Dominic Lawson: These Green Zealots Are The Modern Scrooges

  • Date: 31/12/18
  • Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

These Guardian readers would have been superb material for Charles Dickens. They are Scrooges for our age — although the misanthropy and righteous pessimism of such people is beyond satire.

Of all the accounts of Christmases ruined by the Gatwick drone incident, the most affecting came from 16-year-old Tivka Dillner.

She described, in a letter to the Guardian, how her grandfather’s dying wish was that his five grandchildren — who’d never before been on a plane — should be able to enjoy a Christmas trip to Lapland

‘My grandma kept the trip a secret from us until December 17, when she broke the news: we would be getting a plane early in the morning, riding on a sleigh, meeting Father Christmas and his elves, petting reindeer and so much more in one beautiful day. We were ecstatic.’

Tivka went on to describe the ‘heartbreak’ when the flight was cancelled after the emergency shutdown of Gatwick’s runway: ‘I’ve never heard my grandma cry so much — she is devastated.’

Jan Johnson (centre) had paid for a Lapland trip for her grandchildren - from left, Tori, 12, Teddy, 10, Tirah, eight, Tivka, 16, and Tivon, 14 - but their hopes were dashed 

But Tivka’s letter did not arouse the slightest sympathy on the part of Guardian readers — or at least not those whose letters were published by the paper last Saturday.

Diana Heeks of Llanrhystud, Ceredigion, wrote in to say: ‘The last thing I would do is book any flight for my grandchildren … I applaud the people who flew drones over Gatwick, perhaps checking by a tiny amount the advance of global warming.’

And Laura Clout of Ivy Hatch, Kent, declared the damage caused to the planet by such holiday flights made her wonder ‘why to even bother continuing.

Our only real choice comes down to whether we boot our fellow travellers into the void, or help them find a firmer grip — until perhaps this ruined planet shifts and rolls and belches its sorry self free of the whole damned lot of us.’

These Guardian readers would have been superb material for Charles Dickens, the writer we most associate with the joy of an extravagant Christmas for families whose day-to-day life is penurious.

With names like Heeks and Clout they already sound like his invented characters. They are Scrooges for our age — although the misanthropy and righteous pessimism of such people is beyond satire.

Full post & comments

Recent Popular Articles


We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our website. By continuing without changing your cookie settings, we assume you agree to this. Please read our privacy policy to find out more.