Diary: Did the PM start a fuel frenzy for no good reason?

 

Now that it has got the nation's motorists queuing in the forecourts, it is important for the Government that other actors in the drama play their allotted roles. The head of the Unite trade union, Len McCluskey, has been cast as the Arthur Scargill of our day, Ed Miliband as the weak leader who takes Unite's money but cannot stop it causing mayhem, and the Daily Mail has added in the "embarrassing" fact that the union official who is handling the tanker drivers' grievances is Diana Holland, the treasurer of the Labour Party.

Ms Holland recently wrote to the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, protesting about the language ministers are using to suggest that Unite is trying to foment a strike, as if the tanker drivers' complaints about health and safety are something new. She gave a long list of government ministers who had been warned over the past two years that trouble was brewing.

The letter thanked Mr Davey for his "helpful recognition of Unite's commitment to ensuring emergency supplies" and asserted: "We want a negotiated solution..."

This raises some interesting questions. What if Unite convinces the independent conciliatory service that the drivers have a case? Suppose the talks succeed and there is no strike. How will ministers explain that to motorists who have queued for petrol and risked burning down their homes by storing it?

Ministers must be praying for Mr McCluskey or someone at Unite to say something resoundingly stupid because, if they don't, David Cameron could come out of this as the Prime Minister who started a fuel frenzy for no good reason.

Keeping morale high

Morale at The Sunday Times has been at an all-time high this week after the superb sting it pulled off against the Conservative Party's now former treasurer, Peter Cruddas, which puts the paper in line for a bouquet of journalism awards. But how can it follow a success like that? Here is a clue. In the last couple of days, every member of the Cabinet has received an email from a Sunday Times journalist putting the following questions:

"When was the last time you consumed a pasty, and where did you purchase it from?"

"Do you prefer to eat your pasty hot or cold?"

"How often would you estimate you eat pasties?"

"What is your favourite flavour of pasty? (for example, cheese and onion, curry, traditional Cornish etc.)"

"How many cars does your garage fit?"

"Do you own a jerry can?"

It should make for a gripping read.

Who is Lord Black of Crossharbour?

Poor old Lord Black of Crossharbour. Not only is the former multimillionaire owner of The Daily Telegraph languishing in a US prison cell – a victim, he says, of injustice – but the US public appears to have forgotten him. Contestants on Jeopardy!, which bills itself as America's favourite quiz show, were asked who Conrad Black is. None knew the answer.

Interpreting efficiencies

The idea of bringing in a private company to run a government service is to make it more efficient. Whether the court interpreter service has improved since January, when the Ministry of Justice outsourced it to Applied Language Solutions, is a matter of dispute.

The East Anglia Daily Times tells the story of a Vietnamese interpreter from Newcastle who got up at 3am to catch the train to Peterborough, where he changed trains to Ipswich to be in South East Suffolk magistrates' court by 10am. The hearing, into the case of Phuong Van Duong, who is accused of producing cannabis, began at 10.43, and was over at 10.51. The interpreter was then free to begin the other half of his 564-mile round trip.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor