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Anorak | Pump It Up

Pump It Up

by | 3rd, June 2004

‘IT looks like the Government has hit upon a cunning plan to halt the meteoric rise of house prices, control pollution and fully integrate transport policy in a masterstroke of joined-up politicking.

‘Now push, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…and work it…’

If the Telegraph is correct and Britain does have the most expensive petrol in the world (84p a litre), our cars will soon be more expensive to run than our homes.

So expensive will fuel be if the Chancellor is as good as his word and sticks a 1.9p-a-litre duty increase on petrol and diesel in September that no-one will be able to afford to drive.

We will all begin to live in our cars, which we will push from one destination to another (thereby checking obesity) in keeping with the speed of our trains.

But not everyone sees the light, and the Telegraph hears from Tory leader Michael Howard, who asks Gordon Brown to reconsider his policy.

Indeed, the Independent hears Howard say that he thinks that, if others want to voice their anger and engage in “protest in a peaceful way”, they should do so.

Howard says that the rise in fuel duty (which already provides £23bn to the Treasury each year) “would cause great hardship to many people and I would entirely understand should they wish to protest”.

And that sends the Guardian out to locate David Handley, leader of the Farmers’ Action Group (FAG), which brought Britain to a virtual standstill four years ago with its campaign against rising fuel prices.

Handley and his group may like to direct their ire towards Beirut, where the oil ministers from the countries that make up the Opec cartel are meeting to decide what do to next.

And it’s their fault we are paying more at the pumps, according to the Government.

In the Telegraph, Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, accuses Howard of “complete opportunism” and says prices at the pumps are being driven up by the “high international oil price”.

But since motoring to Beirut to voice dissatisfaction would cost as much as a moderately sized mansion in Surrey, the protestors are staying at home.

And the Guardian reports that the little-known People’s Fuel Lobby, a composite bland of hauliers and farmers, plans to blockade Newcastle upon Tyne city centre next Wednesday with trucks and lorries – or detached houses and mobile gyms, as they will soon be known…’



Posted: 3rd, June 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink