Making tracks

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The Independent Online

Tankers roll, sort of. The arguments about direct action, its place in our supposedly sophisticated democracy, and what it says about the management style of New Labour will, of course, roll on, too. Down here in the Third Leader Department, though, we are already infected with a nostalgie de la queue. Say what you like, but nothing can beat a bit of hardship when it comes to drawing people together.

Tankers roll, sort of. The arguments about direct action, its place in our supposedly sophisticated democracy, and what it says about the management style of New Labour will, of course, roll on, too. Down here in the Third Leader Department, though, we are already infected with a nostalgie de la queue. Say what you like, but nothing can beat a bit of hardship when it comes to drawing people together.

To share a forecourt through these long watches, to laugh together at a fate that could introduce that scrawled "No Unleaded" sign at any moment, is to forge bonds that will not lightly be severed. It's also much more exciting than doing the lottery.

There are other consolations to be found, although we cannot possibly condone the sudden flurry of cancelled visits to aunts and dentists. And then, away from the protests, there are the strangely empty roads. Have you been bowling along, discovering the carefree joys your parents have told you about? Or are you with the prudent, carefully conserving that nearly full tank, shaking your head as others go tootling by? There has not been such a clear-cut division since the wise and foolish virgins faced their oil crisis. Something to think on, in the queue.

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