It’s perhaps unlikely that many campaigners against wind farms in Scotland will be looking on the bright side of life today.
For a rift has broken out within the movement’s umbrella group which has led to protestors being compared to the hapless Judean People’s Front in Monty Python’s controversial cult film, Life of Brian.
The split has been blamed on none other than US tycoon Donald Trump, whose recently pledged backing for Communities Against Turbines Scotland has now been branded a “distraction” by a breakaway group.
It emerged that former CATS press officer Linda Holt is supporting the splinter group after being summarily dismissed earlier this week following her criticism of the “softly, softly” approach of group leaders.
Environmentalists yesterday likened campaigners to the ridiculous Monty Python characters, who form a suicide squadron and kill themselves rather than rescuing the “Messiah”, Brian, from the cross.
This morning both anti-wind farm campaign groups were expected to appeal to hundreds of activists to demonstrate their opposition to the SNP’s renewables policy at the party’s conference in Perth.
Co-organiser of the new group’s protest and Highland-based anti-wind farm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “Trump has been a distraction from the thousands of ordinary Scottish folk who feel outraged by the government’s relentless push to ‘turbanise’ Scotland whatever the cost. They are not being listened to… and they are crying out for action… CATS’ softly, softly strategy hasn’t worked and it’s time for a stronger approach.
“The Scottish Government can ignore objections to planning applications, they can ignore letters, but they can’t ignore hundreds of folk in the streets, stamping their feet and demanding a rethink of this ruinous policy.”
She added: “We’re forming an alliance of anti-wind campaigners which will use the Perth event as a springboard for future popular protests.”
CATS has allied itself with Mr Trump since February after the billionaire publicly pledged to bankroll campaigners fighting wind farm proposals like the one he is battling near his controversial luxury hotel and golf course development in Aberdeenshire.
The protest group, which was founded in 2011, began as a small body which has grown as the number of wind farm proposals across the country has rocketed.
Responding to the rift, Dr Richard Dixon, director of pro-wind farm environmental group WWF Scotland, said: “In moves reminiscent of the Monty Python’s Judean People’s Front it has become clear that Donald Trump and the anti-wind farm groups have fallen out in a big way. The stability of Scotland’s anti-wind farm movement now seems to be just as flimsy as the spurious arguments they use against harnessing wind energy.”
A spokeswoman for industry body Scottish Renewables added: “We cannot see the people of Scotland supporting even more ‘militant’ action against renewables when the sector is cutting millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.”
No-one was available to comment at CATS.
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