Milking the cattle.

I’ve been struggling a bit with Panoptica but I know why. I’d been writing one character as oppressed and downtrodden, but he isn’t. Well, he is, he’s completely under the State thumb but he does not see himself as oppressed. He is happy in his woolly way, content to let the State monitor his every move and control his entire life, because he thinks it makes him safe.

It does. Safe from everyone but the State. Which, as he finds, is the most terrible enemy of all.

So I’m redoing that part.

I should have started this a long, long time ago. Things in the real world are accelerating so fast it’s hard to keep ahead. We haven’t even had the pretend consultation on plain packaging for cigarettes and they are already talking about plain packaging for booze. They don’t have their minimum price for alcohol in place yet and they are already discussing increasing it.

Then we have a State-engineered panic on petrol. There are people buying every drop of fuel from every garage because of a tanker drivers’ strike which has not happened, might not happen and even if it does, the RAF are training to take over. There are people buying petrol cans, and not those little one-gallon plastic ones I used to use to fill my lawnmower. No, they are buying the sort of cans you see bolted to the sides of military vehicles. Not just one each, either. They’ll all have enough for two full tanks of petrol, not counting the full tank in their car.

Why? Well, because the government is telling them to panic-buy. Is this deliberate? What could the government gain? Apart from a massive injection of duty and VAT, that is.

Every time the price of tobacco goes up, more of us buy it overseas. Every time the price of booze goes up, more of us take to brewing our own or buy it overseas. So the duty per pack/bottle goes up but the tax income the government sees does not rise, and sometimes even goes down.

If they engineer a tobacco shortage, we’ll all say ‘So what? We aren’t buying it from you anyway’. Engineer a booze shortage and out come the plastic buckets and the demijohns.

With petrol it’s different. You can’t really have an oil well in your garden and a refinery in your shed so you can’t make your own (other than those who have converted their diesels to run on used cooking oil). You can’t really get it abroad, even if you live near a port. It’s not like nipping from Germany into France, because we have a sea in the way. Once you add up the cost of ferrying the car to the overseas garage and back again, you aren’t likely to have saved anything.

So unlike the smokers and drinkers, drivers are a captive market. If the government fancy grabbing a load of cash, all they need to do is put up the price of petrol and there is no alternative market.

However, there is increasing displeasure at the continually rising price, and an increasing realisation of how much of that price is tax. Ozzy can’t push the tax too far at the moment.

Instead, he has everyone’s house loaded with large containers full of petrol at enormous cost to them and enormous profit to him.

Haven’t Health and Safety piped up on this yet? They will. There will be talk of the risk of explosion, the risk of theft, the risk of spillage, the risk of fumes, the inevitable risk to the cheeeldren and most of all the risk of those people rioting with very large petrol bombs (in plain packaging).

All that stored petrol will become illegal, be confiscated and sold back to the garages to be sold back to those same drivers with another round of tax on top.

If you can’t increase the tax, why not tax the same thing twice?

 

18 thoughts on “Milking the cattle.

  1. Tax the same thing twice? Well we already pay VAT on the fuel duty too. Although quite what Value is Added by the fuel duty is beyond me.

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  2. It’s gotta be diversionary, and/or possibly a money-grab. What if the price of fuel will come down in a few days/weeks? What if someone knew that. The gov’t needs more and more of money, so trick the bleating sheep into stockpiling expensive petrol… voila!

    It’s thin. Maybe too thin.

    A more likely explanation is that everyone in government is a fucking moron. I’m going with this one.

    Don’t worry, Leg-Iron. There, there. It will be OK. Soon, they will come to treat our skepticism of climate change or anything that Big Gov’t views as a threat to their money-making schemes as a disease:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/30/climate_scepticism_racism_slavery_treatment/

    And Panoptica will be every bit as real as you hoped it wouldn’t be… Wait, it’s already real, isn’t it? Which is why I just started my own blog, because I can’t keep using yours and others’ to view. There’s just too much bullshit going on and not enough of us to even catalogue it, let alone fight it.

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  3. XX All that stored petrol will become illegal, be confiscated and sold back to the garages to be sold back to those same drivers with another round of tax on top.XX
    You are too late. It is already illegal to store over a certain amount of petrol. Or to carry more than that as “spare” in a motor conveyance.
    Here;
    Storage of fuel at home or the workplace (unless specifically licensed) is restricted by law to either metal containers with a maximum capacity of 10 litres or approved plastic containers of a maximum 5 litres capacity. These containers should be designed for the purpose and must be fitted with a screw cap or closure to prevent leakage of liquid or vapour.
    Petrol and diesel fuel should be stored in no more than two 10 litre metal containers or two 5 litre plastic containers. They should be clearly labeled as to their contents.
    Petrol filling stations operate under license conditions, which do not allow drivers to dispense fuel into other types of container.
    At home, fuel containers must not be stored in living accommodation such as kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms or under staircases. Any storage place should be well away from living areas in case of fire and it should be secured, to protect against the possibility of vandalism or arson.
    http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/fuel-storage

    Motorists warned against stockpiling fuel to beat shortages
    With the threat of another petrol strike looming this weekend – and with many petrol stations not expecting fuel deliveries until Thursday or Friday this week – council trading standards chiefs are today warning motorists not to panic and stockpile petrol to see them though any shortages at the pumps.
    LACORS, which coordinates council trading standard work across the UK, wants motorists to be aware of the rules around storing petrol so they don’t inadvertently break the law.
    The storage of petrol is licensed and regulated by council trading standards services and strict
    limits are in place about how much petrol can be stored and where.
    • In a building attached to a home or public place, it is illegal to store more than 20 litres of petrol. This must be stored in 10 litre metal petrol containers.
    • If plastic containers are used, no more than 10 litres can be stored in 5 litre petrol containers.
    • The containers used must be specifically designed to store petrol in and be marked PETROLEUM AND HIGHLY FLAMMABLE.
    Filling your tank from a container should only be carried out in the open air, LACORS advises. Store any containers in a garage or shed away from any other buildings and don’t keep it in the house. Make sure the area is well ventilated and away from any naked flame or live electrical equipment.
    Cllr Geoffrey Theobald OBE, chairman of LACORS, said:
    “Many people will be anxious about potential fuel shortages, but storing fuel in anticipation of further problems is highly dangerous and potentially illegal. The storage of petrol is strictly regulated because it is a very dangerous highly flammable substance. I would strongly urge motorists not to panic and risk the safety of themselves and their families by storing fuel illegally.”
    Illegal storage of petrol is punishable under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by imprisonment for up to two years and an unlimited fine.
    Any petrol that is stored must not be for resale but only be intended for refuelling purposes.
    http://www.lacors.gov.uk/lacors/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?id=19597

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  4. “You can’t really get it abroad, even if you live near a port. It’s not like nipping from Germany into France, because we have a sea in the way. Once you add up the cost of ferrying the car to the overseas garage and back again, you aren’t likely to have saved anything.”

    You could always get together with a few mates, hire a road tanker, nip across to Russia to pick up 20,000 litres at $ 0.73 (46p) a litre and bring it back. Not sure what UKBA would have to say, mind you! :¬))

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      • Don’t think the E.U will save you. Try bringing more than five liters of petrol into Germany from Poland.

        And German customs are STILL confiscating, and prosecuting “tobacco smugglers” even though all the baccy they find is Polish duty paid!

        Last I looked, BOTH still E.U members.

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  5. When I recently bought Youngest Useless Object a car I made sure I got him a really old style, ‘tractor’ diesel (a surprisingly ‘nippy ‘ Peugeot 106 btw). Most weeks one or other of the supermarkets will do cooking oil at ₤1 a litre.

    Mixed with a bit of ‘real’ diesel for the cleaning additives and cold starting it works fine. Infact it works so well that my next automatic diesel will be as old as possible.

    On that note Leggy, don’t ciggy butt contain loads of oil and tar? Is there anyway of extracting it from them?…can you imagine 1.the saving and 2. the reaction of the Self Righteous?

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    • I think the cost of extracting the tiny bit from the filter would be far more than the fuel you’d get. There’s nowhere near as much tar as the bubble-wrap people believe. You get more particulates from the air on the average high street.

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        • Yep. Not only that, you can get food that’s burnt on the outside and raw (and bacteria-laden) inside. If the bacteria don’t get you, the carcinogens in the burnt layer might catch you later.

          I was actually at a barbecue in a short dry spell last summer, where people moved away from me because I was smoking outdoors. I didn’t eat anything, the ‘chef’ was particularly inexpert, and I didn’t spend the night with stinky fluids coming out of every orifice, as a few did.

          But hey, I scared a few antis, so it was a fun evening. They probably believe SHS gave them the runs.

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