A ‘Thatcher Moment’
The fall out from the government’s failure to handle the tanker driver’s dispute continues. Having been told to panic then not to panic in a form of dystopian Hokey-Cokey, we are now told everything is wonderful. “Oh no it isn’t” says a spokesman for the industry who makes a strong case. 6000 forecourts have closed since the last fuel dispute. That is a lot of capacity. Garage owners are wary of keeping their tanks full as each delivery costs £25,000 in tax to the government - paid upfront - which is then reclaimed from the customers at so much a litre. There are many garages with empty or nearly empty tanks and they have been told by their usual suppliers to ‘shop around.’
All of this will blow over in the next few days but will the damage done by the Tory Boys to their reputation recover? Even Tory papers are angered by their ineptitude. Charles Moore writing in the Telegraph quotes the email sent to all constituency parties before the fiasco escalated.
‘“This is our Thatcher moment. In order to defeat the coming miners’ strike, she stockpiled coal. When the strike came, she weathered it, and the Labour Party, tarred by the strike, was humiliated. In order to defeat the coming fuel drivers’ strike, we want supplies of petrol stockpiled. Then, if the strike comes, we will weather it, and Labour, in hock to the Unite union, will be blamed.”’
“There is a key difference which ministers have not spotted. When Mrs Thatcher piled up the coal at power stations until the strike began in 1984, she was not inconveniencing the public. In 2012, the Coalition is trying to press-gang the public, without saying so, into its political battles. All those people queuing on the forecourts were pawns in a Government-organised blame-game.
No doubt many people reading this column are happy that Ed Miliband’s and Ed Balls’s dependence on a large trade union should be exposed, but very few, I suspect, appreciate being made into mugs. (And the political effect, of course, is the opposite of that intended: Unite now looks virtuous, and is much better placed to win its demands.)”
The issue was discussed on ‘Any Questions’ this week. The audience were clearly of the view that they had been used political ends.
Mrs Thatcher is reported to be suffering from dementia. The Tory who sent the message to the constituency parties was more right than than he thought. This was a demented plan from the Tory Boys in their gilded bubble.
Mad, bad and dangerous.