Here we go again. Dire warnings from the papers predicting that within a month we'll have the highest petrol price ever. And like me, the AA say that soaring pump prices have got nothing to do with supply and demand and everything to do with speculators. Since June oil has gone from $90 to $114 even though in July China's imports of the stuff were at an historic nine-month low. So you tell me who's forcing up oil wholesale prices, because its definitely not Europe Asia or the US?
But you know the answer to that one. Its those pernicious commodity traders and fund managers again. And the government knows too, because this week they approached the International Energy Agency (IEA) to discuss releasing oil stocks to cool prices. When news of that meeting broke, Brent Crude fell by $1.51. Traders had been battling it up on news of threats from Israel to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities to the point where closing prices for future month oil contracts hit $116.9. This is a market (and one in which the price of virtually everything we do or buy is embedded) that's in the total control of a few thousand blokes in posh shoes and braces. Should we really be letting this happen? Should we be allowing these pariahs to deliberately push unleaded petrol to its highest price ever and the UK's economic recovery off a cliff?
When those front month future contracts closed at $116.9, one oil expert said it "the oil price appears to be nearing the maximum tolerable limit". Just consider the choice of that word 'tolerable'. This is a game to these people where they play with the market to see what 'tolerable' and what's not. To see how much inflationary mayhem and financial retraction they can cause. Like that line in King Lear - 'they kill us for their sport'.
Before the end of 2012 I want the Chancellor to agree to further hold back the planned 3p litre rise that he's set for January (if he doesn't he'll be holding a loaded Luger to his head and that of the economy), but also to put in place an Oil Inquiry, like Leveson, where the major players and protagonists in the oil commodity and futures markets are asked, under oath, to tell us all exactly how much their market intervention influences the price of oil. A full, transparent, canter through their arcane and complicated market. If they've nothing to hide, they've nothing to fear. Let's have full disclosure.
And I want the Treasury, The Bank of England and Number 10 to start behaving like they want to do something about oil speculation and the damage its doing to the UK economy. No more old boys stuff, no more whispering. A bold statement of intent that they're going to properly investigate the oil market for the first time in its entire history.
Let's start by putting on a little pressure shall we?