Just Stop Oil are the most sanctimonious, priggish, bullies imaginable. And yesterday one activist left me furious, says Bev Turner

Just Stop Oil are the most sanctimonious, priggish, bullies imaginable. And yesterday one activist left me furious, says Bev Turner

Bev Turner explains her frustration with Just Stop Oil

Bev Turner

By Bev Turner

Published: 08/11/2023

- 10:37

Updated: 08/11/2023

- 11:26

'Just Stop Oil protesters adopt an arrogant position of believing that they know best; that they know what is right and we plebs do not'

I like to start my morning with a shot of adrenaline alongside my coffee so it was fortunate that we were visited in the studio by doctor Patrick Hart of just stop oil.

These semi-professional protesters are guaranteed to make my blood boil. Not because they believe that oil and gas will be the agents of our demise - I have no strong opinion on whether that is true - but because they are without a doubt the most sanctimonious, priggish, flag-bearers of the #bekind generation, using bullying tactics to cause chaos and destruction under the guise of it being "for our own good."

Dr Hart (the perfectly ironic name for a do-gooder who cares not one jot about infuriating people) appeared on GB News to defend his fellow Just Stop Oil comrades who took time out of their busy, professional schedules yesterday to attack Velázquez’s “Rokeby Venus” painting with a pair of hammers. The image is otherwise known as 'The Toilet of Venus.'

I managed to stop myself alluding to the fact that this was apt given Just Stop Oil's brilliance at talking sh*te.

WATCH: Bev Turner clashes with JSO's Dr Hart 

Patrick made much of the fact that he is a GP, a doctor whose job it is to keep people "safe."

We must all be hyper-sensitive to people who claim to take action that we haven't asked for in order to keep us "safe".

Since the pandemic, it has become the current get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone who wants to take potentially unpopular steps against us.

It’s hard to argue with someone who is limiting your choices "for your own good" – which is precisely why it’s the modus-operandi of successful abusers.

Whenever I interview a representative of Just stop Oil I must resist the urge to remove my journalist’s hat and adopt that of my previous role as a fully-trained psychotherapist. It is a fascinating psychological dysfunction to firmly believe in your right to disrupt other people's lives or destroy other people’s property under the auspices of "saving the planet from humanity itself".

If Marvel comics were writing their classic Superhero stories today, they would have to include an emotionally dysfunctional Eco-Warrior living in their parent’s spare-room.


\u200bDr Patrick Hart

Dr Patrick Hart said it was his job to keep people safe


It is borderline psychopathic to buy into any cause so wholeheartedly that you become blind to your own growing unpopularity.

Dr Hart claimed that “99.9 per cent of scientists around the world agree that using gas is stupid”. I’m not surprised that he believes this is true as any debate on the issue has been actively suppressed for at least 30 years.

When did you last hear about the costs versus benefits of reducing carbon emissions by 45 per cent up to 2030 in order to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C – as called for in the Paris Agreement? Have you been asked to vote on whether you wish to surrender your reliance on gas boilers so that we can reach net zero by 2050? Are you even sure what ‘net zero’ actually means?

I found doctor Hart's paternalistic tone about knowing what is best for us deeply chilling. Contrary to popular opinion it is not necessarily a doctor's job to "keep us safe". It is their job to offer us our options and allow us to decide collaboratively what course of treatment (if any) is required.

The same applies to protesters in orange vests holding up ambulances. I’m forced to call upon a key phrase which applies to the long-tail of lockdowns: “You do you hun. I’ll do me.”

Perhaps it is because I worked with pregnant women for nearly ten years and wrote The Happy Birth book to equip women and their partners to handle hospitals, but all too often I saw medics pat a pregnant woman on the knee and claim to know what was best for her and her baby in a patronising tone which did not respect that autonomous humans’ wishes.

Just Stop Oil protesters adopt an arrogant position of believing that they know best; that they know what is right and we plebs do not.

I applaud anyone who courageously stands up for their values and defends their beliefs in a peaceful manner. We live in an age of lethargy and apathy – the twin evils of complacency. But even if Just Stop Oil are right about the ‘climate emergency’ they are alienating, rather than recruiting people to their low-carbon ambitions.

Their guerrilla tactics do not educate or persuade. They just p*ss people off against the backdrop of a fractured capital city in which travel is already torturously difficult.

I might be wrong, but I doubt that the mindless destruction of artworks and the daily disruption on our streets will take them to the right side of history in the next fifty years. Theirs won’t be the first example of ‘climate modelling’ which proved inaccurate. I’m pretty sure that all that drama about the vanishing Ozone layer in the 1990s wasn’t eradicated by us using less hairspray.

Interviews with these activists, weighed down by their own Messiah complex are always too short. We barely scratched the surface with Patrick; I didn’t even get to ask how he would function as doctor without the millions of plastic items which require oil: syringes, gloves, medicine bottles and so on.

But I did shake his hand as you can’t deny that they are always up for the debate, even when they leave us in despair. I just wish they would leave us – and our artwork – alone.

You may like