This week the Cameron government tried to create an orderly panic and unfortunately learned that there is no such thing. It is in essence proof of Bobs Law (a term from Judge Dredd, that it only takes one or two people to do something stupid and pretty soon you have everyone else joining in). The English like to claim their motto is keep calm and carry on. Shouldnt that be panic at the first wiff of trouble and run around screaming like a frightened Chihuahua .
There are many reasons for this panic at the petrol pumps, the heavy dependence of many in the UK on their cars and a car bound lifestyle is one reason. Given the issue of peak oil looming, this should come as a wake up call to many. If youve just spend several hours queuing for petrol because you cant get by without a car, you really need to revaluate your life. How are you going to cope with post peak oil prices which will make current oil prices look like a bargain?
Further you will see no greater proof of the power of the road lobby than the willingness of the government to deploy the army to function as scab labourers to counter a strike.
But indeed, government dithering is certainly part of the problem. The tory government put out mixed messages to say the least varying from dont panic, too fill up youre jerry can and do panic! Indeed this jerry can business I think highlights how out of touch these millionaires ministers are with society. Now while I correctly guessed that when Francis Maude talked about filling a few jerry cans and sticking them in the garage he was referring to the little 5L things you fill up the lawnmower with (rather that the big 20L units that the media jumped to the conclusion), he seemed to assume that everyone has a garage (and one assumes a butler too!). I could put them in my garden, but my neighbour mightnt be happy about that as Ill be preventing him from nipping outside for a ciggie. And what about people in tenement flats or tower blocks?
Worse still, its becoming obvious that the Tories may have been itching for a fight and may have engineered this crisis for political reasons. The Guardian have just published leaked e-mails suggesting that the Tories were contemplating this as theyre Thatcher moment to take on and beat the unions. There is also the possibility that they calculated that they could benefit from a crisis by distracting attention from the Dinner 4 Donors scandal (or cash for cocktails or Caviar 4 C*nts or Food 4 Fuckwits or Tugger 4 toffs…Ill stop now!). Unfortunately Tory dithering and the panic that came from their mixed messages suggest that this might be their Major moment when the Cameron government jumps the shark and looses its credibility. Indeed, even the Tories blogs are starting to turn rowdy.
But the idiots queuing for petrol also have to take some of the flak. I mean come on guys, what were you thinking? The unions have to give 7 days notice before a strike and its been widely reported and pointed out that so long as everyone sticks to their normal driving habits, it would be 14 days before stocks were depleted. But what if strike lasted longer than 14 days? Well what were you planning to do? leave the car at home and not fill up for 21 days?
Governments are supposed to be there to prevent a crisis or limit they’re impact. But the Tory’s have succeeded in doing the opposite, making a problem much worse to the point where the tanker drivers actually going on strike would be the least of our worries.