6 November 2000
Fuel protest – have your say
Short, sharp – and in London
I have spent most of my life working in African countries and the present govt acts more and more like the governments over there. Isnt the best form of government to be seen and not heard?
As in African
Mr B and Co cannot be allowed to get away with the spin.
We cant afford another protest
No one – and I mean no one – is happy about the way this excuse for a country is run, but if the threatened protest goes ahead (again) people will suffer.
There are so many small businesspersons like myself out there who simply cannot afford a repeat of Septembers crisis.
I will never regain the money I lost through the actions of others, but I willingly accept that as I was on their side and am relatively grateful that someone has stood up to the corruption which is our government..
However, an election is not so far away and we have all made ourselves heard. Our present government is made up of hard-nosed individuals who must go – and they will, but to damage the massive amount of small retailers like myself this side of Christmas is unthinkable – the consequences are huge and I for one am worried sick.
Please take it out on those responsible and be responsible yourselves – its like me blockading a farm for a week or so and expecting them to like it or lump it.
Keep it up
Its time to stop
Dump sheep on the streets
If the government want to impound the tools of the protesters i.e their lorries and licences, then let them impound the sheep and then find a farmer to look after them and feed them.
This way they may find that there is actually a difference between sheep and people.
All the best to any action you should decide on. Many people out here are still rooting for you.
Theyre not listening
Government should respond to oil market
Give it the full 60 days
I also think that rather than one concentrated effort, the tactic should be a steady stream of actions. None so big as to discomfort the public – because they will be our greatest ally – but sufficient to keep the protest in the publics awareness.
This should continue right up to the General Election if necessary.
The point we should keep hammering home is the difference in price that we have to pay compared with other Europeans. It is also worth pointing out that in the USA – which is enjoying very prosperous times – fuel prices are lower still.
Dont let us get involved with politics, just keep hammering home the price discrepancies and the effect these are having on UK plc.
Wait until later
Will it have public support?
Initailly I think everyone should wait and discuss the problem and then hit them hard with possibly something else – a lorry drivers or hauliers strike, possibly at the start of the new year when all stocks are low.
Whatever action is taken, it must be at least as effective and hopefully better than the last very good protest.
Think tactics – is the time right?
I think that in the present circumstances we must wait to see what is announced in the budget statement next week. If that is not acceptable I do not believe an imediate blockade is desirable if only to show how reasonable we (farmers) all are.
The press then need to see us offer further negociation.
This will inevitably fail, at which point resonable and patient men will be seen taking direct action on the week
In September the action was for just long enough and I would not want to see a new period of direct action extented.
From a PR point of view, any action must not have an adverse effect over Christmas and the New year.
I do not believe the public will back disruption over this period. There must be no action after the end of
Mid January/February (weather conditions permtting) is the next available window for action. Action during a hard winter will not gain public backing.
Sadly I cannot condone any action that will break our disgraceful laws which prevent public protest.
Every time a minister says “do not panic”, more rush out to the pumps. If another protest occurs, I will support it not because I am a farmer, but because I believe it is wrong to highly tax what is now an essential item.
Indirect taxes must be targeted at things people can easily do without. Everone is affected directly or indirectly by the price of fuel.
Well done, Handley
We know that the last fuel blockades were inconvenient, but the majority of drivers interviewed in the media agreed with the action.
Where are they now?
It affects all of us still, or do these people only give support if it is the fashion of the week?
Over the past weeks, I have taken more of an interest in the cause and feel that the present true picture is bigger than members of the public or I realised.
The time is right for some common-sense management of this country and action from all vehicle owners who feel they are paying too much tax on fuel, rather than just letting the few do the hard work for the benefit of the rest.
All opinions should be acted on that is the reason we have a Government.
If you think that fuel prices are even 1ppl too high, you should support the cause in London.
I hope to see a lot more than just farmers and lorry-drivers at the rally on 14 , 2000.
Ruining my business
Listen to the people
Leave it to the ballot box
The issue should be left to the ballot box in the next year or so.
Put up income tax
Perhaps you should raise income tax to help pay for it.
I say that because, as I am not making any money out of haulage, it will not affect me.
If the French can do it, why can;t we?
How do they do it ?
Yes, lets protest before Gordon Brown puts us all out of business.
Blockades could be hijacked
If the government fails to respond by not redirecting some of the fuel tax into enhanced rural infrastructure (I do not believe a large across-the-board tax cut is necessary), it will have a serious shock at the next election.
Disgusted at the government
I am absolutely disgusted with this governments treatment of British farmers.
Not once have they received any support, and the media are just as bad, turning public opinion against farmers at every opportunity.
I am in full agreement with the fuel protest; it frightened Mr Blair and I think it should be done again. Something has to be done, and last time it was very effective.
I do agree with the view that the convoy/march should wait until the 60th day and also that any demonstration should be peaceful.
It would play right into the governments hands if things were to get violent and also, any other so-called protestors from other groups should be sent packing because they are only there to cause trouble.
Another point is, have we still got the NFU? They have been very quiet at a time when they should be one of the loudest voices, quite frankly Im not impressed.
Time and time again I have said there should be one face that the public can associate with speaking for farmers and every time there is yet another damming article against British agriculture this person should be next putting forward the truth.
I have written numerous letters to my local MP and asked them to be passed on to Mr Blair and Nick Brown.
Nick Brown did respond with three pages of waffle, but Im still waiting for Tony Blair to come up with some answers.
I am proud to work in agriculture and am presently studying part time for an MSc at Harper Adams University so that I can hopefully put something back into the industry that has given me a way of life that I enjoy.
Keep clear – remember our subsidies
Dont risk losing public support
However, as much as I support the fuel protests, I think great care needs to be taken that public support is not lost.
With the loss of public support, there will be a loss of power from the protestors, giving the government a greater advantage than the one they already hold.
Watch out for divide-and-rule tactics
In 1997 they came into power with big ideas and plenty of promises, most of this over-ambitious programme proving impossible to achieve.
The Government have proved that they know nothing about farming or the complex and surprisingly delicate infrastructure of the countryside.
Not only have they let us all down badly, but they continue to kick us in the teeth.
The farming lobby has at its fingertips the power and the will to teach this government some respect, or it has the power to bring them crashing down.
As I write, hauliers, farmers and countryside protesters are already making preparations for another blockade unless the Government bows to their call for a cut in duty on fuel.
But Mr Brown, instead, is considering targeted concessions for hauliers, farmers and rural motorists, hoping that these will make it more difficult forprotesters to gain the backing of the public for a re-run of the blockades of last month.
Mr Brown,we are told, has set his face against a blanket reduction in petrol and diesel duty, but is considering ways of cutting the high cost of motoring for people in country areas where fuel can be 20ppl dearer than in towns.
Drivers in qualifying areas in the Highlands, mid-Wales and remote areas of England could pay 45 instead of the 155 road fund licence for cars over 1200cc under proposals being studied in the Treasury.
The main problem with the proposal is that it will divide urban and rural people still further, setting town against country.
in a Machiavellian way, is this what the Government want as it will assist in the total disempowerment of the countryside lobby?
Blairs argument that fuel tax is linked directly to the NHS, old age pensions and education is completely specious and spurious. In fact, a downright lie.
Fuel tax and these services are not index-linked. A separate budget exists for the NHS; pensions are linked to National Insurance, and education has its own departmental budget.
In fact, fuel tax rises (although governed by the price of crude oil) represent considerable “windfalls” to the Chancellor and go straight into his “war chest”.
This governments wild and unfounded claims fool nobody of any intelligence and will prove to be their downfall.
The argument that lowering the rate of fuel tax will cause increased inflation and interest rates is simplistic and naive.
It is the high price of fuel which drives the price of everything else up, all goods and services dependent on fuel and an obvious “knock-on” effect to small businesses, industry, manufacturing and supply.
Neither side will back down. The evidence of the angry, bad tempered and abusive conflict between the Government and the people of this Ccountry, encapsulated and paraphrased clearly on Wednesdays Newsnight, demonstrates clearly that the conflict can only end in one way: It is in the nature of our Constitution that In a conflict between government and the people, the people will win every time.
I moot that by 6 December, instead of the State Opening of Parliament by the Queen, we will see this government being dissolved and a winter General Election called.
So in answer to “have your say”, Should there be another round of fuel protests – or has the point been made?
I say, Yes; the fuel protests should continue until the Government either gives in or is forced to resign.