Will you be buying petrol tomorrow?

I tend to steer clear of politics on my blog.

It’s not as though I’m a massively political person. Yes, I was a member of the Socialist Worker Student Society during university, but if I’m honest, I think I just had a crush on the SWSS leader, after I watched him on the Glasgow evening news being carted off by the police while singing, “I fought the law, and the law won.”

But today, as I sat home with Flea, who can’t go to school because we don’t have any petrol, I’m feeling a bit more politically roused than usual. Is it just me who thinks it’s massively convenient for the ConDems to have triggered a fuel crisis with their witless advice to the public?

A few days ago, we were talking about dodgy donation tactics in the Tory party, the impact of the budget on pensioners and how the ConDems put an extra £42,500 in the pocket of every millionaire. Now all anyone seems to be talking about is the “idiots” queuing at petrol stations because they listened to Dave and his cronies, and they really want to go on holiday for Easter (it’s amazing how many people in petrol station queues think everyone else in line is an idiot, while they’re obviously without fault).

What’s ridiculous is that the crisis is completely imaginary. There’s no strike, and there may not even be one. Petrol is still being delivered.  ACAS is working to get terms for talks, which may well be agreed on Monday, with talks hopefully following after. If that fails, and a strike goes ahead, there will be 7 days notice. By which time the petrol you’ve put in your car today will presumably have run out.

As it happens, the petrol stations around the small town where I live have run dry. They were closed by yesterday lunchtime, and none has re-opened yet. So I’ll be staying home, and we’ll use public transport, and walk, and we’ll cope, until the situation calms down. We’ll leave the petrol for people who really need it. I say this for two reasons.

First, I don’t like feeling I’m being exploited by the government, and I think we are. I think (personal opinion) the ConDems will benefit enormously from a pointless crisis that will fuel (ba-dum tish) negative sentiment towards unions ahead of any negotiations, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an attempt to introduce legislation to cap the unions’ powers in the coming months. Oh, and the government raised an extra £32m in duty from that 81% increase in petrol sales yesterday, and presumably even more than that today. I think that’s worth bearing in mind.

Also, I believe in democracy. It might sound fanciful, but in a democracy workers have the right to withdraw their labour and that’s really, really important. Certainly, more important to me than a one-off holiday, or a day out for Easter. I’m sort of surprised how strongly I still feel about that, and how cross I get when I see politicians attempting to undermine it.

So, I’m not going to call people who are filling up their cars ‘idiots’, although I think some of them are certainly misguided. After all, they’re only following the advice of politicians. I’m just not sure the politicians have our best interests at heart. What do you think?

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