Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oil price #2

Another example of why governments are not our friends.

I suppose the relative price of oil had to go up worldwide as it inevitably starts to run out, with no alternative known to the public (but allegedly around for years in secret). But the eventual fate of 'rip-off Britain' now puts us (I think) at the top of the world with prices of around $7.60 a gallon, at the latest exchange rates. That's because in our complete isolation world markets have long got us used to paying around double world averages for clothes, cars, CDs and the like as (as I discovered in many years of retail) we are a tiny market and they are 'doing us a favour' selling here at all as they 'barely make a profit for all the extra effort involved' (quote, Nike rep, honestly!).

So knowing we are the joke market of the world, our totally corrupt 'left-wing' government whine about global warming and pollution, we have a public transport system the level of Romania (if we're lucky), with rail companies raising prices to stop motorists switching to the trains as there aren't enough of them! So as far as I know, after laughing at the French in 1982 (while feeling sorry for them as well) for having petrol maybe double our own price (my maths wasn't able to cope with the litres and the Franc conversions at once) we are now paying more than anyone on Earth simply because our government make us.

In 2000 the lorry drivers went on a blockade when petrol hit 80p a litre (whatever that is), now it's up to around 93p and all the transport industry apparently believes as oil prices have risen, [i]it's not Tony Blair's fault this time.[/i]

Hypnosis? Subliminal messages? Satanic help? I don't know, but apart from the fact our housing is also at a level with higher price to income ratio than even the last boom (just before prices dropped long-term for the first time in memory), British resources are now stretched to their ultimate capacity, and the British temperament (as opposed to our local neighbours, the French) is at such a comatose level they'll be queueing up at Downing street offering Blair their testicles next if he says it'll help the country. I never believed brainwashing was possible, but the 'dead cat' pose the British public are presenting in reply to an economic situation that may rival Germany before the last war makes me wonder how long this country will be driving cars at all.

High mortgage payments + high fuel prices + low interest rates (which balance the benefit to the borrowing poor with the loss of income of the investing rich)= a recipe for economic disaster.
Analysts are fairly unanimous the oil price will stabilise around this level for a good few years (by when we may have little oil left to price anyway). If I did my homework I could give the current projected reserves, but I do know it's not just refinery capacity, long term we need an alternative, as it is actually being used up probably within our lifetimes.

Transport is something the Soviet Union used as a wonderful weapon in keeping its citizens in line. China as well. Basically make it as hard as possible to move around the country as you can, make cars prohibitively expensive, make people apply for permits to travel (compare with London's congestion charge, a limitation in a more subtle form), and next, restrict foreign travel to a minimum in the same way (more likely to occur from rocketing air travel prices on the back of the oil price). Britain is leading the way in travel restrictions borrowed from the communist countries worldwide, and having travelled on a number of urban public transport systems abroad, I can say how incredibly easy it is for a country to run a cheap and efficient train system, quite the opposite from our worse-than third world and fifty times as expensive London Underground. The provincial services are far less frequent, just as expensive (I think we also got the highest price per mile in the world in a recent survey), but slightly more civilised (they have toilets and you can see land out of the windows rather than a tunnel). So though Blair and his lot want us off the roads, the alternative is enough to make anyone with a three figure IQ as neurotic as I am within a few weeks unless they spend the time pissed.
The oil price will creep into everyone's lives the same way sooner or later, but due to our higher taxes and diabolical public transport we're seeing the effects larger and sooner in Britain, and unless someone in the know kicks some serious butt, we're all going down the same toilet.

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