Honeyball’s Weekly Round-up

A petrol crisis emerged last week in the UK which was entirely of the coalition government’s own making.

Following irresponsible comments by cabinet office minister Francis Maude suggested that people should store petrol in jerry cans (in preparation for an impending strike, which for the time being does not look set to happen).

This was further compounded a day or so later by energy minister, Lib Dem Ed Davey who told the public, in an interview for the BBC, but also here on the Telegraph, that people should ensure their petrol tanks are slightly more full than usual, maybe two thirds full instead of the average one third full.

These unhelpful comments were going to cause equal amounts of unrest and inevitably it lead to further panic buying.

As Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, rightly pointed out at the end of Andrew Marr’s breakfast show on Sunday (1 April), the government was seeking to make a political point and it couldn’t have chosen a more irresponsible way of doing so. It created a national panic and had to go to lengths to address the situation it had created.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansely, offered a weak defense yesterday during Sky News’ Dermot Murnaghan programme, which you can read about here in the Telegraph.

Meanwhile Cooper also appeared in print, only this time discussing serious policy issues in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror.

She unveiled plans which would ensure the Police are forced to respond to every single complaint about anti-social behaviour within 24 hours under plans unveiled by Labour.
This is a far tougher stance than moves planned by Home ¬Secretary Theresa May. Her plans, which will be launched in a trial later this summer, will only work when five ¬different residents make a complaint, only then will police and councils are forced to act.

Cooper condemned this move in her article as ‘crazy’ the Tory plan to force at least five neighbours to complain about anti-social behaviour before any action is taken and vows ¬Labour’s response would be much tougher.
She also criticises the government’s decision to get rid of ASBO’s a successful way of targeting anti-social behaviour which was set up under the last Labour government. You can read her article in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror here.

Last week I reported on The House of Lords Constitution Committee has just produced a report which warned targets may be required in order to encourage more women and ethnic minority judges in the same was as quotas for company boards is under consultation. The aim, of course, is to better reflect society, and the aim is to do this in the next five years. You can read more on my blog here.

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