Can we afford the price for others democracy?

    The rolling news coverage of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, then Egypt and now Libya is gripping stuff. The determination and fearlessness of people who have suffered years of autocratic oppression should be an inspiration to all of us. We take our rights and democratic society for granted in the United Kingdom. We forget that, over centuries, blood was shed and lives lost to secure those freedoms. Across North Africa and the Middle East thousands now fight for the freedom we cherish.

    It may seem that these events have no bearing on our lives in the West, but the peace and security of this region has a direct influence on numerous British interests. An alarming result of the current uncertainty is a sudden, large increase in the cost of crude oil, now at its highest level for 30 months. Experts predict that this will feed through to a massive 10p-per-litre jump in pump prices by the beginning of April. That would be disastrous for already hard-pressed motorists. Now is the time for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take action and introduce the fuel stabiliser, a key pledge in the Conservative Party manifesto, in the forthcoming budget. Motorists would no longer be exposed to fluctuating oil costs and ever increasing price rises. If the political unrest continues in the region, it will be an important way of protecting British consumers for directly paying for others democracy.

    24th February 2011