What’s the best way to start a fuel crisis? It’s easy; first you have a referendum, then you leave the European Union, then you have a pandemic and last of all you tell people there’s no need to panic. Right now we are being run by a dysfunctional Dad’s Army where Captain Mainwaring has been superseded by Corporal Jones who’s rushing around trying to keep his trousers on and telling everyone not to panic. To be fair, the great British public have no small share of blame in this, going around selfishly buying petrol they don’t need (at least unlike loo rolls, there’s a limit to what your tank will hold, though I’ve seen pictures on Facebook of a man filling his boot with bottles of the stuff, which surely has to be illegal.) And yesterday I was driving along the ring road when I fell into a traffic jam. Unusual, I thought, for this time in the morning. Maybe there’s been an accident. I should have known: as we inched closer to the scene of what I always think of as a follon – the Spanish for fuck-up – I realised it was caused by people queuing to get into the petrol station. Not only that, but someone in the other side was waiting to turn into it, a completely hopeless cause, and blocking traffic on that side. I drove self-righteously past, smug in the knowledge that I’d filled up last week. And just as well I had.
Some parts of the media have a share of the blame too, in spreading stories of impending shortages which then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But seriously, panic buying has to stop.
Got to go now, the tank’s less than half full so I’d better get some before it all runs out. Actually I know where to get some. But don’t tell ’em, Pike!