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“I don’t feel guilty about stopping people going to work.”

“I think stopping somebody from going to hospital is one of the most important things. But all the other things – taking people to school and going to work, I think the cause is more important.”

Those were the thoughts of two potential Just Stop Oil recruits when asked if they would feel guilty about disrupting ordinary people.

We were sitting in a circle, during a seven-hour “non-violence” training session in central London.

I’d been invited to capture on camera, for the first time, Just Stop Oil’s training day for all potential recruits.

Heidi, a Just Stop Oil protester gives new recruits a lesson in de-escalation
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Heidi, a Just Stop Oil protester gives new recruits a lesson in de-escalation

Anyone who wants to join the climate protest group must attend a day of training, with sessions run across the country.

We experienced a much lower-than-normal turnout – while 12 people had signed up, just five arrived in the morning.

The day was split into two halves.

The first included introductions, meditation, a discussion on entrants’ hopes and fears, and the theory of “non-violence activism”.

Practical techniques were taught after lunch, along with role-plays.

Potential recruits took it in turns to play an angry driver, screaming and swearing into each other’s faces, while practising “de-escalation techniques”.

Just Stop Oil recruits are given training. For Rachael Venables VT
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Just Stop Oil recruits are put through role play scenarios

Some gave it more gusto than others, but it was clear they all understood the public’s rage and frustration.

“We don’t have an ethical right to stop someone going to school,” said Heidi, who ran the session.

“But the government also shouldn’t have the right to issue new oil and gas licences, when it’s going to cause billions of deaths.”

Trainers repeatedly denied that all they are doing is putting people off climate activism.

“People feel threatened by us, but they should be threatened by the government’s inaction about the climate crisis,” said potential recruit Max.

Heidi told the group to “remember their humanity”, adding that they should listen, empathise and watch their body language if accosted on real-life protests.

Just Stop Oil protesters take part in a walking protest blocking Whitehall in central London. Picture date: Monday November 6, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Oil. Photo credit should read: Lucy North/PA Wire
Image:
Just Stop Oil protesters take part in a walking protest blocking Whitehall in central London in November

She told me later that the scenarios were an “extreme” version, but that it’s important they prepare new people for what could face them on the streets.

Later on, they practised “going floppy”, a technique of non-compliance during arrest, where protesters lie down and go limp, forcing several police officers to pick them up and carry them.

The group have been a huge drain on the Metropolitan Police’s already over-stretched resources.

On Wednesday night 16 Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested during a demonstration outside the prime minister’s London home in Kensington.

Just Stop Oil protesters outside Rishi Sunak's London home on Wednesday night
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Just Stop Oil protesters outside Rishi Sunak’s London home on Wednesday night

In the summer, then Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealed the group had cost police more than £18.5m.

Just Stop Oil plan all their actions around the core value of “non-violence”.

Key to that mantra is a refusal to fight back; they can be verbally abused and even beaten on the road, and they won’t respond.

Just Stop Oil protesters are no stranger to violence and frustration from the general public. Their disruptive methods have resulted in situations taking a turn for the worst. Sky News witnesses the training given to recruits to prepare them for adversity.
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Just Stop Oil protesters on the streets of London during a demonstration

After showing trainees a video of one activist getting kicked on the ground, trainer Paul curled into a ball on the floor, demonstrating how to best protect the internal organs.

He was adamant these training sessions work: “Maybe the proof is that we’ve done hundreds of actions, with thousands of people and they’ve remained peaceful.”

However, there was an implicit recognition throughout the day that their actions could, in a worst-case scenario, result in serious harm, or even death.

Conversations about the policy of letting ambulances pass roadblocks, or the risk of mistakenly causing a traffic accident, got perilously close to an ethical debate of how one death could be balanced against the need to “save billions of lives”.

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So, how do they justify themselves?

“If non-disruptive protest worked we would be doing that,” Heidi said.

“It’s not because it’s fun, it’s not because we want to disrupt people’s days. We’re doing it because the government desperately needs to change its policy.

Heidi, a Just Stop Oil protester. For Rachael Venables VT.
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Heidi, a Just Stop Oil protester

“And if they don’t change their policy we’re going to see even more disruption.

“The government can end this now by saying they won’t issue any more oil and gas licences.”

Since Just Stop Oil started its disruptive protests, the only laws that have changed have been to strengthen police powers around demonstrations.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the government announced plans for a new annual system for awarding oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

Just Stop Oil says that this won’t stop them.

From the end of this week, the group will pause its demonstrations for a period of planning, but say they will be back with more protests next year.

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Lee Anderson suspended from Conservative Party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments

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Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments.

A spokesperson for Chief Whip Simon Hart said: “Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the Chief Whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP.”

Speaking on GB News this week, Mr Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

Earlier today Sadiq Khan accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn Mr Anderson‘s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.

Mr Khan said the claim by the former deputy chairman of Tory party were Islamophobic and sent the message that Muslims were “fair game” when it came to racism.

The remarks prompted criticism from Labour and some Tories, including former cabinet minister Sajid Javid who branded them “ridiculous”.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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King Charles shown chuckling at get well card featuring dog in a head cone

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King Charles shown chuckling at get well card featuring dog in a head cone

The King has been shown having a chuckle at cards sent by well-wishers, including one of a dog with the caption “at least you don’t have to wear a cone!”.

The 75-year-old monarch has been sent around 7,000 messages of support from around the world since his cancer diagnosis.

Newly released images and footage show King Charles looking through some of them at his desk in Buckingham Palace’s Belgian Suite.

King Charles III reads cards and messages, sent by wellwishers following his cancer diagnosis.
Pic:PA
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The photos show the King in Buckingham Palace’s Belgian Suite. Pic: PA

He seemed particularly tickled by a card featuring an illustration of a terrier-like dog in a head cone, recovering from medical treatment.

Pets often wear plastic collars after an operation, to stop them aggravating a wound or stitches.

Other cards spread out in front of the King include one that reads “Your Majesty Get Well Soon”, while a number appear to be hand-drawn by children.

Many have related their own experience of cancer, with messages such as: “Chin up, chest out, remain positive and don’t let it get you down.”

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“Never give up. Be brave. Don’t push your limits. Get Well Soon,” says one note from a child.

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Messages ‘reduced me to tears’

The King was pictured reading the cards on Wednesday – the same day he met the prime minister for their weekly audience.

He told Rishi Sunak that he’d been “reduced to tears” by the public’s support.

The monarch was speaking to Mr Sunak in their first face-to-face meeting since it was announced he had a “form of cancer”.

“I’ve had so many wonderful messages and cards, it has reduced me to tears most of the time,” King Charles told the prime minister.

He added: “I hear there has been a lot more potential attention on those main, wonderful cancer charities, many of which I have been a patron of for years.”

The King had been mostly staying at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk following his first round of treatment in London.

Buckingham Palace announced on 5 February that cancer had been discovered while undergoing a procedure for an enlarged prostate.

The Palace has not released details about the type of cancer or the treatment.

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Professional golfer Georgia Ball can ‘see the funny side’ after ‘mansplaining’ TikTok video goes viral

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Professional golfer Georgia Ball can 'see the funny side' after 'mansplaining' TikTok video goes viral

Professional female golfer Georgia Ball has said she can “see the funny side” after a video of an amateur player “mansplaining” to her about her swing went viral.

Ball, a certified PGA pro and instructor, also told Sky Sports she did not put the man in his place during the “awkward” conversation because she is a “humble person”.

The TikTok video of the incident she shared earlier this week has had more than 10 million views and over 26,000 comments, with many social media users mocking the man for “mansplaining”.

In the clip, Ball, who regularly shares instructional videos on her account, is seen practising her swing at a driving range near Liverpool.

A man off camera then says: “Excuse me, what you’re doing there, you shouldn’t be doing that… swing and follow through.”

He goes on to tell her that she is “too slow on the way up”.

Ball explains she is going through a “swing change” – something golfers regularly do to improve their technique.

However, the man continues: “I know, but what you’re doing there is you’re coming back too slow.

“I’ve been playing golf for 20 years, what you need to do is follow through a lot quicker than what you’re doing there right now.”

She explains again that she is going through a swing change, but the man continues to advise that she needs to move her club quicker.

Ball then cleanly strikes the ball into the distance before the man says: “See how much better that was?”

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The professional golfer explains once again that she is practising a swing change, before the man repeats that he “has been playing for 20 years” and that she should carry on playing the way he has advised her to.

Ball then laughs, before sarcastically adding: “Thanks for your advice.”

Asked by Sky Sports how she felt during the interaction, Ball said: “It was an awkward conversation at the time but I was just concentrating on what I was doing… I am glad I can look back on it now and see the funny side to it.”

When asked if she was ever tempted to put the man in his place, she said: “To be honest, I am a humble person, it is not in me to call him out or say I am a PGA pro, it is just not in me to do that.”

Ball added that she never got the chance to see the man hit a ball, so was unable to pass comment on his swing.

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