Thursday, 29 March 2012


In many ways watching the growing pasty and petrol related crisis develop over the last few days has been a bit like watching a car accident in slow motion. Cameron's ill-thought out suggestion that everyone top up their tanks provoked a run of fuel and drained petrol stations and all this at least a week in advance of any potential strike by tanker drivers.

Pastygate, as it has been dubbed, which involves the introduction of vat on pies and pasties amongst other things, in the budget last Monday. If it does nothing else has clearly shown most people how entirely cut off from ordinary people this Con Dem government is, despite Cameron's publicly stated love of pasties.

Incidentally for the record while not averse to the odd pasty my personal preference is for oggies. That aside I suspect that this fiasco could partially be put down to the loss of Andy Coulson, who if nothing else may have given Cameron and Osborne a faint understanding of how the rest of us live and think.

If you had thought that it had become slightly surreal when Francis Maude (currently a Cabinet Office Minister) suggested motorists might store petrol at home in "jerry can" as well as topping up their tanks – which no doubt helped to feed the panic buying frenzy in some areas and as you can imagine did not go down particularly well with the Fire Brigade.

No Petrol
Incidentally the Retail Motor Industry Federation said that petrol sales rose by 45% and diesel was up 20% amid talk of a strike bringing disruption to forecourt supplies on Tuesday.

Then the footage of the chancellor struggling to remember when he last bought a pasty from Greggs, or perhaps quite exactly who was this Gregg is or what he does was pretty tortuous. As no doubt will be the argument about whether you can eat them tax free if they're served cold.

Who's Greg?
The chancellors memory problems may pale into insignificance when compared no doubt to Cameron's future loss of memory when it comes to any questions in relation to what exactly you get for a quarter of a million pounds donation to the Conservative Party apart from a place at a dinner (sorry donor) party with the Camerons. Part of the problem with the Pastygate problem is that it shines a light on the current Cabinet which is largely if not exclusively made up from the ranks of the wealthy.

Twenty nine ministers are entitled to attend regular Cabinet meetings, of those some twenty three have investments and assets that are estimated to be personally worth more than £1 million each. Dave and his ilk (including formerly New Labour’s Milliband) can claim to chomp as many pasties as he likes but that chasm is one between the elite and the voters that will never be bridged.

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