The arrogance which has coloured so much of this government's approach since 1997 has been well and truly humbled by the truckers this week. And, for readers with a sadistic sense of humour, the vision of New Labour's embarrassed stage managers hastily rewriting the scripts for next weekend's Brighton conference was something to relish. Indeed, so was the naivety of those who believed French-style blockades would never be seen on this side of the Channel. For, in truth, the fuel tax issue was a bomb that had been waiting to explode for months. And even if, as hoped when we went to press, Messrs Blair, and Co manage to eventually placate the protestors, the past seven days will haunt the PM for the rest of his political career. Mind you, who would have thought we would see a Labour PM standing at a Downing Street lectern attempting the steel handbag style of a Maggie Thatcher? We'll no doubt be treated to the same at the end of Brighton Pier, but it will have to be a pretty good effort to make this issue evaporate, even though the blockaders were going home as we went to Press. We've known for a long time that this was an anti-car government. But most disturbing this week were the looks of incredulity on ministers' faces as the protesting hauliers, farmers and cabbies won support from most of the long suffering public. For too long those same ministers have ignored the business community's thoroughly justified requests for a significant reduction in fuel taxes. And it will take more than a short-term fix in the pre Budget statement to placate them. As the BRC points out, the fuel tax issue is the most glaring example of government imposed costs on the retailing community, which are significantly higher than those of our European competitors. Grocery distribution was staring paralysis in the face this week. But unless something positive emerges from Number 10, the blockades could be re-installed as quickly as they were being removed. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}