Has Britain finally run out of patience with Just Stop Oil protesters?

26 June 2023, 11:32 | Updated: 28 June 2023, 06:48

Just Stop Oil: Has Britain finally run out of patience?
Just Stop Oil: Has Britain finally run out of patience? Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Just Stop Oil protesters appeared shaken and stunned when a fed-up motorcyclist caught behind their latest slow march through the streets of London ploughed through their banner before tossing it away as he rode off.

This was just the latest act of rebellion from frustrated road users who, when faced with the disruption that these eco-activists cause, are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.

In recent days, we have seen them screamed at by van drivers, had their banners ripped up by workmen and a youngster and doused in water as they walked through Camden in North London.

And their current tactics have been slammed as "performative" by one of their original funders.

American entrepreneur Trevor Neilson, told The Times: "It's become disruption for the sake of disruption.

"Working people that are trying to get to their job, get their kid dropped off at school, survive a brutal cost of living crisis in the UK, you know, there's a certain hierarchy of needs that they have."

"If at the same time they have a pink-haired, tattooed and pierced protester standing in front of their car, so that their kid is late for their test that day, that does not encourage them to join the movement.

"It's just performative. It's not accomplishing anything. I absolutely believe that it has now become counterproductive, and I just feel like that has to be said by somebody that was involved in the beginnings of what it has become."

And that is the point.

No-one can criticise the motives of these protesters who clearly believe in what they are doing and have shown a willingness for self-sacrifice that is admirable.

But we are now in the tenth week of these protests and - to put it bluntly - what have they achieved?

As a country, we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis and people face unprecedented challenges just to survive and keep their homes.

We all sympathise with the Just Stop Oil motives but life is difficult enough at the moment without any unnecessary disruption.

And these slow marches have been going on for ten weeks.

This is without counting the disruption they caused at the Rugby Cup final at Twickenham, the Epsom Derby and the Chelsea Flower show.

History has shown us that in Britain those wanting to bring about proper, effective change need to have the support of the masses.

Just Stop Oil seem to be rapidly losing that support.