UK govt. fuel panic a ‘political game’
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has accused the coalition government of deliberately inciting fuel panic-buying to distract attentions from the current anti-Tory headlines over the cash-for-access scandal.
Labour chancellor stressed that some of the British people have paid a "very, very high price" following the government’s false advice, calling on people to store fuel in their homes to tackle the impacts of the threatened tanker strike.
The petrol panic that was provoked by the government took its first victim on Friday, despite Fire Brigades’ Union’s rising calls on the government to withdraw its dangerous advice, as it could massively increase fire and explosion risks.
A woman named as Dianne Hill suffered 40 percent burns to her body while she was transferring the petrol, she was told to keep at home, between canisters in her kitchen.
Balls insisted that the Tory-led government had been playing "political games" in recent days.
"I think the prime minister woke up on Monday morning and thought 'I've got the worst weekend I've had in government', because of the Tory donation scandal after a Budget which had been judged by the country to be deeply unfair, and he thought 'Why don't I try to divert attention?" he said.
Senior Conservative politicians, including Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, were revealed to have close links with multi-millionaire Tory donors and that they accepted large amount of money in exchange for giving the donors access to government.
David Cameron and his ministers suddenly decided to discuss about a strike which was not even called, Balls also said. The PM sent out “his Cabinet minister to say 'fill up your jerry cans' and we've ended up with these queues, even though there's normal petrol deliveries, there's no strike, there has to be seven days' notice even if there was a strike.”
Francis Maude has come at the center of political storm for advising the drivers to fill their jerry cans with fuel and store them in their garages.
"It was a political invention, the panic of the last couple of days, and the nation and some people are paying a very, very heavy price for that.
"I think it's backfired because I think people have generally seen that these are schoolboy political games being played by people who should be doing responsible jobs," Balls added.