If you live in the UK and watched last night's Question Time on the BBC you will know that the "blame culture" is alive and well in politicians. News of a possible strike by UK fuel delivery drivers has caused chaos this week. It was not so much the news that there may be a strike over Easter 2012 but the Government's foolish advice and how the Great British Public responded.
Last night's QT involved a Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative minister. The Tory and Lib Dem ministers were in unison as far as their opinions went, which is hardly surprising as they both form part of the Coalition government. These two women insisted that this week's madness has been due to the Unite Union threatening strike action could be a possibility in the future. The Labour minister insisted that it was Tory Minister Francis Maude and UK Pm David Cameron who had whipped up a storm of panic buying.
In truth probably all sides have some responsibility. Unite is one of the Labour Party's funders which seems to be ammunition for the Coalition. However the news today that a woman from York has suffered 40% burns following this week's UK panic buying could be laid at the Coalition's door.
According to the Guardian,"
The woman was decanting fuel at her home in York on Thursday when it ignited and set fire to her clothing, resulting in 40% burns. She was treated on the scene by paramedics, before being taken to Pinderfields hospital with "serious and significant" burns to her whole body, said North Yorkshire fire service spokesman Peter Hudson. "Her daughter asked her mum for petrol because she had run out," said Hudson. "She did not think about the fact the gas cooker was on. The petrol then went up and she got burnt. Thankfully we were there very quickly." Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel jet to extinguish the blaze in the kitchen and removed the remaining petrol. The accident took place as some petrol stations ran dry amid fear of a possible tanker drivers' strike. Government minister Francis Maude was criticised by fire chiefs for suggesting people should fill jerry cans with petrol to prepare for potential industrial action – because of the threat of fire.
Mr Hudson went on to warn,
"In domestic situations fuel containers must not be stored in living accommodation such as kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms or under staircases. Any storage place should be well away from living areas and be secured to protect against the possibility of vandalism or arson. "Never bring petrol inside your home. If you do smell petrol fumes in a garage or outbuilding ventilate the area and make sure nobody smokes or turns electrical switches on or off. The slightest spark could cause an explosion."
If Mr Maude wanted to offer the advice that he did perhaps he should have thought of issuing relevant safety advice and warnings too. A sensible approach would have also been how to manage fuel more efficiently to enable more usage to the gallon or litre.
As it is the strike over Easter has been called off as both sides try once again to compromise and reach a deal which suits all. Of course they had never set a date for a strike in the first place.
The panic buying this week has left some fuel stations closed as their pumps ran dry, tussles at some stations and members of the public storing dangerously high amounts of fuel at home.
For one lady in York it has had disastrous consequences. She is being treat at the specialist burns unit Pinderfields Hospital. She is in a critical condition but is stable.