Friday, 30 March 2012
Keep Calm And Carry On (or run for the hills...whichever)
Napoleon went so far as to describe us as "a nation of shopkeepers", dull and unimaginative in our plodding ways (although I would go so far as to argue that today we are more a nation of shop assistants)
But it seems to me that those old days of women standing in the kitchen stoically carrying on when the rest of their house has fallen down, buttering jammie dodgers for the party of people who were expected - are long gone.
I say this because today the news reports have been full of panic buying of fuel because of the distant threat of a possible petrol delivery strike. Some pumps are already running dry, the news reporters are yelling at us every five minutes, questions need to be asked in the Houses of Parliament - how can we avoid this crisis!!!!
But hang on a second...
Is there actually a strike? No
Has one even been agreed? No
Has the delivery of fuel been in any way, shape or form delayed? Absolutely not.
So why then are people rushing to the car, determined to squeeze in every last drop of petrol as if a meteor is just seconds away from squashing Barrow In Furness and they need to put a hundred miles between themselves and the EMP that must surely follow.
Back in the year 2000, when there actually WAS a strike we saw the same levels of panic buying - people fueling up their cars, their partner's cars, their kiddie's pedal cars...
Petrol stations across the nation ran dry, people had to queue and pay exorbitant prices for what little fuel there was - but here's the thing: even in that strike there was never actually any stoppage of the delivery of fuel to those pumps - the only thing that caused them to run dry was the unexpected high demand.
How responsible then, are we, for creating a crisis that does not exist? Are these things on the rise?
Well, it's hard to know really. Certainly perception has changed. We allow ourselves to believe that the modern riots and problems of last summer are as a breakdown of society, a loss of care for our neighbors - but the fact remains that murder, theft and looting were never higher than in the opportunistic thefts of the blackouts of World War II.
So what has changed? If our attitude to a crisis has been modified, or not, then what is the root cause?
Certainly one thing that HAS changed is Media coverage - the rise of mobile phones with cameras and constant media coverage leaping on any hint of news has meant that we stir ourselves into a frenzy of believing that our world is constantly in turmoil.
And the only thing I can say is - calm down dears. If there is a strike (which seems unlikely) then I'm sure that most of you out there can wait a few days to fuel up your cars without setting fire to the neighborhood and going on the rampage. Try public transport. Get on a bike. Avoid unnecessary travel
And most importantly - grow up and be sensible.