Today Francis Maude has, without any evidence to support his statement, made a frankly unnecessary and inflammatory claim, that a tanker strike will put lives at risk. Just whose lives will be put at risk? How many? Why?
I presume – though he clarified his statement only a little – that he is primarily suggesting emergency services may not have the fuel required, and that care workers, nurses, doctors, and the like, will be unable to get to their respective places of work. This may even sound reasonable, and whilst yes, there may be some risk involved, is this any different to a foot of snowfall overnight? Actually, yes it is. We can can prepare for a tanker strike with a (required) weeks notice much more easily. This is plenty of time to ensure essential services (emergency services) have stockpiled what is required, military personnel can be prepared to limit the impact of the strike (a very positive step by the government), and people doing critical jobs, will have plenty of time to prepare.
I have to be honest, I have not seen the death rates for the periods in 2000 and 2005 when previous fuel protests were occurring, so I can not compare these to equivalent periods (excluding times with other significant factors affecting death rates) when access to fuel was not restricted, but has Maude? Has he observed an increase in death rates that can be attributed to the fuel protests/tanker strikes for these periods? If not, his claims are spurious, and risk not only provoking the panic buying the government is trying to avoid*, but inflaming the obviously highly strained relations between Unite and the government, increasing the probability of a strike in the first place.
Francis Maude: Show me your evidence, or shut your mouth.
*Maude also suggests storing a little extra in a jerry can, and topping your car up with a bit more than usual.