I think April Fool’s Day just came early!

What an unbelievable week in British politics this has been. No matter how much time was allowed, I do not think that, even with the combined efforts of script-writing teams for all the political comedies on UK television, it would have been possible to cook-up such a ludicrous sequence of events as those that the UK has just produced. Following on from the shamefully sensational and populist headlines (but no less disastrous in PR terms) after last week’s Budget, which the Coalition might well have thought they could bury by announcing a minimum unit price for alcohol, it just seems to have been one banana skin after another… Many decades ago, there was an advertising campaign by an insurance company, which used the catch-phrase “we won’t make a drama out of a crisis” …Well, this week, Coalition government ministers (who probably should have all just kept quiet) have managed to turn the first draft of a very un-inspiring school nativity play into a full-blown fuel supply crisis – and all without a single tanker driver missing a single hour of work due to industrial action (that may now never happen). It is, quite literally, incredible. Twelve years ago, we did get to the point where tanker drivers took industrial action; and the problems it caused could quite easily have triggered the downfall of the then Labour Government. Therefore it is understandable that Coalition government ministers wanted to avoid us ever getting to that stage. However, if so, they seem to have conspired with each other to see who could say the most foolish thing and/or trigger the most panic. What was needed was calm words of reassurance that industrial action would only occur if negotiations failed and, even then, there would have to be a strike ballot, the results counted and, if a majority were in favour of action, a date set with at least a week’s notice given. People could and should have been reminded that, in the meantime, there was no shortage of fuel within the supply chain; and that all refineries and tanker drivers were working normally. In summary, there was no reason for anyone to do anything out of the ordinary. Instead of which we got the equivalent of a 3-minute warning of imminent nuclear attack! In an act of gross incompetence, senior government minister Farceness Maude told people that they should immediately go to their nearest petrol station and fill the car up and – as if to guarantee that normal supplies would be immediately depleted by abnormal patterns of behaviour – suggested that people also increase demand by 33% and 50% by filling 20 litre gerry cans to keep in the garage. And so, of course, in a mindless rush, everyone started behaving as if they have just been accepted as a last-minute entrant into the Paris to Dakar rally. OK, so maybe now someone would go on TV and, as well as apologising for Mr Maude’s suggestion that everyone disregard health and safety and start turning their garages into fuel depots, somebody would remind us all that no strike had been called or even a date for a ballot agreed; all refineries and tanker drivers were working normally; and – so long as everyone did not alter their normal behaviour – there should be no interruption to supplies at any fuel station? Instead of which, we were told: “Well, if your passing, why not fill up?” and/or “I suggest you keep your tank at least half full!” …What the f*ck! …Roughly translated, this means “Everyone should visit their nearest fuel station at least twice as often as normal” …Thereby guaranteeing that, even if the amount of fuel bought did not increase, there would be queues of people trying to comply with Government advice. OK, third time lucky, may be? Would someone now go on television and apologise for wrong advice previously given; remind everybody that no date had been set for a ballot let alone an actual strike; and tell people to stop behaving abnormally? No such luck; all we got from politicians was attempts at blame shifting – accusing trade union leaders of behaving irresponsibly – and TV news reporters standing in front of fuel stations with queues; and/or aerial shots of fuel depots with stationary tankers with no drivers in them… Most bizarre of all were vox pop items on the news; including one of some guy in his car – waiting to fill it with fuel – saying the government had manufactured a crisis… Err, hello-oh! What on earth are you doing in your car then you complete imbecile? Even then, when given an opportunity to tell people to stop panic-buying fuel for no good reason, it seems, no-one could quite bring themselves to say just that… Nothing else; no if, but, or may be; no hypothetical scenarios; no need for further qualification – just a simple

“Please will everyone one calm down and stop being irrational!”

It seems like hell might freeze over first!

It seems like hell might freeze over first!

—————- NEWSFLASH – 31/03/2012 1200 hrs GMT: Unequivocal Communication Still Eludes GovernmentBBC News now says Goverment claims there is “no urgent need” to buy fuel but is still telling people they may still want to “top-up” when they can. No, no, no! What is the matter with these PR people? You do not need a full tank of fuel unless you are about to go on a very long journey. Period. Contingency planning for World War Three is not required!”

Advertisements

About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Civil Disorder, Energy Crisis, Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to I think April Fool’s Day just came early!

  1. Amazing! …Words cannot describe the stupidity of some politicians; it seems that all over the world the only ones who choose to go into politics are the useless Dodos who are no good for anything else. Where do they come from; who gave birth to these idiots; and why were they allowed to live? 😦

    Like

    • Rick Altman says:

      At least one of these fools deserves to lose their jobs – 500 years ago they would have probably lost their heads.

      Like

      • Isn’t it odd that all this talk of strike and fuel shortages comes at a time when some are trying to have emergency oil reserves released onto the markets? Perhaps the whole thing is just another propaganda campaign in order to have an excuse to do so. I hear if this doesn’t happen then Obama’s re-election chances are as good as the Pope becoming the Ayatollah of Iran. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/49b267d0-78f2-11e1-88c5-00144feab49a.html#axzz1qh5bI3nN

        Like

      • The Pope dies and, naturally, goes to heaven. He’s met by the reception committee and, after a whirlwind tour is told that he can enjoy any of the myriad recreations available. He decides that he wants to read all of the ancient original text of the Holy Scriptures, and spends the next eon or so learning the languages. After becoming a linguistics master, he sits down in the library and begins to pore over every version of the Bible, working back from the most recent β€œEasy Reading” to the original script. All of a sudden there is a scream in the library. The angels come running to him, only to find the Pope huddled in a chair, crying to himself, and muttering, β€œAn β€˜R’! They left out the β€˜R’”. God takes him aside, offering comfort and asks him what the problem is. After collecting his wits, the Pope sobs again, β€œIt’s the letter β€˜R’… the word was supposed to be CELEBRATE.”

        Like

      • “Annie Wan” can be a translator but I’m sure “Sam Wan” took the job after “Noel Wan” failed to turn up πŸ™‚

        Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        Pope becoming next Ayatollah? Don’t dismiss it out of hand – he is probably a re-incarnation of the Dalai Lama: https://anthropocenereality.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/world-is-warming-pope-is-ex-buddhist/

        Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        Nice one! However, I would be inclined to blame the Chinese translater who could not pronounce it…

        Like

  2. Rick Altman says:

    Apologies for the narcissism but – I very much enjoyed writing this post; and still laugh every time I re-read it.

    Like

    • I was considering writing an April Fools send up, just as well I didn’t. I might have ended up in the kind of trouble “Science 20.com just did, their blog might be worth following for a while at least, goes to show what happens when one doesn’t stick to the facts of a story … http://www.science20.com/hammock_physicist/right_under_our_eyes_nibiru_its_way-88570#comment-104034 The comment by “Obligatus” is awesome, obviously a good looking, charming, intelligent and likeable Aussie with a great sense of humor and fantastic new web site, he could almost be my long lost Siamese brother πŸ™‚ http://obligatus.wordpress.com/

      Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        I’m confused. The article is a joke but, is the complaint from Leider and her attorney part of it too?

        Like

      • No, her and her lawyer are fair dinkum spitting chips over the article, I went over to have a lookie at Nancy’s site and it is full of the most unbelievable croc one could possibly write. I just went back and left a message on Science 2.0 about how it would take 78 odd years for a single message and reply to get into her head and back to the “Zetas” …… I’m hoping to create some sort of a mental storm with her ….. although I’m not sure why Mexican drug lords ( Zetas) would want to talk to her. πŸ™‚

        Like

  3. Lionel A says:

    Hum! Gross incompetence or cynicism? Consider the possibility that the twerps in government were trying to create a crisis out of a drama so as to create ill-will between the general public and tanker drivers. Thus taking a leaf out of Thatcher’s play-book when tackling the NUM in the 1980s. UNITE is a target for any right wing, capitalist zealot – plenty of those in government as all the broken promises show. They are also backing away from their green promises.

    Like

    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Lionel. I read the newspapers over the weekend too; and have therefore sent my Conservative MP this email: Dear [x], With apologies for the colourful language I have used in my blog post yesterday (I think April fool’s Day just came early) – which I would recommend you to read in order to understand the frustration I feel – I wish to protest about what appears to have been an entirely unnecessary panic. If this was indeed the reason for the government’s actions last week (the only other explanation being gross and repeated incompetence), then, despite my continuing support for the Conservative Party, I believe the government deserves to have lost the trust of the 80% of the electorate for such cynical manipulation of the behaviour and thinking of the general public.

      Like

      • Lionel A says:

        I didn’t need to read the newspapers to form my thoughts on this; I’ve been around a long time. That latter also means that I view much content in newspapers as opinion piece drivel; of little value except for poisoning receptive minds. Even in the so called ‘news stories’ (where they are often more stories than news), the media (even the BBC) cannot get the facts straight… For example, there is a big difference between a ‘jerry-can’ (note spelling with a ‘j’) and the common emergency fuel can (EFC) available from motor stores – about four gallons in capacity with a true jerry at about 5 gallons (i.e. >20 litres) and the EFC at 1 gallon (4.5 litres). The BBC failed to note the difference and, since Maude has a boat, he at least should have. As an aside, what weight would 1 gallon of petrol be and why could this vary day to day; or location to location? Hint, it could get heavier as one takes it North.

        Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        Thanks Lionel. Please accept my apologies for assuming you are as dumb as me; and therefore did not see through this political farce. As for the weight (as opposed to mass) of a gallon of petrol varying in space-time (not just altitude?). I will have to think about that..

        Like

  4. Lionel A says:

    Well a gallon of water, at standard pressure and temperature can be said to weigh 10lbs. The SG of fuels such as AVCAT (an aviation kerosene type used by the RN) hovers around 0.78-0.8 depending on temperature so assuming that the SG of petrol is roughly equal to that of AVCAT then that should enable calculation. When fuelling aircraft the tanker (bowser) or ship’s ring main, would deliver in gallons and one would always get the SG for the day so as to convert the amount of fuel put into the aircraft into a measure of weight which would allow the aircraft take-off weight to be calculated. This was a calculation done as a matter of routine on aircraft operating units and, of course, had to be done correctly. As one changed LATITUDE moving north the temperature may drop (not so much these days despite what Richard Lindzen might say) and hence the weight of the fuel would increase. Altitude will of course probably cause a drop in temperature but this will only slowly increase the fuel’s density with much being burned off in the climb. Of course an increase in velocity also causes an increase in mass, but not by much in the velocity regime under discussion. OTOH YMMV πŸ˜‰

    Like

    • What if you live in Southern Canada and go North from there πŸ™‚ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/05/070511-weird-gravity.html

      Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        And it would get lighter if you were starting out from the Antarctic – fancy you not saying that!

        Like

      • Wellllll .. I thought about it but a US gallon is smaller than other gallons. A US gallon = about 3.8 Litres while an Australian gallon = 4.55 Litres 1 Kg = 2.2 Lbs so that an Aussie Jerry Can would have weighted 10.1 Lbs, BUT ….by the time one gets from Antarctica to say ..Florida (American soil) one can dump .75 of a liter and still end up with a gallon (American) meaning that the Jerry can would have weighed 8.36 Lbs on a warm American summer night also as you well know, Holden cars have been known to “Fly” from Melbourne to Sydney, “Swim” through floods in the outback and “Drive” through a Queensland bush fire so that with an Aussie long range fuel tank one can make it half way around the world without so much as a refill and ……… πŸ™‚

        Like

      • Lionel A says:

        Well of course masses of rock can behave like a fluid – over time, as the sinking and spreading of the Tibetan Plateau demonstrates. Glass also is a fluid, very old panes of glass have thickened at the bottom as the upper portion has thinned. Isn’t material study fascinating.

        Like

    • Rick Altman says:

      I must confess I had to look up YMMV.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s