Posted by: iangilbert | April 2, 2012

Failure of responsibility

I may disagree with this government about just about everything, but I never thought they’d stoop so low in terms of putting people at deliberate risk in the way they did last week.

They have quite deliberately talked up the risk of an industrial dispute leading to fuel shortages. The advice given by Francis Maude to ‘fill up a jerry can’ is not only reckless, irresponsible, it’s actually illegal. We know from previous fuel protests that the huge risk of shortages is from panic buying. Filling stations can get by for many days without a delivery if everyone buys petrol responsibly.

The correct response from the government is to assure people that supplies will be kept going, and that people should carry on as usual. If a strike, with serious disruption in fuel supplies, was actually imminent (which it obviously isn’t, there’s not even a date, unions must legally give 7 day’s notice and the PM tells us the army is on standby in any case) telling people to stockpile fuel would be utterly the wrong course of action and have disastrous consequences. This from the Motor Industries Federation explains the current situation and says that the government in intent on ‘creating a crisis’.

There seem to be memos flying around the Conservative Party saying that this was their ‘Thatcher moment’. Well if so, I think Martin Rowson has the best take on it.

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