Protestors were yesterday forced to call off demonstrations against rising fuel costs when it became apparent that most of the participants couldn’t afford to buy petrol for their Molotov cocktails. “It’s bloody ridiculous – what point is there in having a demonstration if you can’t escalate it into a full blown riot?” laments Dan Puker, one of the abortive event’s organisers. “I’m telling you, there’s a lot of very disappointed people out there – they were really looking forward to throwing firebombs at the police and, if we were lucky, maybe burning down the odd shop. There was a distinct possibility of some good looting we’ve now had to pass up.” According to Puker, many of the would-be rioters had spent weeks obtaining sufficient glass bottles for their fire bombs. “Milk bottles were what we always used to prefer, but with more and more people buying their milk from supermarkets, in those plastic bottles, they’re getting increasingly difficult to get your hands on,” he explains. “It’s criminal, really – those plastic bottles just aren’t as environmentally friendly.” Nevertheless, despite the cancellation of the protest planned for Birmingham, Puker is confident that a similar event scheduled to take place next week in Reading will be able to proceed, an alternative supply of fuel for the Molotov cocktails having been secured. “I just thank God for those low supermarket alcohol prices – we were able to buy gallons of vodka for the price of a single tank of petrol,” he reveals. “It’s brilliant – you even get the glass bottles this way!” He is also full of praise for the cheap clothing – produced in Third World sweat shops – carried by the same supermarkets. “Torn into strips, those shirts make excellent wicks for the fire bombs,” he beams. Whilst acknowledging the irony of a fuel price protest being derailed by high fuel prices, Puker is more concerned with the wider picture, worrying that rising prices at the pumps could destroy Britain’s protest culture completely. “The whole protest scene is one of this country’s biggest social activities. For lots of people its their main form of social contact. Hell, I even met my wife at an animal rights protest at a research lab in Buckinghamshire – our eyes met over a blazing scientist’s car as we tried to over turn it,” he says. “I’m worried that if people can’t afford petrol for the bombs, they could lose interest – just lobbing bricks at the police isn’t the same. You’ve no idea how romantic it is to see the flames from a blazing police riot shield reflected in the eyes of the woman you love!”

Puker’s fears have been echoed by some politicians, with some Labour left-wingers expressing concerns that violent protests could become the exclusive preserve of the wealthy if the government doesn’t act to curb fuel inflation. “It is surely the fundamental right of every citizen of this country – regardless of social background or income – to destroy property and assault other individuals in pursuit of their ill-informed prejudices,” declares backbench MP Dennis Smallpipe. “This is just another example of this government’s complete disregard for civil liberties.” Opposition leader David Cameron has raised fears that rising fuel prices could be undermining some of Britain’s most-cherished industries. “Hardly a day goes by without another report of an anarchist or arsonist going out of business,” he recently told the Commons. “These are activities in which this country has traditionally led the world, yet these highly skilled artisans are now being forced out of their professions by rising costs.” Indeed, there is evidence that many arsonists are leaving the profession for other, less skilled, crimes. “I’m seriously thinking of trying my hand at sex offending,” says Archie Poxbell, one of Britain’s top arsonists. “I know there isn’t much money in it, but its far simpler, with fewer overheads – all you need is a long raincoat and no pants.” The Tory leader also claims that Britain’s pensioners are suffering as a result of the government’s failure to take action. “Only last week, an elderly constituent wrote to me with a poignant tale of how, last Winter, he’d been forced to burn his entire collection of rare vintage pornography in order to keep warm, as he could no longer afford to pay his gas and electricity bills,” he announced at Prime Minister’s Question Time. “And he isn’t the only pensioner being forced to forgo his meagre pleasures in order to make ends meet – another old boy has told me of the sharp rise in prices being charged by his local brothel. Even with his pensioner’s discount, he’s finding it very difficult to afford his regular visits and may have to cut them down to only two a week. Apparently, these price increases are the result of the establishment being forced to pass on its rising electricity costs to its customers. Will the PM increase pensions to cope with these rising costs?”

According to the Association of British Sex Workers – the professional body representing the majority of the country’s prostitutes, madams and pimps – agrees that their members are being hit hard by the hike in energy costs, with many being forced to shut up shop. “With all that electrical equipment they use, it is inevitable that they incur high energy bills,” noted a spokesperson. “That, and the fact that they always have to have the heating turned up really high on account of the number of elderly customers they cater for. Without government subsidies, I can see the whole industry going tits-up.” Not all industries are suffering as the result of rocketing fuel prices – the traditional sex toy sector has reported a surge in sales as prostitutes abandon their expensive electrical contraptions in favour of simpler, manual, devices. “Orders for our hand-cranked vibrators have gone through the roof since energy prices started to rise,” declares Ronald Vibron, proprietor of ‘Perverse Pleasures’, Kent’s leading supplier of traditional erotica. “I’ve had to take more people on to meet the demand – which is still rising.” Whilst rejecting the idea of subsidising the sex industry – “They are not providing a social service for the elderly – any pensioner has the option of being wanked off under the sheets by an NHS nurse, entirely free of charge” – Prime Minister Gordon Brown has vowed to use his talks with OPEC leaders to try and bring energy prices back within the reach of ordinary rioters, arsonists and sex workers. “I’m quite prepared to use sanctions if they don’t comply,” he told a press conference, “and severely restrict the supply of privately-educated English girls for their Arab harems. I’m quietly confident that will provide us with the leverage we need.”