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Strikes and Sausage Rolls: Is the UK Back in the 1970s?
CNBC.com | April 02, 2012 | 03:57 AM EDT

With people panic-buying gasoline, protests against taxes on cheap hot lunches, and worse-than-expected economic data, the mood in the UK seems to be turning from the cautious optimism of early 2012.

The UK government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, has faced a barrage of criticism over gasoline and a tax on Cornish pasties. Fears of strikes and the return of social class to the front of the news agenda have drawn comparison to the 1970s.

Cornish pasties, a meat and pastry snack popular in the UK and often regarded as a working man’s lunch or snack, will face extra tax under the country’s new budget. The budget also cut taxes on the country’s highest earners from 50 percent to 45 percent, leading to accusations that the government is out of touch with the average British consumer.

The victory of maverick politician George Galloway, of the obscure Respect Party, in a by-election for what was once a safe seat for Labour, the main opposition party, was also seen as a sign of discontent with the mainstream political parties.

Gas stations around the UK were forced to turn customers away last week after Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude urged people to stockpile petrol, ahead of a feared strike by fuel tanker drivers.

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