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Politicians in Britain don’t lie nearly as often as the conventional wisdom suggests. Sure, they obfuscate, prevaricate and generally don’t answer the question, but they do this in order to avoid telling untruths.
Take Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. On Sunday morning, he declared that there was “plenty of fuel“. This was true in a narrow sense – what is in short supply are the HGV drivers to deliver said petrol and diesel to the forecourts. But his comments did have an air of unreality about them.
90 per cent of petrol stations in and around London have run dry. The Government has declined to draw a link between these shortages and Brexit. Curiously Northern Ireland, which remains in the EU Single Market for goods, is facing no such problems.
Clearly, panic buying was the ultimate cause of forecourts running out of fuel. But no amount of verbal gymnastics from ministers can hide the fact that the Government has got itself in a mess, having ignored the warnings on HGV shortages and allowed a supply chain squeeze to metastasise into a full-blown crisis.
It is no coincidence that, in an exclusive Standard poll, Keir Starmer has drawn level with Boris Johnson on the best Prime Minister rating, the first time a Labour leader has not been behind for 13 years, when David Cameron trailed Gordon Brown.
In the comment pages, Stephen King writes that the plan to bring in 5,000 foreign hauliers on three-month visas, only to chuck them out on Christmas eve, drives a horse and cart through the contract that binds immigrants with their host country. Meanwhile, after her “scum” remarks, Natasha Mwansa writes that Angela Rayner’s emotion is her strength.
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