An Opportunity Missed
by Dick Franklin
There has been much in the press about the fall in the price of oil. A number of UK based petroleum companies have announced as a result that they intend to lay off 400 staff (although the total will probably be higher).
I am suggesting that the government should see this fall as an opportunity. During the period of the Cold War, it is not commonly known that the British governments built up strategic stocks of oil. These stocks were kept at various secret locations in the UK and elsewhere. Whether these stocks were enough for any lengthy national emergency is a matter of debate. The amount of strategic stocks was and still is a state secret.
Following the demise of the Iron Curtain, these stocks were run down until now they are very small. I am suggesting that we should use this price fall as an opportunity to build up these stocks again at a bargain price. We should offer to buy a large amount of oil at an enhanced price on condition that the oil companies do not enforce these lay-offs now or in the future.
To do this would be unlawful as “state aid” under EU legislation. So far as I am concerned this is just another reason why we should get out of the European Union at the first opportunity. I would add that buying this additional oil should not just apply to strategic stocks. Large amounts of oil are used by power stations, other utlilities, as well as national and local government and manufacturing industry. Energy companies would be able to reduce their already over-inflated prices, giving us much relief. British Gas has already taken one small step in this direction.
This would also have the benefit of not delivering these 400+ oil employees into the unwelcome embrace of Mr Ian Duncan Smith`s Department Of Work and Pensions, as well as removing any need to apply for Housing or Council Benefit. These workers often do a job which is unpleasant and dirty. And this is the thanks they get. Almighty profit is everything and the workers can go to Hell. As well as the worry and anguish these workers would be spared, the fact that there would be a benefit saving could go towards paying for the enhanced oil price.
This policy would have a negligible effect on world oil prices, so motorists would still be able to buy their cheaper petrol – that is, while this oil price dip lasts. The price will go up again, it always does.
So is there any chance that Cameron and his pals will follow this patriotic policy? It will be a cold day in Hell when they do!
Dick Franklin is Patria Parliamentary Candidate for Bournemouth West