Cynical Tories thought fuel dispute would be their “Thatcher moment”

The Conservative Party has sent out a secret memo to constituency associations revealing the cynical opportunism behind their ramping up of the fuel dispute.

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The Conservative Party has sent out a secret memo to constituency associations revealing the cynical opportunism behind their ramping up of the fuel dispute.

The memo, revealed by Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph today, states:

“This is our Thatcher moment. In order to defeat the coming miners’ strike, she stockpiled coal. When the strike came, she weathered it, and the Labour Party, tarred by the strike, was humiliated. In order to defeat the coming fuel drivers’ strike, we want supplies of petrol stockpiled. Then, if the strike comes, we will weather it, and Labour, in hock to the Unite union, will be blamed.”

Mirror-front-page-MaudeThe revelations come as more details emerge of the tragic story of the woman who suffered 40 per cent burns after decanting petrol in her kitchen – while the stove was on.

A neighbour of Diane Hill told today’s Daily Mirror:

“The first thing I saw was billowing smoke and thought the daughters were having a BBQ and I thought ‘how lovely’.

“Then I realised somebody was alight. She was trying to pull her burning clothes off and the girls were helping her. It was so upsetting seeing how distraught they were.

“Her face was saved thank God but her body was badly burned.”

The paper reports:

Diane went up in flames when heat from her cooker ignited the petrol’s vapour at her home in Acomb, York. She dropped the glass container and it smashed on the floor, splashing fuel on to her clothes and sparking an inferno that consumed her body.

Grace and sister Lauren, 23, desperately tried to put out the blaze as their mother screamed in terror.

Two hours earlier Grace had tweeted that she was running out of petrol and was worried the filling stations would all be empty. It is believed she had gone round to her mum’s to top her tank up.

As the Mirror points out, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude’s advice to stockpile petrol in jerry cans is widely seen by many as the catalyst for the panic that has gripped the nation this week – a panic, the secret Tory memo exposes, induced for cynical political gain to get one over on the Labour Party and Unite, and draw focus from the budget.


See also:

Fuel strike dispute: The view from the driver’s cab 30 Mar 2012


The report adds:

Critics of the government’s handling of the fuel crisis laid into Cabinet minister Mr Maude for urging people to store petrol in jerry cans at home, even though a planned strike by tanker drivers had not even been called.

Diane’s aunt Joan Simpson laid the blame for her niece’s accident at the feet of bungling ministers.

She said: “This whole situation has been handled really badly by the government and this tragic event could have been avoided. The government have got some serious explaining to do. We are all absolutely devastated by this. I’m still waiting for information on Diane.”

Neighbour Mrs Johnston also attacked Mr Maude over his crass comments. She said: “I think it was a bit ill advised. The result was people going potty about getting petrol. I think panic is to blame.”


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