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Need a Student Job? Put Down Your CV and Pick up the Superglue!

Staff writer Sam McManus details why opting for a side hustle with Just Stop Oil may be a one-way ticket to future ruin.

London; a city where a trip to any club or bar results in me being on overly familiar terms with my overdraft, despite having a very foggy recollection of the night’s events. It’s like waking up next to someone you don’t recognize and, to make matters worse, that someone has taken a rather large chunk of your wallet.

If you’re like me, and you’ve already blown the week’s budget by Wednesday, I have exciting news. A new recruiter is lingering around campus, and they’re looking to employ students like us; Just Stop Oil.

Let’s assume you’re the sort who is rather passionate about the environment and a little fretful about the effects of global warming. If you dream of a world where your children can witness the majestic sight of a whale, and hope that those same kids won’t need to snorkel to school, then Just Stop Oil might just have the part-time gig for you.

According to emails uncovered by the Daily Mail, this feisty group are scouting for new student talent. They’re in the market for eco-warriors, those who think a bit of vandalism on the weekend would liven up their schedule.

With your help, new recruit, they plan to grind our universities to a halt as a part of their overzealous, militant campaign. Put simply, they want to arm you, the diligent student, with paint, passion, and a tad bit of glue to convince the government to…stop oil.

The leaks show that this semester, they’re taking the fight to campuses, staging mock oil spills and tossing orange paint wherever they can. Over libraries, lecture halls, and maybe over Reggie. Just this week, Bristol, UCL, Exeter and more have all been victim to an unwanted, tangerine, revolutionary redecoration.

Now, admittedly it’s a pain if you’re nursing a hangover, you hustled through the sweltering tube (assuming it’s not on strike) to get to your 9 a.m., and the lecture has been called off because Nicholas has decided your classroom wall was a tad too bare. To cheer yourself up, you go grab a hot coffee from Chapters, but your day’s about to get worse. Becky’s superglued her ear to the espresso machine. 

You may agree with their mission, as I do. Or you may think we need as many fossil fuels as possible. But it’s worth remembering, regardless of your take on green energy, not everyone has the Bank of Mum-and-Dad to prop them up during this time. Thousands of hard-working families are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. If protestors have blocked their car, they can miss zero-hour shifts, which they simply cannot afford to lose.

Just Stop Oil will tell you this doesn’t matter. As a new member, you’re doing it for the greater good. You’re fighting for the very survival of our species. That outweighs a few people missing a shift, even if it’s needed for their daughter’s next meal.

But I’d disagree. See, by blocking up roads and campuses, they’re not actually disrupting those who have the power to stop granting oil licenses. They’re not handcuffing themselves to private jets, or slow-marching through the Chinese Embassy. They plonk themselves on the Dartford crossing, or the M25, which everyday people depend on to get to work.

They’re not disrupting Mr Sunak’s day. He’s whizzing about in his helicopter, a few thousand feet above Joe Public, who is now caught in the midst of eco-warfare in which he played no part.

Again, they may argue that disruptive protest is historically effective; they’re doing it the French way, who’ve had a knack for convincing governments to change.

But actually, are they any closer to achieving their aim? I wouldn’t say so. All they’ve caused are evermore draconian laws on protest by the Home Office; soon enough, telling ‘Suella de Vil‘ she’s too far-right for your taste will earn you a one-way ticket to Kigali. Because her prisons are full.

In fact, after mulling it over,  I’d argue Just Stop Oil are eradicating environmental progress, which honestly is a shame. I, like many of you, acknowledge the climate catastrophe we’re meandering into.

Sunak’s grand plan to extract more fossil fuels from the North Sea? Bonkers. Lunacy. He’s taking a sledgehammer to our ambitions of being a green world leader.

He may prattle on about our bills coming down, yet those who have done some research know the black gold they yank out won’t end up in our cars. It’ll be shipped off to the ports of Rotterdam or Shanghai or maybe Narnia.

So perhaps I’m a Greenpeace activist at heart. Maybe, I should be out protesting for Just Stop Oil now, instead of sitting at home and writing this column.

But, there’s a reason why I’m not. Those who want to agree with their mission, like myself, are instantly put off by their tactics and regressive protesting. They’ve been successful in making people more aware of the issue, but change rarely comes from irritating the life out of those you want to persuade.

There’s a key line between being a conscientious objector and an object of public nuisance. And our friends at Just Stop Oil? They’ve somersaulted over that line, landing in the realm of public enemy number one.

Can you imagine being a single parent, who’s been hand-to-mouth grafting for the better part of 2 years? You’ve been scrimping, saving, salivating over a dream to grab a ticket to watch Wimbledon. Then, some buffoon can’t resist his urge to lob a jigsaw over Centre Court, shattering your well-earned day out. Would you get behind his campaign?

That doesn’t even consider the people who have missed funerals, or hospital appointments, because of Just Stop Oil. And whilst everyone’s furious at these ruddy protestors, Sunak and Co. can pillage our climate further to line the Treasury’s coffers. Everyone’s so busy shouting at each other, so divided on the issue, that there’s not much valid objection to the new fossil fuel projects. It’s a maddening cycle of regression.

Just Stop Oil are making their own despised, and are also enabling the government to mangle our climate further. It’s all because of these methods.

There’s got to be a smarter, more effective way to go about it. It’s not unlike someone telling you to chop off your feet because you’ve got a blister. We need cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, but why pretend that smearing paint on landmarks is the answer? When did the noble mission of ‘saving the planet’ involve inviting a generation to superglue themselves to paintings, or more dangerously, the road?

They could influence policy, and raise awareness without resorting to vandalism, or infuriating the masses. Because when the orange paint is washed away, and the road is unblocked, what’s left? A motley crew of sticky-palmed students, disillusioned, detained, and not a step closer to their utopian dream.

You may disagree with me, and that’s fine. You may like that they’re making waves, causing chaos, and giving the cabinet a headache. And that’s also fine. But before you sprint off to join their ranks, it’s worth us entertaining a couple of outcomes.

Firstly, taking this job with Just Stop Oil would be akin to marching off the graduation stage, degree in hand, and then tossing it into the dreaded jaws of a shredder.

Picture yourself, post-graduation, hopping onto a train (that, mind you, sips on fossil fuels) bound for Canary Wharf. You’re there for a coveted job interview at one of the illustrious banks that everyone applies for. In front of you, there’s a guy who was the star player on the university football team, and can charm the birds from the trees. Behind you, a girl who spent her summers interning at big-name companies, rubbing shoulders with CEOs in swanky skyscrapers. And then there’s you, clutching your degree with a side order of a criminal record, all thanks to some paint-lobbing and slogan-shouting at the weekend.

Suella’s new laws aren’t mucking about. Get caught in the fray with Just Stop Oil, and you’re coming out the other side with a criminal record. It’s not exactly the kind of extra-curricular that boosts your CV.

Let’s not kid ourselves: when it’s you against Mr. Popular and Miss Corporate Ladder, all with equal degrees but you’re the one with the ‘activist’ stain, who do you think lands the job?

It’s tough, learning that your stand for the environment also meant taking a seat in the dole queue. But it’s a cruel irony, that by campaigning for a cleaner global future, you’ve only succeeded in torching your own.

Second, aside from professional woes, there is a more immediate risk you take by joining up.

This April, there was an incident involving a student just like you and me. Daniel Knorr, a biochemistry student from Oxford, who joined a Just Stop Oil protest in South Kensington. He’s in the middle of the road, and along comes a car with a guy and his pregnant partner inside. Trying to avoid turning Daniel into a speedbump, the driver ends up colliding with another vehicle. Panic, chaos, the lot.

Probably frightened for his baby’s health, the man jumps out, and in a burst of fear and rage, smacks Daniel to the ground. He follows this up by kicking the student hard. It’s a mess, an absolute mess. But it’s the kind of mess we’re rapidly sliding into. People aren’t just irritated with these protestors; they’re at the end of their tether. 

And what if you just are caught in the wrong place? You could be blocking a chap on a motorcycle who has just helped himself to someone’s Rolex. If they’re willing to flash a pistol or machete to snatch that, what would stop them from doing the same if the police are in pursuit and a frizzy-haired protestor is blocking their escape plan?

You started as a genuine environmentalist, and now you find yourself glued to the road with a thug brandishing a sword and demanding you get out of his way. 

I’m not here to make your choices for you. But if you’re on the job hunt like I am, consider this:

Option one is pulling espresso shots at the local cafe. Decent pay, friendly faces, and the regulars know your name.

Option two? Diving headfirst into the Just Stop Oil chaos. Just bear in mind, that choice might come with a side of academic ruin or an up-close view of the concrete.

You want to protect our environment? Brilliant. But do it smart, do it right, and for heaven’s sake, do it without ending up on the wrong side of the law, or worse, the pavement. 

Pick your fights, and more importantly, know exactly what it is you’re fighting for, and what you’ll be risking in the process.

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