14 September 2000
Your views on the fuel protests

THE fuel blockades continue to generate a steady stream of e-mails from farmers and other FWi users across the country.

The latest comments are published below. The most recent messages, updated at 12 noon on Thursday 14 September, are at the top of the screen.

To respond to any of the opinions, click here.

Protests are narrow-minded
The current action at present although sound in principle is ill-conceived & narrow-minded. You cannot begin to imagine the stress the East Anglian pig farmers are under at present, desperately trying to come to terms with swine fever.

Unable to move pigs because of MAFF incompetence, and stock values worthless because of overweight pigs, having to feed in excess and now some clever brainless individual shafts his market by paralysing his transport while allowing imports to flood in contaminated with who knows what. ” NICE ONE CYRIL”.

If you really want to prove a point block the ports where goods are flooding in transported by cheap EU Diesel. No wonder farming is in a mess with idiots thinking with their big toes.
Nigel Rowe
nrowe@ukonline.co.uk

Diesel cheap but air fuel tax-free
So Richard Stow thinks we have a advantage with fuel. I would like to point out that aviation fuel (A1jet fuel) has no tax on it. Last week at Leeds Bradford airport one company I know had a load at 18p per litre.

Does the public know about that if he is so worried about the fuel protesters. Which is more important food production or air travel? One big advantage of the fuel shortage is that cars are going a lot slower past our farm. I would be interested to know about the number of accidents since the shortage began because I believe their might be a reduction and possibly deaths.
Richard Haslam
rj-haslam-wg@tinyonline.co.uk

Careful not to overstep the mark

I fully support the action against this evil government, but feel we should now be very wary of alienating the general public. We have given Mr Blair the biggest shaking of his career, but should perhaps now be careful not to overstep the mark and lose the greatest groundswell of public support that I can remember. We may have the opportunity of the general election sooner than we think!!!!
Geoff Bean
gbean84@huki.freeserve.co.uk

Farmers are not self-centred
One of the e-mails you have received had the nerve to call farmers self centred. The fact is we are only 2% or so of the population but we do produce a large amount of the FOOD for this country a little point they seem to have forgotten. Perhaps they think they can import [food] cheaper. Please have a go. I know what food does cost abroad and we would be at the mercy when they decide to increase the price.

The German government earlier this week ORDERED food price rises because three giant supermarkets have been selling basic foodstuffs such as milk and butter less than it costs to produce them. Please check how much German farmers are paid for their milk then look at UK farmers prices. I wont need to add any more!!!
Richard Haslam
rj-haslam-wg@tinyonline.co.uk

Protests will help in long-run
It will help farmers in the long run because it will change peoples focus of attention. All our movements etc connected with farm are more expensive because of fuel and that is the situation all over, farm or no farm. But people will start to realise what it takes to produce and deliver when they cannot get goods on tap.

I want the protests to continue to the end and will support that, but public support is keeping it going. The minute that goes we should stop because this is not a single industry protest but a public one. Keep going as long as is acceptable to public and kick Blairs A—.
provanprouyh@supanet.com

Continue for as long as it takes
Yes the fuel protests should continue for as long as necessary while the public are behind them. Mr Blair has reversed himself into a corner that is going to be very difficult to get out of especially as he wont even entertain negotiations with the front-line of pickets. He must surely realise soon, that our fuel prices are significantly more than other countries that OPEC supply,. After all, the oil does come out of the same hole!!!!!
MCadford@cs.com

Scientist has no truck with protest
THE plight of the agricultural sector worries me as 1) I am paid by the industry to try and help it be more competitive and 2) I think it is important for the health of a nation to have a diverse economy that includes basic necessities as important as food.

My sympathy is decreasing however as I watch self-interest and coercion take over from rational argument. These tactics are making the agricultural community look greedy instead of the truth which is needy. One of the advantages of environmental taxation is that it COULD be used to subsidise the agricultural sector.

Our job is not to ask for less taxation but to ask, no urge, that the revenue be spent on assisting an essential industry that has been suffering recently. Excuse the pun, but I have no truck with this protest and I fear for the future of our industry if government feels the industry has too much hold over the country.
Dr. Roger Humphry, Agricultural Scientist
r.humphry@newscientist.net

Burning fuel causes global warming
Fine, carry on protesting. But please dont be the one who complains when homes, farms, roads and schools are flooded, land is lost to sea level rise, crops are threatened by new pests and livestock suffer heat stress and disease.

Climate change is already happening, and burning oil is a massive contributor. Fuel taxes help to pay for measures which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Everybody thinks someone should do something about climate change.

Nobody thinks that someone is them.
Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, agriculture policy officer, RSPB
susan.armstrong-brown@rspb.org.uk

NFU should learn from protests

The NFU should have learned by now that the softly, softly approach does not have any impact on the actions of this anti-farming/countryside government. Sadly doing NOTHING is not an option for the future of our industry
Robert Graham, Northumberland dairy/arable farmer
robertgraham@farmersweekly.net

Yes Yes Yes!
[The protests should continue] for as long as it takes. Blair should be made to realise the people who had the power to make him also have the power to break him.

Short term hindrance for long term gain.
James Williams
james@muddyplox.freeserve.co.uk

Protests are self-centred
A self-centered and short term response which bodes ill for any hope of reconciliation. Already supported by the public to an extent not generally made explicit – what right have less than 2% of the population ( farmers) to demand yet more!
eles-cam@dircon.co.uk

Farmers get cheap fuel anyway
I can not understand what the protests have to do with farmers, as we dont pay tax on red diesel, and I fear it has just drawn public attention to this generous position which we enjoy.

I do not think other EU farmers enjoy this benefit, although I stand to be corrected.
Richard Stow
winston1@totalise.co.uk

Protestors deserve support
I would like to register my support for the direct action being taken by farmers and others in related employment against the excessive taxation on fuel.

I hope that the action of these men prepared to stand up and represent us all is recognised by the government.

Well done to those men !!!!
Don Tomkinson
Dontome@btinternet.com

Heart says dump the milk
I am dairy farmer. My bank overdraft says [I should] get milk away in short term. My heart is saying that if I want my family to survive in long term, dump the milk. I will dump the milk happily if this keeps up. Good on you all,
provanprouyh@supanet.com

Point has been made
While I wholly support the action that has been so effectively taken, the support that is presently manifest from 90% of the population will evaporate as quickly as the petrol if disruption continues for more than a few days. I believe that the point has been made and that the Government has been severely jolted. There is an election looming and I, and I hope most others, will leave them in no doubt that my vote will be cast elsewhere unless they take notice and do something to reduce the fuel price.

In the meantime, lobby your MP, MEP and Ministers to take action. We, the people, defeated the poll tax. Let us also democratically ensure that the price of fuel is reduced.
Chris Bailward
cbailward@bigfoot.com

Step up the protests
Yes, continue but more intently
Tom Barron Ltd
Tom.Barron@farmline.com

Ending protests no loss of face
There is every justification for this action but care must be taken not to cut off our noses to spite faces by losing the public confidence there has been until now. People must have their emergency services fully operational, they must have their basic foods and also, extremely importantly, our livestock must be fed and properly cared for.

There would be no loss of face to stop blockades now for the good of the whole country just reminding Mr Blair that action could be taken again if the government does not respond within a time limit.
Rosemary Jones, Carmarthen
trebersed.farm@farmersweekly.net

Continue for another day
We feel another 24 hours of protest are needed to make a point without alienating the public and causing [animal] welfare problems. Blair is probably not going to break but it should have lost him any support for the future.
R. Parker
r.parker@farmersweekly.net

Blair out of step with country
While I can only be concerned about animal welfare issues, it seems that the whole of the country is in support of each other in relation to the fuel crisis. The government and the police seem to be the only people at odds with the rest of us. I think this peaceful protest, which is what it is, should continue until the price of fuel, or the government, comes down.

It is about time this government came to realise the concerns of the rest of the country about the way things are going. Today I had cause to dial 999 for assistance with a seriously injured man we found wandering in the road in a rural area (Cornwall) – no-one answered the telephone !!! Luckily my husband was attending first aid to the poor man, who had apparently fallen a great height from a ladder. The government can no longer even offer us a satisfactory emergency service, in the end the Air Ambulance was called which is of course only funded by donations from the public.

The government seem to be making a huge play of telling us how awful it is that this action may affect the emergency services but in fact they are the only people who have destroyed them. The ordinary member of the public are FULLY in support of this action and happy for it to continue until the government see sense.
Gail Thomas
gailthomas@farmersweekly.net

Giving up is waste of time
The protests should definitely continue. It is only now (Tuesday 12 September) that the government is beginning to see a problem. If [the protestors give up] now then the past week has been a waste of time!

All the delivery drivers that have visited our farm in the last few days have said that the protests are something that needs to happen and they all supported the protesters. Besides, what other choice have we got ? Nothing else we do ever seems to get any reaction.

I wonder what the response would be if the protests had happened just before a general election.
Mburfitt@farming.co.uk

Force conclusion soon
It is better to protest now and force a conclusion as soon as possible while the public agree that prices are too high. Tony Blair has listened at last. I hope he can find a way to reduce fuel prices that is not too embarrassing for him!
hrf1@farmersweekly.net

Government is mean and greedy
So this problem is not the Governments fault, but the fault of OPEC, according to Blair and his friends. Can anybody tell me why our fuel is double that of most other European countries?

We have no electric and have our own diesel generator (not out of choice!!!). Last year at 16p per litre it was costing us 3.20 per day in fuel. At 1168 per year now at 25p per litre it is 5.00 per day .

Thats just the generator. Then theres the tractors and the vehicles. So all in its costing us thousands more per year just because this Government is so mean and greedy. Any farmer who voted Labour at the last election wants his/her ass kicked!!!!
Andrew Hawkins
hawkins@warendrive.fsnet.co.uk

Continue protests despite shortage
Yes, it should continue. I have two days worth of fuel left!
William Fellows
wafellows@parkfarm59.fsnet.co.uk

Back the protestors
We have a 300 beef fattening unit and run plant hire and our own haulage lorry. We total back the protestors all the way. If this country goes down the way it is going there will be no small business left.
GLYNN1302@aol.com

Nothing to lose
Dont give up now. We have nothing to lose.
D. Howes
howesbriggate@farmersweekly.net

NFU should not get involved
The NFU should have nothing to do with this action.
Graham Goodwin
Graham.goodwin@farmline.com

Expand
As a dairy farmer, I am concerned that the milk tanker may not be able to collect my milk, but, if petrol prices keep rising I wont be able to afford to run my car!!

I am prepared to put up with the situation to make this arrogant shower of a Government listen.
Helen Allen
helenallen@farmersweekly.net

Keep them going
Expand. Yes but on a larger scale.
Frank Leeming (Director), Tom Barron Ltd
Tom.Barron@farmline.com

Keen for more action going
I am very keen for this action by farmers, truckers, fishermen and their supporters to continue for about 3 weeks.

There are too many Businesss that are being reduced to ruin by this Urban Government and as a result the Businesss are no longer viable. Tony Blairs Government has no idea about managing a Business, the majority of New Labour MPs are ex Teachers, Social Workers, and of course Barristers, without an iota of business experience in their little heads.

Blair needs to realise that the run up to the next Election will be a winter of discontent. Hopefully this Fuel Blockade will bring Blair to his knees.
John Robins
john@jwfrobins.freeserve.co.uk

What a stupid question!
If we give up now the government will go hell for leather to kill off farming once and for all.

Its absolutely critical that we do not back down until the government realise that we are not a bunch of country yokels on a mission. The nation is behind us on this one – something that we did not fully expect .

Only 18 mths ago petrol was 63p/l. We now pay this much in TAX!! I filled my van up last night, it cost me 49. Over 37 pounds of this was paid to MR BLAIR!!!!!!

We must be mad for putting up with it for so long.
Andrew Cooke, dairy farmer
corkscrewhire@supanet.com