Just wanted to post a quick blog about the petrol crisis that has been developing in this country over the last few days. The whole situation started a few days ago when it seemed like a petrol tanker drivers strike was inevitable. Cabinet minister Francis Maude publicly advised people to “fill up a jerry can” of fuel as a back up and the result of this is that people have gone nuts, causing a fuel shortage in certain areas.
This was a particularly silly thing for Maude to say in retrospect. I want that to be made clear before people say that I am unable to bash a member of the government. He made a mistake – there is no two ways about it. However, I feel in this case it is quite possible if he said nothing, then if there was a crisis later on as a result of a strike – he and the government would have been heavily bashed then. It is a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. I personally feel a more sensible idea would have been for the government to say that there is a possibility of a strike but there is no need to panic. Granted, in this day and age of sensationalist politics, such a statement may not have been possible (or may have been altered by the media to fit their agenda) but overall I think that would have been better.
Petrol stations have now been rammed pretty solidly for the last 2/3 days of people panicking. This is a slight over-reaction but it was bound to happen. A member of the New Labour government, last time there was discussions of a fuel tanker driver strike, not to panic buy and people still did. Collectively, people are going to panic about something like this. A person as an individual may be clever but collectively people are stupid. Anyway, I’ve witnessed a number of areas where it has been unsafe to drive because people have been joining queues. This is a direct result of what Maude said and for that, he should take some blame. In fact I will not retract what I have said to people when I have previously discussed this – I am quite surprised that Maude did not get sacked. However, the row over Maude and his future as a minister intensified after a news story broke today.
“A woman accidentally set fire to herself attempting to store petrol in her home amid fears of a national fuel shortage because of threatened strikes.
The woman, named locally as Diane Hill, 46, suffered 40% burns after the petrol caught fire in the kitchen of her home in York last night, fire-fighters said.
She was attempting to decant the fuel from one container to another using a jug.” (Sky News)
When I heard this story this morning I thought “oh dear” and wondered how it happened. I also wondered why she was doing it in the kitchen and wondered how smart of a move that was. A Labour Peer has come out and said as a direct result of this, Maude should resign/get sacked as he is to blame for this woman getting burned. It is a fairly weak, bordering on pathetic suggestion. Yes, Francis Maude suggested you get extra fuel if you can. He said to get a jerry can and keep it in the boot of the car. As I understand it, most people carry a little tank (metal or plastic) of petrol in the boot of their car anyway in case of an emergency. A government spokesman has since said that Maude may not have realised how big a jerry can was (I now understand a jerry can to be 20l, whereas some people may keep 1/2/5l in the back of their car). Maude sparked people rushing to petrol stations in my view which is bad. I don’t think he can be blamed however for someone choosing to decant petrol in their own home. But hold on a second. Petrol doesn’t just set on fire by itself. So, how did this fire start?
Sky's North of England correspondent Gerard Tubb, in York, said: "Ms Hill was tipping petrol from a plastic petrol container for which she did not have a spout into the jug because her daughter, in her late teens or early 20s, needed petrol for her car.
"The vapour from the petrol in the open-topped jug was ignited by the gas cooker which was on.”
....she had a naked flame in her kitchen while she was decanting fuel from a plastic petrol container into an open jug. How is this Francis Maude’s fault? The woman in question, Ms Hill, is entirely to blame here. I will be blunt with this, but she is a fucking moron.
1. Why was she decanting petrol in her kitchen?
2. Why was she decanting petrol into an open top jug (rather than a more suitable container)
3. Why did her daughter, who she was giving the petrol to, need the petrol that badly?
4. WHY DID SHE DECANT PETROL INTO AN OPEN CONTAINER WHEN THERE WAS A NAKED FLAME IN THE SAME ROOM?!
These are all things which place the blame squarely at the feet of Ms Hill in this scenario. Yes, the fact she suffered 40% burns is a sad story. But this story would fit in perfectly as an honourable mention in the Darwin Awards (which if you don’t know what they are...look them up!) People who are blaming Francis Maude for this woman not knowing that petroleum is flammable are simply anti-Tory, or against this coalition government. The suggestion that Maude should resign because this woman is a moron is laughable.
By the way, the potential petrol tanker drivers strike has been delayed. Return to your homes people, there is no crisis!