24 May 2023
I have never felt such a strong desire to buy a man a pint as I did when I watched that builder clear Just Stop Oil protesters off the road. The clip has gone viral. We see an irate bloke take direct action against doom-mongering posh irritants. They were doing one of their funereal marches on Blackfriars Bridge in Central London, to raise awareness about the coming eco-apocalypse or some nonsense, when the man appeared out of nowhere, fuming.
This is an impossible situation.
Do we disrupt other ordinary people, like this man, arrested for lashing out today, or just sit back and watch everything burn?
That’s where our government has left us. More and more people are realising taking action is the right thing to do. pic.twitter.com/hMm3Wxu0tY
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) May 23, 2023
He ripped their daft banners from their hands. He pushed one of them off the road. He looked furious, and why not? A man being prevented from getting to work by the upper middle-class retirees of the green death cult – we should all be angry about that. My WhatsApp has been buzzing all day with friends and family sharing the clip and cheering the heroic builder, the man with no name, the productive member of society who finally said to the road-blocking End-is-Nigh nutters: ‘Enough’.
The police, however, see things differently. They won’t be buying him a pint. In fact, they arrested him, roughly. One swore at him. It was a surreal scene. The builder was only doing what the police have flat-out refused to do – clear the public highway so that citizens can go about their business. And yet the police manhandled, cuffed and arrested him. Disgraceful behaviour by the state, if you ask me.
That builder should know that if he needs funds for a trial, there are many people out there who would be willing to help. The public has had enough of the road-blocking antics of eco-doomsayers. There have been many instances over the past couple of years of working-class people angrily confronting these self-indulgent disruptors of daily life. We’ve seen builders, truckers and busy mums stand up to the time-rich hysterics and tell them to stop making life harder for ordinary people.
A man being prevented from getting to work by the upper middle-class retirees of the green death cult – we should all be angry about that
A few months ago, on the Strand in London, I saw some very young men in paint-stained workgear pleading with a gaggle of Just Stop Oil activists to get off the road. ‘Let us go home’, one said. One of the very plummy eco-agitators mumbled something along the lines of: ‘We’re doing this for you, and for everyone.’ Their paternalism and arrogance was astounding.
What have the police done about all this? Nothing. Actually, it’s worse than that – they’re providing protection to the green road-blockers. We’ve seen cops offering Just Stop Oil water, and in one case feeding water to an eco-vicar who had glued himself to the road. The arrest of the heroic builder of Blackfriars Bridge is confirmation that the police are putting a forcefield around Just Stop Oil, to protect them from the plebs. They’re not policing these marches – they’re stewarding them.
We need to talk about Just Stop Oil’s class privilege. It isn’t hard to fathom why these protesters are treated with kid gloves by the cops and fawned over by the liberal media. It’s because they are ‘nice’ and well-to-do. It’s because they are adherents to the grim climate-change ideology that is supported by every wing of the establishment. Do you think Brexit voters, if they were to block the roads to register their frustration with the latest UK-EU deal, would be given such soft, cuddly treatment? Not a chance. They’d be truncheoned off the street and the Guardian would laugh.
Just Stop Oil and its mother-ship movement – Extinction Rebellion – are famously upper class. They’re all called Edred or Tilly. Harry Mount calls them ‘Econians’, a green spin on Etonians – the ‘public school boys and girls who rule the wokerati world’. A survey of the 6,000 XR people who brought London to a standstill in April 2019 found they were ‘overwhelmingly middle-class [and] highly educated’. The establishment likes these people because they look and sound so familiar. ‘They’re just like us.’
An unspoken class war is unfolding on the streets of Britain. The intermittent run-ins between working-class people and comfortably-off greens speaks to a deeper disagreement over the future of the country. Working people tend to want more growth, more wealth creation, decent jobs, and cheap and abundant energy. Greens, meanwhile, want less of everything: less development, less driving, less coal, less nuclear, less energy. The clash between that builder and the road-blockers was really a clash of competing visions, competing values, and I know whose side I’m on.
Isaac Foot, the Liberal MP and father of Michael, was fond of saying that he judged a man by one thing – which side he would have fought on in the Battle of Marston Moor during the English Civil War. We can do similar today. Are you on the side of the self-righteous peddlers of fact-lite doom, or ordinary people who want to keep earning a wage and keep the country running? We can tell an awful lot about you by your answer.