First financial, then economic, finally political. The government finds itself screwed as reaction against freedom of movement rallies and finds its focus in European targets. The Times reports that the wildcat strikes and disturbance at Lindsey is being fanned by a militant shop stewards movement, leaving the trade union leaders in a bind. Either they support their radicalised members or they fall in behind a government that is increasingly hated for its ineptitude.
Among the plans which will alarm Downing Street are a national march against foreign workers in London, a national boycott of filling stations owned by Total, the French oil company, and a blockade at a Kent power station.
There was mounting confusion at No 10 about how to deal with the crisis amid fears that a failure to strike the right tone could backfire and fuel public anger over the recession.
This development can only spur the rise of an incipient Euroscepticism within this country, as the unions understand the implications of this liberal aspect of the European Union. With such a large number of immigrants entering Britain over a short period of time, and watching contracts awarded to floating hotels of strangers, the strikers will not be amused at Mandelson's tin ear defending foreign companies right to undercut British workers. Mandelson is, of course, correct, but will win few plaudits for saying so.
The greatest concern for the government is that the strikers are predominantly working in the energy sectors. they must be fervently hoping that this is not the equivalent of the fuel protests.