By midnight the fuel tax protest looked set to develop into full scale emergency. Scottish fishermen had blockaded the Clyde at Glasgow, the NHS was on red alert, the army was set to move in, then the main organizer in Ellesmere called a halt at 5am.
It was becoming clear that the mainstay of the action was the refusal of the refinery-employed tanker drivers to cross the picket line, then according to a spokesman in Warwick, they were threatened with dismissal. At about 1pm Prime Monster Blair appeared much dishevelled but in priggish mood, bleating about 'difficult decisions' and 'doing the right thing'. It then transpired that the army fuel reserves had been mobilized after all, and then ESSO announced a price increase of 2p per liter for domestic petrol, and 4p on diesel. While the farmers had claimed a moral victory in the early hours, the truckers were not of the same opinion, and it now seems that the action is still on in the Thames estuary at Coryton and Purfleet. If it 'hots up', it may be worth a special report.
A note on yesterday's action in Trafalgar Square. Among the predominantly white truckers were one or two blacks, all celebrating together. Admittedly the slogan 'cheap petrol', sung incongrously to the tune ' ere we go, ere we go' was not the most inspiring, but if truckers have made a step across the racial divide, this is very significant, and tends to contradict hints spread by the BBC.