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30 May 2008updated 12 Oct 2023 9:47am

Who to back in the European championships?

By Paul Evans

Driving me crazy?
Small hauliers took direct action this week to protest at the rising fiscal burden, which some say will soon force them out of business. Perhaps predictably, John Redwood railed against fuel taxes and Vehicle Exercise Duty. He reckoned that this week’s protests would be a wake-up call, writing:

“…it is likely the government will come to understand finally that it has driven the motorist into sullen hostility to all this government does and stands for.”

Lib Dem candidate Mike Bell was also stirred, but from a rather different ideological starting point.

“When you take into account the fact that oil companies have continued to make enormous profits running into billions of pounds and the Government continues to take around 60% of the at the pump price in tax – it is difficult to see how such continued pressure on motorists can be justified.”

How was the government to balance its environmental agenda with the need to obviate PR disaster? Darling implied that they might manage it by performing a now customary u-turn, and Mad Ranter speculated about how minister and consultant arrive at such decisions:

M: “They’ll call it a U-turn, I can’t do that”? C: “Remember it’s not official policy. You come out and announce that it was indeed being looked at, but that you’ve decided that in this current economic climate it wouldn’t be the right or fair thing to do. You show that you’ve listened to and understood the ‘people’ and everyone thinks what a nice guy you are.”? M: “Hmmm I don’t know”? C: “And as a bonus everyone will stop grumbling about the current rates of tax and duty because it could have got much worse“?M: “Excellent”

Finding themselves on the wrong side of public ire, greens kept largely quiet. But Green Party principal speaker Derek Wall used his blog to dissemninate comments first made in the Morning Star, in which he said that:

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“The government should get rid of the road tax and introduce transport taxation that is linked to fuel usage to encourage responsible driving.”

HMS Telegraph: A Hate Story

Perpetually furious right-winger and director of “Marxist gay cinema” Richard “Dicky” Barnbrook has been causing waves again this week, with a blog hosted by My Telegraph. An early post entitled Blame the Immigrants prompted Pickled Politics’ Sunny Hundal to ponder: “I wonder how long it’ll take before the idiot says something beyond the pale and the Torygraph takes it down.”

But noting the Guardian’s reporting of the furore, Neil over at Harry’s Place found himself choking on a pungent miasma of hypocrisy:

The Guardian apparently has no moral objections to propagating the views of far right sectarians, as it actively solicits pieces by Muslim Brotherhood supporters such as Faisal Bodi, Anas Altikriti, Ismail Patel and Soumaya Ghannoushi. They even publish, on a regular basis, work by Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas’ “Special Envoy“ and wannabe suicide bomber.”

What have we learned this week?

That Donal Blaney’s suffocating misanthropy prevents him from being funny even when liveblogging Eurovision. For more astute comment, have a squiz at this enigmatic blog.

Across the Pond

The States have been febrile with rumour that Hillary Clinton is soon to concede in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Melissa McEwan was concerned with purile sexism directed at the candidates. She railed:

“…we’ve mostly failed utterly to defend Clinton, and an alarming number of supposed progressives joined in the “fun” and piled on, so instead of sweeping into the general on a cresting wave of misogyny-busting awesomeness, we’re shuffling in with most of our swords dulled by wanton hypocrisy.”

The New Statesman’s man in DC, Andrew Stephen, felt much the same.

Video of the Week

Our United Kingdom faces a dilemma. The home nations have failed to qualify for the European Championships, and we must lend our support to a football team from foreign lands. Here, Lib Dem MP Lembit Öpik gives an impassioned plea for Brits to back Romania.

Quote of the Week

“I should say that I give less than a single small hair on the carcass of a dead animal who wins the Eurovision Song Contest; and I have no idea whether Russia’s entry this year was or wasn’t a worthy winner. We watched about half a dozen of the songs in the middle of the programme, laughed, laughed again, laughed again, and then turned to better things.”

Normblog, loftily dismissive of Eurovision.