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The Greening of Peter Mandelson

ben | 06.03.2009 12:17 | COP15 Climate Summit 2009 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Social Struggles | South Coast

Green custard was this morning thrown in the face of the Labour governments Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson by Plane Stupid activist Leila Deen. The former Northern Ireland Secretary was accosted moments after stepping out of his limo to attend a so-called 'low-carbon' summit in London. In full view of the assembled TV cameras he got a face full of custard and hurried inside. Leila then explained to the cameras that the action had been over Mandelsons unelected and undemocratic role in granting permission for Heathrows third runway on behalf of the business community.

Mandleson referred to the incident as an 'adolescent protest'. He joked, "I suppose in a democracy people are entitled to have their say but I would rather people said it to my face rather than throw it. I am prepared to take my fair share of the green revolution on my shoulders but I am less keen on having it in my face."

When interviewed later on the BBC Leila Deen described the move as a "last resort" after the democratic process failed. She said that Mandelson was an unelected politician and he was siding with the "interests of business" rather than the "interests of the people and the planet" in backing the new runway.

She justified the "direct action" as the best way of bringing about change, claiming she and others were excluded from the democratic process. "When democracy is failing you have to resort to any means necessary as long as it is peaceful and does not harm other human beings," she said.

She continued, "Peter Mandelson is the same person who effectively bullied Ed Miliband and other members of the cabinet to accept a third runway that nobody wants, a third runway that no one was consulted on and no one is able to say no to. It's not right that someone like Peter Mandelson can stand up and talk about being green."



Hide the following 12 comments

See the film here

06.03.2009 12:37

You can watch the film here:

Nice! :-D

- Homepage:

Noel's House Party

06.03.2009 14:05

So I now expect Channel 4 News to interview Noel Edmonds to establish the level of technique, and the quality of the fluid in this case of gunking...

Am impressed that the protestor isn't currently hanging from the cieling in Belmarsh. Now I wonder if activists will hang around Mandelson with (empty) cups to make him nervous of another green splash.


Class Against Class

06.03.2009 14:47

"Am impressed that the protestor isn't currently hanging from the cieling in Belmarsh"

One suspects her family own the very land belmarsh is situated on.

You can almost see the indignation on mandelson's face: "but i know your parents!"

Hooligan Nights
- Homepage:

it's about class?

06.03.2009 15:50

Dear Hooligan

Why is it that any sort of action not perpetrated by someone masked and in black seems to come down to a critique of class? If something is smashed, does the hand that did it matter? Is there a problem with someone getting up off their ass and doing something? Why not say 'fucking aye' and appreciate the audacity of keeping this Muppet (mandelson) and his antics in the press and their dirty business under the spotlight.
For some people it seems much easier to anonymously jibe whilst sitting on their ass, rather than doing something.



Mandleson is a muppet

06.03.2009 17:19

As a member of the public surely my opinion on the matter counts. Seeing as I'm one of the people you're trying to sway. It's not higlighted the problem it's made the protesters look childish and stupid. Seeing the way she's been reflected in the press and the way she acted during her interviews she's done more harm than good. She's made you look like a bunch of spoilt brats having a tantrum because you can't get what you want. Surely a legitimate protest should not be associated with acts like this.

Don't get me wrong, Mandleson is a muppet and it did make me laugh however teh legitimate protesters are now tarred with the same brush as the daft bint. People like her really need to look at the world outside of their little bubble and realise the impact of their actions.

Mandleson is a muppet

What is green custard?

07.03.2009 15:39

No one is talking about climate change. The focus has been almost entirely on whether or not it is ok to throw custard at people. Just saying...


I am surprised

07.03.2009 20:28

I am surprised Mandelson can be accessed as easily as that...

Is this another staged event by any chance ?

Let's look at the way Gordon Brown handled it, he joked about it publicly...

Is this serious from a prime minister when those women could have been carrying hammers and tried to smash Mandelson's head or else of that sort ?

So what is the implied/subliminal message here ?


god we have a bunch of whiners here - and not all of them are trolls

08.03.2009 15:08

We certainly have a bunch of humorless whiners here, and I don't think all of them are deliberate trolls from people opposed to us.

None of us are going to agree on absolutely everything, so let's just take each action for what it is and say well done for someone to have the get up and go to do this. In my opinion the more politicians that get pies thrown in their faces the better.

You'll always get a few people saying any direct action will set the movement back ten years, or will make us look stupid. They are just talking bollocks because they don't have the balls to do anything themselves, so just ignore them.


well done ...

09.03.2009 14:55

The only problem I see with the custard thrower is this : WHY IS SHE NOT ACCOMPANIED BY AT LEAST 20 Million other so-called 'ADULTS' .... the truth is that there are few if any genuine mature adults alive and active in the mainstream media consuming UK population, certainly none in Governance or in Commerce.

Thats not to say there are NO well-meaning people in that community - there are, yet they are constantly manipulated, and appear unaware of this manipulation. Some are too old to change .... but ya gotta love 'em all the same!

A Mature Adult has certain characterisitcs, such as the ability to spot bullshit, the willingness to thwart bullshit, a sense of gratitude for the gift of life, a sense of communal care that includes all people, the environment and our co-habitees.

A Mature Adult makes up their own mind and does not 'get' their sense of reality from Media, Ideology, Religion or Education. A Mature Adult does not join the military or let their children do so. A Mature Adult does not start a riot.

There are Mature Children, who are still physically children, yet adults in their perception of reality. Thay have no voice in the UK. No-one listens to them, and yet they are the primary recipients of the consequences of our behaviour. Mature Adults listen to Children and invite their insights.

Mandelson is an immature adult.


Personally I think Leila is class

10.03.2009 11:16

I'm a little surprised be some of the comments against this action and wonder if there is the influence of some twisted jealousy over pulling off such an audacious stunt.

One poster wrote, "As a member of the public surely my opinion on the matter counts. Seeing as I'm one of the people you're trying to sway. It's not higlighted the problem it's made the protesters look childish and stupid. Seeing the way she's been reflected in the press and the way she acted during her interviews she's done more harm than good. She's made you look like a bunch of spoilt brats having a tantrum because you can't get what you want. Surely a legitimate protest should not be associated with acts like this. "

Legitimate protest - what's that then? Is it defined by the act or by the cause? Is a banner demo outside an arms factory which products are used on civilians a legitimate protest? I'd guess you'd say yes. Is smashing up the same factory legitimate? Again, many people would say yes. Does it require consensus on whether it is legitimate? Does it require you to agree it is legitimate in order to be legitimate? The answer is obviously that legitimacy is subjective and your opinion doesn't mater.

I'm not surprised some of the media portrayed this protest in the manor they did - we know the mainstream media works to support the same agenda as the business secretary, the interests of the elite. It is more surprising to see the action attacked on indymedia, an independent news service set up to address the fact that the mass media is in the pockets of capitalism and does not and can not represent grassroots struggles fairly.

Some of the comments posted here would not be out of place in the Mail or the Standard but perhaps that shouldn't surprise either since Indymedia comments are part of the battleground of a global disinfo war which helps to keep the masses divided and ineffectual in struggle.

I think Leila is class. She got out there and did something (and not just once but she is constantly doing so) rather than spending any time on here simply mouthing off. She got the Heathrow issue back out there with massive media saturation completely disproportionate to the time and effort involve. She articulated the urgency and need for direct action in relation to climate change and cheered up the day of millions who enjoyed seeing that smug arse Lord Mandleson put in his place. She did all this with no small risk to herself and frankly your opinion really doesn't mater!

Leila is class

Addition - Leila Comments "Mandelson earned that custard"

13.03.2009 02:09

I would not have resorted to throwing pudding had this government proved itself capable of mature debate

Until last week, I wouldn't have believed I could be so serious about custard. But it's no laughing matter that the UK's best chance of leading the world in stopping climate change is being systematically undermined by an unelected stooge for BAA. Some praised Mandelson for laughing it off – of course he did, he rests assured that Britain will go back to ignoring the affront to democracy and progress that he poses. I hope that in the coming year, a big one for climate change, British people will prove him wrong.

I didn't expect to win friends with this action. How wonderful then to have so many people shake my hand for highlighting how illegitimate Mandelson is. Then there was also the inevitable critique, largely coming from the overfed voices of the establishment – and the Sun. Whereas last time Plane Stupid's blockading of Stansted's runway was criticised for "going too far" because it actually affected lives, this action is seen as being "too juvenile" because it didn't harm a soul. What's needed, say critics, is "mature debate".

Slap me silly, where have these people been? As one individual in an anti-runway movement of thousands, I have done nothing BUT debate for the last three years. In that time everyone who counts came out in condemnation of the runway plans: 86% of people who responded to the Heathrow consultation replied that they did not want it. The London mayoral election was run on who could be most against it. Respected research institutions pointed out that it will make it impossible to meet our national commitments to helping prevent catastrophic climate change. The Labour party rebelled in parliament. Even many in the cabinet were opposed.

We have proved that there is no way to reconcile airport expansion with climate change. The false solutions are transparent. The emissions trading scheme is another market solution that doesn't work. No amount of technological tinkering has shown that planes can be fuelled with anything other than dirty old kerosene. The debate is over. We won. But still we must have a third runway. Why? It might have something to do with Lord Mandelson being best friends with Roland Rudd, the head of BAA's PR company, Finsbury.

Yes, custard is a simplistic response to endemic corruption. But at least it highlights the inescapable fact that has somehow eluded these commentators: this government is impervious to mature debate. Remember the debate about Iraq? We marched, we debated, we won the argument. They invaded Iraq anyway.

What about ID cards? The government is losing quite ostentatiously. As debates go, it's a massacre: they can't even manage to explain why they want ID cards. But rest assured, have them we must. Because this government has nothing but contempt for mature debate. They just decide what they want to do to us and then do it.

Nothing exemplifies this style of government better than Mandelson's involvement in the Heathrow decision. Not merely unelected but wholly unelectable, Mandelson is a cuckoo in the nest of British democracy, bullying the other chicks into serving his malevolent corporatist agenda.

Mandelson could not have been more comfortable in co-opting someone else's nest than when he walked into Friday's summit to make promises on a low-carbon economy, despite having been instrumental in ensuring that we are locked in to a high-carbon future that will steal our planet from our children. Mandelson earned that slime I threw on him; he owned it.

Outraged reactionaries all over Britain have set the blogosphere alight over the past few days with calls for my immediate incarceration in a maximum security prison – and on the weekend, I handed myself in and was duly arrested. Mandelson should be able to walk the streets free from the threat of custard, they insist. But so far nobody has explained why. This is our world, our home, our future. If we have five years to stabilise our carbon emissions before catastrophic devastation of our planet is inevitable, and the state refuses to put people before their well-heeled cronies, then we must arm ourselves. If only with peer reviewed science – and pudding.

Leila Deen Custard Queen

He's no Lord of mine - why I gunged Mandelson

13.03.2009 02:40

The fact that I was a smartly dressed woman who marched up to Mr Mandelson (he is no Lord of mine) definitely gave me a head start when it came to throwing mock green slime in his face. Typically for a man far too used to the comforts of patriachy, as I approached him, Mandelson's condescending smile conveyed his expectation of little more than a simpering compliment coming his way. And certainly as I got close enough to take aim, I felt much more confident that being a woman, he and his aides would not respond with a Prescott style thumping, although the host on LBC radio did suggest I deserved such a beating later that day.

Aside from Mr LBC, the majority of journalists did not seem to know how to respond. Here was a well-dressed, dare I say attractive, state school, middle class woman confronting the unelected OverLord Mandelson and questioning his right to take a political platform on climate change. I did it because it was he who had proactively undermined our climate commitments as he bullied the cabinet (particularly, note, Harriet Harman) to accept Heathrow's third runway despite the fact that it would undermine our promise to massively reduce our carbon emissions.

In a bid to understand how I could be a real woman, over and over I was asked about my sexuality, evidence of boyfriends, my hairstyle, whether I was scared. Seemingly looking to support and praise me, the tabloids have since called me 'custard queen' and 'green goddess'. Suddenly the action and the activist are gendered, and one has to ask whether I or my action would have been so well received were I a man? In the words of one photographer: "Smile love, this story will sell ten times as well because you're pretty".

It's a damning indictment on society. But I do think women can worry too much about their representation in the press. The important thing is that they are represented, that they are on the ground at protests and in the forefront of the climate change debate. That is the case in the growing movement of direct activists working to stop climate change, and is perhaps the most inspiring thing about it. It is women who make up the majority of current victims of climate change and it is women leading the charge to directly challenge its causes, engage its perpetrators and take direct action to stop it happening. Whilst I was a lone protagonist in this action, most of those directly supporting me were women. In the last few months, all the best climate change actions have been led by women. And on April 1st a Climate Camp in the City will be pitching up in London, organised largely by women.

This is an intensely feminine struggle, against the destruction of our eco-system, a problem created by patriachy. So I stand proud to have joined the ranks of many strong women who are on the frontline of getting it sorted. And if getting attention for that cause means having to discuss where I buy my shoes, or how I get my hair so poofy, so be it.

Poofy haired Leila Deen

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