Simply Cease Oil (JSO) is as much as its traditional methods once more. Earlier as we speak, two JSO activists walked into the Nationwide Gallery in London and smashed the protecting glass over Diego Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus.

The 2 fresh-faced vandals had the identical demand as all the time – for the UK authorities to cease all new oil and fuel licences. (Sadly for them, it appears like extra drilling is ready to be introduced by prime minister Rishi Sunak within the King’s Speech tomorrow.)

The official JSO account on X / Twitter swiftly posted a video of the stunt. The 2 activists, Hanan (22) and Harrison (20), will be seen taking hammers to the portray’s protecting glass. They then knelt down and trotted out the standard stuff concerning the authorities failing them and the world being on the point of collapse. ‘They don’t care about us, they don’t care about our futures’, wailed Hanan. Harrison, whose voice apparently broke final week, stated that ‘tens of millions will die on account of new oil and fuel licences – MILLIONS!’ The pair have since been arrested.

As JSO nodded to when posting the video, this isn’t the primary time that the Rokeby Venus has been focused for a political trigger. Famously, Suffragette Mary Richardson slashed the canvas of the portray with a meat cleaver in 1914, in retaliation for the arrest of fellow Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

And so these eco-zealots are trying to invoke the legacy of the ladies’s suffrage motion – to current themselves as its modern-day, direct-action-taking heirs. Harrison (the squeaky one) even referenced Pankhurst through the stunt, quoting her line about why activists should ‘make extra noise than anyone else’.

These comparisons are self-aggrandising and absurd. Simply Cease Oil is a cult of privileged doom-mongers. It has completely nothing in frequent with the pioneers of girls’s rights. The Suffragettes fought to emancipate half of the inhabitants, whereas Simply Cease Oil needs to impoverish the world. The ladies’s suffrage motion took direct motion to advance democracy. The inexperienced motion disrupts the lives of extraordinary individuals to advance an anti-human ideology that might eviscerate our dwelling requirements and freedoms.

I’m going to exit on a limb right here and say that historical past is not going to look again on the juvenile attention-seeking of Simply Cease Oil with the identical fondness and gratitude that it does on the Suffragettes. We must always reject this determined try to wash of their glow.

Lauren Smith is an editorial assistant at spiked.

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