Sunday, April 01, 2012

PR men who are incompetent, or men who are incompetent at PR?

This comment at Inspector Gadget makes a lot of sense, and makes the various efforts by the Tories to convince their base (and themselves) that It's The Miners All Over Again look even sillier.

I spoke to the owner of my local garage earlier today. He has 8 pumps on the forecourt, “as a rule” his underground storage is around 33% full, he orders a tanker delivery when it hits 10% full. If he were to completely fill his underground storage he estimates he would have 2 weeks supply at normal rates of consumption…. to do so would cost him nearly £250,000, which, unsurprisingly given the 2.12% profit margin on fuel, he doesn’t have on hand.

The problem is that "stockpiling fuel" at petrol stations isn't a thing, because there is more storage capacity in cars than there is in petrol stations. Further, stockpiling it in cars isn't much of a thing either, because most people drive them and you have to give 7 days' notice of a strike. Put it another way - fill up all the petrol stations to capacity, and by the time the strike goes into effect, half of it will be gone. Therefore, you need only a week's strike to get them dry - assuming no panic buying, which as we have seen is an unrealistic assumption, and also assuming evenly distributed disruption, which is crazily impossible.

The unavoidable conclusion is that the "private message" talking points handed out to be leaked are an exercise in whistling in the dark. As a result, I find this story hard to believe. It just seems to fit better in reality that Francis Maude did a bit of daft freelancing, No.10 spin doctors went with the cosplay David Hart story in an attempt to save the furniture, and then the fogey-right half of the Tories briefed this tale in pursuit of their beefs with David Cameron, than that they really are that flaky.

I mean, if they were, what would that say about us? (Mind you, this is the earliest case of "it's like the miners all over again" I can find, from the 28th of March. But that's Maude again, so it would also be consistent with The Most Able Man in the Cabinet having an idea.)

Also, calm down, jamiesphere.

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