Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Fuel for thought

So it appears that those fuel protests a few years ago have cost the country two billion pounds per year. Yes, that's us paying for it, thanks to some selfish people who held the country to ransom because they wanted to continue their subsidised destruction of the planet - something they seem to think it is their God-given right to continue to enjoy.

OK, fuel protestors - how should we raise that 2 billion you have cost us? More income tax that we all have to pay? Or how about more VAT, which we can't opt out of either? It seems to me that a fuel tax is as close as we can get to an optional tax that costs the selfish more. Surely this is a tax ideal that we should be encouraging? If people choose to buy 4x4's or use their cars instead of public transport, that's their choice. They should pay for that choice. 'Taxes on motorists don't go to the roads!' they wail. Well, good. Screw them. They pay nowhere near the long-term environmental cost of their selfish actions, so why shouldn't they pay towards the public transport and green options that they shun?

It is inevitable that some people live in areas that are difficult to access by public transport, such as rural villages etc. This problem can be solved by providing these people with a subsidy. However many of these people there are though, there are many, many times more in towns who can easily reach public transport. These people will only change their ways if not doing so hits them in the pocket. There is sometimes little point in appealing to someone's conscience if they really don't care. Money is what they understand, so we must use the same language.

How many schools could 2 billion a year have bought? How many hospitals? How many starving children's lives could have been saved if that money had gone in foreign aid? These people are immoral. What is their extra 2p a litre to them? Great, so they can afford another pint of beer a week. We will all end up paying for it in the end.

I have cars, I admit. However, I rarely drive (once a week or so at most), so while I could of course be more green, I choose not to be occasionally. However, despite owning a car I would have no problem with an increase on fuel duty. I know it is my choice to drive, so the cost is one of the things I must consider. I don't go on some rant about how 'unfair' the price of fuel is when I have to buy petrol. If it gets too high I will stop owning a car. This will be a sad day, but it will not bother me too much. Any irritation will be countered by the fact that others will have to do the same, and that will mean that traffic reduction is a reality. This is necessary for our future. We can choose whether to fight the inevitable or accept it earlier and adjust. I think we all know what would be best, deep down.

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