. Coalition: crafty or chaotic? | London Progressive Journal
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Coalition: crafty or chaotic?

Fri 30th Mar 2012

It may seem that Cameron & Co are resorting to radical techniques to snatch some quick money from the public (“radical” in the most Conservative sense of the word).

The recent fuel panic spurred on by Coalition MPs (namely Francis Maude and Ed Davey)[1] doesn’t seem as much of a precautionary measure as it does an encouragement to pump a few million into the economy, or, more appropriately in times of supposed budgeting by citizens, a few million pounds into the government.

The excuse that proposed fuel strikes (led by the Unite union) would practically enforce a prepared stock-up of fuel could have been fairly-well justified if it wasn’t for the fact that any such strike will not be able to be carried out well into April, given the laws concerning workers’ rights to strike (seven days’ notice must be given to employers ahead of the strike, and action must be taken within 28 days), and also due to the fact that meetings to organise the strike will not begin until either the very end of March or early in April [2].

Also, I don’t seem to recall any sort of fuel top-up advice given during 2007 when hauliers most recently went on strike, and their method of striking was considered illegal [3]. This was during the time when petrol prices began to exceed the £1 per litre mark, and in a mere five years, the average UK price per litre for unleaded petrol has increased to £1.40, and the average price for diesel has increased to £1.47[4].

Not only does a panic-buying-encouragement seem like a speedy earner for the government (which they certainly achieved; petrol sales increased by 81 per cent and diesel sales by 43 per cent in just that one day [1]), but Peter Cruddas’ recent resignation also smells of a similar stench [5].

Despite David Cameron’s criticism of Cruddas’ actions (in which Cruddas was offering businessmen access to the prime minister for a fee of £250k, which he claimed would boost business revenue by acting as some sort of PR campaign), I can only imagine that it wasn’t just Cruddas involved in this. It doesn’t seem plausible that Cruddas would offer access to the Prime Minister without David Cameron having any idea beforehand, as if Cruddas would pocket his £250k and then just ask the Prime Minister if he happens to have an afternoon free. Or perhaps I’m being too idealistic (in a strange sort of way) and Cruddas was simply trying to make an earner for himself, I don’t know.

But offering businesses a PR opportunity with the Prime Minister, and riling up the public into believing fuel will disappear in the very near future both seem like quick and highly-profitable business ventures, in order to pull some money into the economy/their pockets. Unethical economy boosters, or pathways to some sort of shady deal? I suspect the latter.

1. BBC News report on panic-buyers of fuel 29/03/2012
2. The I newspaper, page 4, 29/03/2012
3. BBC News report on 2007 fuel strikes 14/12/2007
4. Figures for 29/03/2012
5. Peter Cruddas resignation
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