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Like death, taxes, and Thanos, the disruption caused by eco-zealots appears inevitable. Despite the Government’s best efforts, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently remains off the Statute Book. Since this many-headed Hydra of Sun-pleasing authoritarianism goes beyond tackling nuisance protests to “overhauling” the criminal justice system, sufficient opposition will prevent it becoming law for some time.

So it has been a refreshing sight these last two weeks that Labour have called for action against the goons of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil. “Drivers are being hammered by rising petrol prices and now millions of motorists can’t access fuel. The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions,” Sir Keir Starmer tweeted in response to Just Stop Oil protesters’ blockading 11 fuel depots in southern England.

Similarly, Steve Reed, the Shadow Justice Secretary, has called for immediate and far-reaching bans on protestors. Reed demanded ministers “get on with their jobs” and block further action from the Just Stop Oil group after over 40 arrests were made last Monday. As Extinction Rebellion closed several London bridges, Reed copied his leader: “The Conservatives need to stop standing idly by and put an end to this disruption that is causing misery for motorists.”

This is all cask-strength stuff from Labour. Only last August, Starmer was telling his party that “time is short and history will not forgive a failure to act now” when it comes to tackling climate change. Consistently, Labour have taken the line of asking the Government to go further and faster on its Net Zero agenda. Its recent push for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies has provided an excellent opportunity to combine left-wing populism with green gesture politics.

For those of us who see the debate on global warming largely through the lens of what it will mean for England’s sparkling wine industry, all this earnestness is water off a duck’s back. But I can certainly get behind strong action to help motorists and shut up a few long-haired and over-educated oiks who can’t tell the difference between oil from out of the ground and cooking oil. And I imagine most voters would agree.

On the 1st of this month, many had the unfunniest April Fool’s in memory, as their energy bills went up by 54 percent. Fuel prices also hit an all-time high in March. So with most already feeling the pinch, having their travel disrupted further by pernicious protestors preventing them purchasing at the pumps leaves most feeling perplexed, peeved, and pissed off. Unsurprisingly, a poll last October found 72 percent of those asked disproved of XR’s antics.

Consequently, opposing the protestors is an obvious ploy for Starmer to use in his ongoing efforts to ape Tony Blair and condemn the Conservatives as weak on crime. But like his fellow North London lawyer, Starmer’s attempt to tack to the right have drawn the ire of Labour’s left, and various outriders.

Fresh from confusing themselves over whether NATO or Russia is the aggressor in the current crisis in Ukraine (here’s a hint guys – only one of those two are currently invading a sovereign state), opponents of the Labour leadership have criticised what Chris Saltmarsh, co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal, called “petty authoritarianism”. Jamie Driscoll, the Metro Mayor of North Tyneside, compared the protestors to Nelson Mandela and the Suffragettes, and registered his displeasure at leader’s approach.

The most eye-catching condemnation of Starmer’s take, however, came on his recent visit to Scotland. I’ve already written about that trip because of what comments made there implied for Labour’s policy on trans. But Starmer’s Scottish soujourn also saw him confronted by 21-year-old Lauren McDonald, a climate change activist (and, one suspects, a student) who accused him of siding with the Government, wanting her in prison, and nabbed him as partially responsible for her climate-based stress-induced hair loss.

That last element reminds me of several of the fruitier loops of the Oxford Labour Club, whose meetings I used to sneak into because they had cheap prosecco and I fancied a couple of the officers. But the strength of Ms McDonald’s feeling shows a central problem for the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Climate change really matters for Labour’s activists, and especially so for the younger and moral vocal members.

After a few years of having hegemony in the party under Magic Grandpa, these left-leaning activists are as alarmed by their leader’s clear tack towards the right as they weren’t by the evidence for antisemitism within their own ranks.  As with trans, Brexit, economic policy and a half dozen other issues, Starmer’s pursuit of the voters is alienating him from those who backed him for the leadership assuming he would provide Corbynite radicalism within a friendly establishment shell.

Nevertheless, as the energy crisis bites and the public remain irritated by Extinction Rebellion’s ongoing antics, Starmer will do his party’s prospects no damage by moving into the same space the voters are. The Left may grumble, but the Government’s woes and his own ever-slicker presentation mean that Starmer is taking his party closer and closer to power.