We’ve been here before. A little over 12 years ago fuel protests against fuel prices of 80p/litre for petrol and 80.8p/litre for diesel brought the UK to a virtual standstill, with long distance commuters and lorry drivers refusing the move in equal numbers.
12 years later and statements by the coalition conservative/liberal democrat Government to “keep your tank topped up” and “carry a jerry can of fuel” has led to widespread fuel shortages and price gouging; in equal measure. The latter might be good for the tax coffers of the Government, but when fuel does run out (it already has in some areas) that’s not going to be very good for the long term economy. Expect to see in a months time the MILLIONS LOST due to people staying at home.
Of course, this is a very effective way to put the pressure back on the Unite union to not strike. After all, the public would be against it.
Except, the public is already fed up with the cost of fuel, and the cost of everything else for that matter. In a nation of falling wages, and rising prices, this could be another political crisis waiting to get started.
It’s a fact that whilst public opinion doesn’t back the truck drivers, it’s also pretty negative towards both the Government for exacerbation the situation and the fuel companies for racking the price up to an average of £1.38 per litre. It’s currently heading to double the limit that kicked off the “fuel protests” in the first place.
Is the Unite strike for better terms really what it appears to be? Or is it an orchestrated attempt to paint the current Tony/Lib Dem coalition in a poor light. After all, Unite is one of the biggest supporters of the Labour party.
In return, if the strategy was to put pressure on Unite, it’s been a total backfire. If anything it’s just highlighted to the general public just how much they are being taken for a ride.
So we are clear, the current price of oil is $105 per WTI barrel with Brent at $124 a barrel. But in February oil prices were at $109-110 per WTI and $126 for Brent. But in February the AA says that the average price for unleaded was £1.33 to £1.35 per litre.
So costs have come down… prices have gone up. But I guess if you control a monopoly, why not exploit it.
Something else to note….
Of course, as wobsy points out below. This couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tory Government. What with the (now no longer) emerging story that David Cameron is rather a little too chummy with people who donate £150,000 and more.
Update: 1st April 2012
The Daily Mail are reporting that;
David Cameron told shocked Ministers ‘a bit of petrol panic may be no bad thing’ as he set out his determination to defeat the threatened strike by fuel-tanker drivers.
According to senior sources, his provocative remark was made at the end of a Cabinet meeting last Tuesday that was dominated by the dispute.
You will note that this is the meeting out of which Francis Maude suggested that “people should keep a jerry can of petrol” and Cameron “we should keep our tanks topped up”.
So did he say it?
Asked if the Prime Minister had said ‘a bit of petrol panic may be no bad thing’, a Downing Street spokesman initially said he had ‘no recollection’ of any such remark, before denying the comment was made.
However, Cabinet sources told The Mail on Sunday Mr Cameron did make the comment.
In other words, as I suggested on the 29th, the Government DID intend to use a fuel crisis to put pressure on the striking tanker drivers.