blue-tinged tigerstripe “Airman Battle Uniform” kit because… who knows? The first version looked ludicrous and the current issue merely silly (it’s a hybrid of the awful original and the Army’s ACU)

    Meanwhile the RN opted for the Army’s PCS, in plain blue fire-retardant fabric and minus some of the Velcro and pockets not relevant for shipborne life. I’m a long way down the queue for issue, though…

  23. Surreptitious Evil

    Hah, I still have my Nomex No8s.

    No effing chance of getting in them, mind. I was much skinnier as a S/Lt.

  24. I once sat beside a bloke in a cinema who was wearing a high viz jacket. I thought he was only slightly eccentric until the film started, whereupon he took a stopwatch from his pocket and started it up. He left the cinema before the end of the film. I wondered whether to follow him, just in case he had a bomb on a timer but thought better of it.

  25. You often see individual soldiers in camo on the East Coast train line, presumably travelling to/from Catterick Garrison. They always stand out a mile.
    Same happens at the Help For Heroes collection point at the local shopping centre. The collector wears camo, and always gets lots of attention and donations presumably.

  26. Bloke not in Cymru

    I would have thought the presence of a large ship type object slightly offset the point of camouflage for those aboard it. Or maybe this is some sort of look we are a drifting abandoned ship type tactic or is the ships camouflage and stealth system so good they don’t want anyone wondering why a group of people are just hanging around in the middle of the ocean

  27. I was at Filey this summer on a particularly hot day. There were a number of school parties on the beach. Some had hi-viz jackets, some didn’t and, bizarrely, some had a mixture (I wonder how they arrived at the decision as to who needed one and who didn’t).

    Those hi-viz jackets are warm, really not what you want to be wearing on a hot day. That may not be a problem too often in Blighty, more often a blessing, but in Queensland and Western Australia they soon have mine visitors perspiring in torrents.

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