Tag Archives: fuel

Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Tory graphic about fuel duty cut is ruthlessly ridiculed online

You may not think it looks too bad.

But the Tory advert doesn’t explain the mechanics of the 5p per litre fuel duty cut, which may not be noticed at the pumps because it will take a while for retailers to finish selling what they bought at the old prices – and by the time the new stuff come on, the wholesale price is likely to have risen again.

Worse, for some, is the apparent amateurishness of the design:

It seems this is one case in which the medium really is the message.

Source: The Tories made a graphic to explain fuel duty cuts and it’s being mercilessly mocked

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DWP is accused of misleading claimants – by TV’s Money Saving Expert

He should know: Martin Lewis has warned that messaging on DWP envelopes urging people to switch energy supplier is WRONG – and the government department couldn’t care less.

The Department for Work and Pensions has been misleading people who claim Winter Fuel Payments, according to ‘Money Saving Expert’ Martin Lewis.

It seems the government department has been putting a message on the back of envelopes, asking recipients “What would you do with an extra £290?”

The message, that went out to people in September this year, went on to say that this was the amount the average consumer saved in 2020 by switching to the cheapest tariff and told recipients to contact Citizens Advice.

But 2020 is now a long time ago.

Wholesale gas prices have risen by 250 per cent since the start of 2021, households cannot save money by switching and in fact, they would lose money because there are no tariffs cheaper than the energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap.

So their best choice is to stick to their supplier’s standard tariff as they would then be protected by Ofgem’s cap until April 2022.

The sticking-point is that the DWP is still sending correspondence with this false information on its envelopes.

It says a batch of 10 million envelopes was created before the rise in energy prices and it would be “impractical, costly and wasteful” to replace them, adding that such a change could jeopardise the department’s ability to make Winter Fuel Payments at all. Oh, and the message is “only a suggestion”.

Strange that the government has huge amounts of cash to waste on any number of commissions from friends of the Conservative Party – no matter how wasteful – but none to spend helping hard-up pensioners save cash (which is exactly the point of the letters inside the envelopes).

And Mr Lewis wasn’t having it at all.

He pointed out that there’s nothing on the envelopes that means they could not be used in the future, when the situation they describe is resumed.

More details are here:

And here: Martin Lewis just called-out the DWP’s ‘dangerous’ actions – The Canary

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Is negative reporting from the right-wing press fueling assaults on Insulate Britain?

Ink today – what tomorrow? This 77-year-old ex-doctor is afraid of what the next member of the public will do to him and/or his colleagues – and papers like the Mail are egging on the attackers.

Yes, it’s annoying when your driving experience is disrupted by people who have superglued themselves to the road to draw attention to life-threatening issues including climate change – but that doesn’t justify assaulting them by throwing ink in their faces.

But here‘s the Daily Heil showing off its worst fascistic tendencies by venerating some music promoter for doing just that.

It seems

Andrew Dutton was filmed calmly walking along the line of the protestors sat in the middle of the road and spraying them with ink as they blocked traffic yesterday.

The 38-year-old from Harlow, Essex, who works with bands and arranges concerts, later told friends he lost his temper after asking the protestors to move from the A40 in North Acton, West London, to allow an emergency vehicle through – only for them to refuse and stay put.

I’m not buying that. Insulate Britain activists have a standing rule to let emergency vehicles through.

As Steve Gower said when This Writer interviewed him,

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

The Mail‘s report shows footage of Dutton assaulting the protesters with the ink – with not a single emergency vehicle in sight. So I have a couple of doubts about the claim made about him (it turns out his friends told the right-wing rag about the alleged ambulance, not him).

The piece is highly supportive of the aggressor. Besides the ambulance allegation, it said his friends had hailed him as a “hero” and the protesters – who want better insulation for social housing, to stop people from dying of the cold in their own homes and to help tackle climate change – as an “eco mob”.

The result is that these people are scared. This tweet, and the embedded video, sums up the situation:

We’ve recently seen footage of a woman who tried to run over Insulate Britain activists in her Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school. Commenters have questioned why he couldn’t walk.

The hypocrisy is palpable. Only days ago, politicians were calling for “respect” and for people to stop fuelling the kind of “hatred” that led to the death of Tory MP Sir David Amess.

After Tory MPs were criticised for letting water companies pump raw human waste into our rivers and other waterways, they whinged – falsely – that they were being attacked with hate speech.

But when people are confronted by someone with a cause to promote, suddenly it’s okay to roll a Range Rover over them or spray ink into their eyes?

That is the message the Mail is putting out.

And the Tories must be delighted because once again, they have succeeded in getting people to squabble with others instead of casting a critical eye over the many faults of our (Tory) government.

The protesters involved are afraid – but they aren’t going to stop because they know people have already died because they lived in badly-insulated homes and they know that it will happen to others if they don’t succeed in prodding the government to act.

The – video – evidence shows they are right to be afraid.

What happens if one of them ends up suffering serious injury? What if, next time, it’s – well, I’m not going to put ideas in the heads of the irresponsible.

Will the reporter who penned the Mail piece turn himself in for possibly having incited it?

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Rush for fuel shows what we think of Tory ministers’ promises


“‘Buy petrol as normal,’ says minister” – according to a BBC News headline.

So of course we all did the exact opposite. Motorists have been queueing at filling stations all day long, topping up their tanks and bringing Jerry cans along to be filled as well.

“Once bitten, twice shy”, as the old adage runs – and we have all been bitten far too many times by our worse-than-useless Tory government.

Remember: the Tories deliberately caused the crisis in fuel by making damned sure that Brexit would create a shortage of lorry drivers.

They have also caused huge problems with the import and export of goods, thereby ensuring that prices would skyrocket and you would not be able to afford them.

What kind of government – of Prime Minister – deliberately engineers the impoverishment of their entire nation?

Boris Johnson’s Tory government – that’s what kind!

I’m only sorry I’m unlikely to be around to see how the history books describe this perfect storm of stupidity in around 100 years’ time.

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Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

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Fuel pump coronavirus rumour is debunked – but users should still take precautions

The Irish Health and Safety Executive has debunked a rumour that the coronavirus is being spread rapidly via fuel pumps – but let’s all remember that we should still take care when using them.

The simple fact is that the pumps at petrol stations are used by many people every day and you don’t know how clean those people are.

So it is advisable to use gloves, or a paper towel that you can put in the bin straight away, wouldn’t you agree?

The Irish Examiner has stated that that country’s HSE has denied a WhatsApp rumour that it had told hospital staff that COVID-19 is being spread rapidly via the pumps at fuel stations.

It said no specific guideline was issued but people should follow advice on the ‘Protect Yourself and Others’ section of its website.

Many service stations there are taking extra precautions, with most providing disposable gloves which can be thrown away after fuelling vehicles. Others are allowing only staff members to pump the petrol.

The rumour has spread to the UK as well, being reported by The Sun and other publications.

The advice is the same: take appropriate precautions and be clean.

Source: HSE debunks WhatsApp rumour linking petrol pumps and Covid-19

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Boris Johnson has fuelled racism in football says Gary Neville after Manchester derby incident

A racist incident at a football derby between Manchester City and Manchester United was fuelled by Boris Johnson’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, according to Gary Neville.

He was speaking on Sky Sports after Man City said the club was “aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures”.

And he said:

He’s absolutely right – and for the reason, I’m going to hand you over the Steve Walker of the Skwawkbox blog who has already put it better than I can:

“Johnson – who has called black people piccaninnies, muslim women … bankrobbers and letterboxes and spoken dismissively of African nations – is a figurehead for racism and racists.

“But he also despises working-class people, hard-working single mothers and their children – and has slashed services and scoffed at those who said he was endangering lives. He can’t open his mouth without lying.

“In short, he has done just about everything that should unite ordinary, decent people against him.”

As far as the football incident is concerned, the BBC tells us “a 41-year-old man has been held on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody”.

Source: Gary Neville blames Boris Johnson for ‘fuelling’ racism in football after Manchester derby incident | The Independent

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Fracking blamed for record-breaking Oklahoma earthquake – and it’s coming to the UK

The effects of fracking make themselves visible in Oklahoma [Image: Lenzy Krehiel-Burton/Reuters].

The effects of fracking make themselves visible in Oklahoma [Image: Lenzy Krehiel-Burton/Reuters].

Here in the UK, we can look forward to all of this.

Fracking is on its way, with the first contracts already signed – thanks to the Conservative Government’s short-sighted, backward-facing environmental and energy policies.

We don’t need to tie ourselves down to fossil fuels in order to power our world any more.

We already have electric cars, and vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

For power generation, we can have micro power generation. Small wind turbines, solar power and gas capture, run by ordinary people rather than huge corporations – and benefiting us immediately as well.

It isn’t pie-in-the-sky. It’s here.

But it won’t make money for Tories so they would rather ruin our environment instead.

Residents of the small Oklahoma town of Pawnee have filed a class-action lawsuit demanding 27 fracking companies pay for the effects of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake. They claim the companies exercised “reckless disregard for public or private safety.”

Property damage, reduced property values and emotional distress resulting from a record-breaking September earthquake are all claimed in the lawsuit, which does not specify any sum total that the 27 fracking companies would pay if found liable, according to the Associated Press.

The class-action suit filed Thursday in district court points to the natural gas extraction method of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which consists of injecting wastewater into the earth, as the cause for not only the major quake, but also 52 subsequent tremblors.

Source: Dozens of fracking companies sued over record-breaking Oklahoma earthquake — RT America

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Tories are trying to face both ways on pricing

150115OsborneVeryEvil

Evil… or perhaps he’s just confused. George Osborne doesn’t seem to know that his government doesn’t try to influence the way private companies set their prices. (But then, he doesn’t seem to know that his own name is really Gideon.)

Michael Meacher’s latest blog article is really amusing if you think about it in relation to the recent Commons vote on energy prices. He writes:

“It’s really rich that Osborne has tweeted: ‘Vital this (drop in the oil price) is passed on to families at petrol pumps, through utility bills and air fares’.

“He’s spent the last 5 years lambasting Labour in support of the Tory free market mantra that the State should get out of the way and leave it all to the markets.

“Now rather pathetically he’s pleading with market operators to show a dose of fair play rather than exploit a windfall for their own interests which is the natural instinct of capitalism.”

It’s doubly rich when you know that almost his entire Parliamentary Party (Osborne himself wasn’t there, for example) voted against a measure that would force private energy companies to pass the benefits of supplier price drops on to customers by cutting prices.

What is Conservative policy on this, exactly?

Note: Mr Meacher also suggests a future Labour government may take at least one of the Big Six energy companies into public ownership. Naysayers may start queuing up now to get their derisory comments published.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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