End of the road

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The Independent Online

So, the great fuel uprising of the year 2000 appears to be on the wane. Only 400 foot-soldiers were prepared to abandon their trucks and tractors to march on Hyde Park yesterday in support of the grandly named People's Fuel Lobby. And ultimately, the only thing they ended up demonstrating was the shrinking public enthusiasm for their dubious cause.

So, the great fuel uprising of the year 2000 appears to be on the wane. Only 400 foot-soldiers were prepared to abandon their trucks and tractors to march on Hyde Park yesterday in support of the grandly named People's Fuel Lobby. And ultimately, the only thing they ended up demonstrating was the shrinking public enthusiasm for their dubious cause.

Their leaders' tactics, so perfect during early skirmishes, were so flawed second time around; clearly Mr Handley and his chums are not students of von Clausewitz. Having given their enemies in Whitehall time to prepare for their assault, they were routed as easily as their rebellious predecessors under the Duke of Monmouth.

They may have lost this battle but they can still, sadly, claim a triumph in their war. For the Government prised away support for the insurgents only by doling out cash and tax concessions. If the protesters had had more wit, they would have declared an early victory. Instead they can be vilified as insensitive bullies, impervious to the battered state of Britain in the wake of floods and railway chaos, and left to rage impotently against the media and police. Now they must forget their Wat Tyler fantasies and return to their depots.

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