ALWAYS last to the party, I've started watching Breaking Bad from the beginning with a view to sailing through to Better Call Saul as, apparently, it's a travesty to be ignorant of both.

Last week I watched an episode where an old boy, a former gang member now confined to a wheelchair following a stroke, is being pressed by Drug Enforcement Agency officers to snitch on a dealer.

In whatever the Mexican gang parlance is for "am no a grass", the non-verbal scallywag leans forward in his chair and extravagantly defecates in response.

My thoughts watching that scene were exactly the same as they were on viewing video footage of the past week's climate activist protests: who's going to clean it up?

First, and most famously, to soup. Two Just Stop Oil campaigners hurled a can of tomato soup at Van Gogh's Sunflowers before super glueing themselves inside the National Gallery in London.

It was a genuinely jaw-dropping moment, particularly as it took a little while for the coverage of the event to extend to mentioning that the masterpiece is behind glass and was unharmed.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said later that the fact the painting was protected from any meaningful damage was taken into consideration when they chose it as a target.

From a waste of a can of soup to the waste of several quarts of milk, the next headline grabber was a protest by the group Animal Rebellion, pouring out cows milk in a variety of supermarkets, including M&S, Harrods and an Edinburgh Waitrose.

The so-called milk pours were designed to promote the message that governments must support farmers in a transition to plant-based systems of agriculture but choosing food waste as a method of persuasion when families are going hungry seems a PR clanger.

In the video from the Edinburgh store one unperturbed soul is having none of it and merely leans over the spilt milk and past the protesters to pick up a couple of pints.

Just Stop Oil then brought Park Lane to a halt as they sprayed paint over the store front of an Aston Martin dealership. While antagonism around the milk pour was largely focused on the foolishness of wasting so much milk and leaving living wage workers to clear it up, those opposed to the paint protest couldn't be distracted from the sight of a person they took to be a male wearing a skirt.

A note there for activists for future events: make sure front-facing campaigners are in gender stereotypical clothing.

The Herald: GettyGetty (Image: Getty)

The souping made the pages of the New York Times and the ABC News in Australia so the reach was tremendous, although the impact of the messaging had its definite ups and downs.

I suppose it's fairly reductive to wonder about the clean-up procedures. The worst of it is the milk – it's a bit rotten for living wage supermarket workers to have to clear that up – but I imagine you'd be calling in a specialist to deal with the van Gogh and those working for Aston Martin aren't short of a bob.

Yesterday two Just Stop Oil activists climbed the 190-foot Queen Elizabeth II bridge at Dartford to stop oil tankers from travelling along the road. This seemed to be a less controversial move with a far more sympathetic reaction, although it was amusing to see people complain that some passengers will have missed flights at London airports due to the action.

It's obviously not amusing to miss a flight – but as if that's going to be an argument to change a climate activist's mind.

Yet it all begs the question of what might count as acceptable non-violent civil disobedience. Someone is always going to be caught in the crossfire.

The main thrust of the dismay around these actions is that they won't spark any meaningful change – that governments and corporations won't be propelled to progress by irritating stunts – no matter how much sympathy critics might have for the motivation.

That's really the problem though – activists aren't looking for commendation for their actions, they're looking for people to join in. It is frustration at inaction that leads them to madcap schemes.

Does trickle-down activism – they annoy the public into action and then mass action by the public forces change – work any better than trickle-down economics? You have to hope it does.

After all, drought and flood are also top ways to damage sunflowers and we need immediate collective effort to stop that.

Read more by Catriona Stewart:

From Edinburgh Film Festival to gallery fears: What of the arts after this hollowing-out?

Nicola Sturgeon detests the Tories but we should detest this level of political discourse