A screenshot of Ed Balls and James Skeet on GMB James Skeet argued with Ed Balls on GMB about government subsidies of oil and the use of the word 'genocidal' - Media Credit: ITV

Activist Defends Silverstone Protest On Good Morning Britain, Says Government Oil Subsidies Are ‘Genocidal’

GMB hosts Ed Balls and Susanna Reid were met with unapologetic activism on live TV

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3 Minutes Read

Environmental activist James Skeet appeared on Good Morning Britain (GMB) to defend Just Stop Oil

Protest-driven organization Just Stop Oil recently stormed the Silverstone race track during the British Grand Prix. Five members climbed security fences to sit on the track, following an opening lap crash. 

After the event, seven Just Stop Oil campaigners were arrested.

In a live debate with GMB host Ed Balls, Skeet defended the group of protestors saying that extreme measures are necessary to bring about climate action. 

In defense of Just Stop Oil

Skeet said that the government is “engaged in a project of killing the UK population.” This came after Balls introduced the segment by iterating that protestors have been criticized for risking their lives and those of drivers. 

Identifying the objective of the protest as disruption, Skeet said he considers the protest a success. 

Skeet calls out government-funded ‘genocide’

The debate evolved into a heated discourse when Skeet likened the impact of continued investment into fossil fuels to genocide.

“It’s genocidal. At the moment the government is plowing £236 million a week of taxpayers’ money, subsidizing the most profitable industry on earth,” he said. “The chief executive of BP says he’s got more money than he knows what to do with. Now stick that on a bus.”

Balls dismissed the notion of fossil fuel reliance and subsidies being a death sentence for UK citizens. He responded: “I know what genocide means, and the one thing you can’t claim is that investing in North Sea oil is genocidal. That undermines your case.”

‘Civil resistance brings about societal shifts’

Balls’ co-host, Susanna Reid, offered insight into onlookers’ opinions. She said: “Some people might take issue with the apocalyptic language that we are all going to die.” Skeet nods in agreement but responds that his language comes from “scientific consensus” and not a “fringe leftist conspiracy.”

Regarding the extreme nature of the Just Stop Oil protests, he told Reid: “History has shown, time and time again, that civil resistance is the most effective means of bringing about the kinds of societal shifts we need to see in the timeframe we have left.”

When asked by Reid, “are you having an impact on policy?” Skeet concedes that the answer is no. He explains the lack of traction is a result of the “criminality of our government.”

Lewis Hamilton supports Just Stop Oil, then backtracks after team statement

Lewis Hamilton, a vegan seven-time F1 world champion, was quick to throw his support behind the Just Stop Oil protestors. Initially saying “big up the protestors,” and that we “need more people like them.” He later offered a sanitized message of support. It came after Mercedes released their own clarifying statement.

The racing team is sponsored by oil company Petrogas and chemicals giant Ineos. It claims that Hamilton was “unaware of the full situation.” A spokesperson went on to add: “Lewis was endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others.”

Hamilton later said: “I don’t know what the protest was for.”

Gary Lineker also offered support, specifically after the GMB debate featuring Skeet. He tweeted: “If it’s not already too late, history will look back very favorably on these people.” He included a link to the live discussion.

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The Author

Amy Buxton

Amy enjoys reporting on vegan news and sustainability initiatives. She has a degree in English literature and language and is raising a next-gen vegan daughter.

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