Today we see another demonstration against fuel duty by HGV drivers who will be convergining on London in a wonderfully British display, a demonstration which is organised in co-operation with the police and organised to let people know how unhappy they are, but in an apologetic sort of fashion and not creating too much disruption. This is one of the reasons I love this country so much.
Things are pretty grim on the road at the moment for our hauliers. On top of the tax they pay on their earnings, they also pay a huge amount of tax just to operate, foreign firms drive on the roads in the UK without this tax burden on fuel (they'll normally fill up in Belgium or France before coming over) in vehicles which aren't subject to the same controls as those on the continental mainland (well they are, but VOSA don't have the resources to enforce these standards), that don't have to pay to use the roads as British vehicles do, and with the threat of £2000 per head for every clandestine potential illegal immigrant hauled out of the back of their wagon by British (or foreign contractor to the British government) search teams in Calais, Dunkerque or Coquelles. There's so many of these people in Northern France because the British government makes the UK look so appealing. It must be noted however that many drivers do not help themselves by having inadequate security on their vehicles, and that many clandestines are now being found outbound from Dover. How bad are things getting when economic immigrants are queueing up to leave?
The point is this, the path of the haulier is beset with obstacles that do not seem to reflect the level playing field European harmony that the EU utopia promises. In France, the hauliers, fishermen and anyone else will bring the whole country to a standstill and will refuse to move at least until there's a credible promise to see what can be done. More power to them.
It is without doubt that oil is incredibly expensive at the moment, and that vehicle fuel only accounts for a small amount of oil usage, but this seems to have the qualities of a commodities bubble, and it will surely burst before long. The market cannot, and will not meet the price for much longer.
What really, really annoys me is the shrugging of the shoulders over tax on petrol and diesel. 'We've deferred the duty rise until October.' say the MPs. Oh well, great, that's fucking good of you, thanks a lot. Why is there this idea that fuel duty has to go up all the time? Would any party dare to stand for election by saying that income tax would have to go up a couple of pence every year? Why do people accept that fuel duty must go up? It is a cynical, hostile tax. The goverment of whatever political colour has always been banging on about too many people using the country's roads and that this tax will drive people to alternatives.
I live a 25 minute drive from work, if I took the bus, the journey would take an hour and five minutes. If I wanted to take the train, I'd have to go to either Ashford or Dover from Canterbury and then change there to go to Folkestone, with no integrated transport policy, I'd be hanging around on the platform for ages waiting for the Folkestone train, and I'd still have a twenty minute walk to the office. I have no alternative but to use my car, and the goverment knows this all too well, drivers are like a cash machine that keeps pumping out bank notes. Living in a semi-rural setting, in a rural area, a Labour government is only going to treat me with contempt.
Now we have the new argument. Joan Ruddock, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford (above) and an environment minister has come out with a bloody fatuous statement. She has said with regard to the fuel duty rise, that the government "could not lose sight of the environment agenda". What now? Please enlighten me. How does me handing over more cash to the government save the environment? I don't see the connection. ZaNuLabour and the Green (Watermelon) party environmental policy seems to be take every penny we've got. Perhaps they've got an army of eco-elves that go around fanning polar bears and ambushing loggers in the rainforests that our fuel tax is paying for?
Watch out, environmentalism is making up the triumvirate of totalitarian control, along with H&S and 'Security Reasons' ('I'm sorry, I can't tell you about my expenses/let you ask me pointed questions/do the fucking job you elected me to do, because of security reasons'). Dare to question these closed statements and you'll be branded radical, dangerous, selfish and probably a paedophile as well.