Petrol crisis? Just wait ’till we run out of couscous
|April 3, 2012||Posted by Dan Peacock under satire|
In all honesty, the recent petrol crisis has unnerved me a little. It’s nothing to do with the widespread reports of people brawling for petrol outside Morrisons, or the solitary case of a woman severely burning herself while decanting petrol. It’s more to do with how quickly and easily society can freak out over what was essentially a government-funded rumour. And how much we depend on things that are beyond our control.
I remember as a young lad vaguely hearing something on the news about “the possibility of terror attacks in the UK” shortly after we entered Iraq, and something or other about the water supply. Suddenly you would go into Tesco and the bottled water aisle was empty. Empty. Even then I realised (on some level at least) that when push comes to shove 99% of the common folk are out for themselves: a trait that is absolutely fatal in a society-wide survival scenario.
You probably saw this over the last week or so. Despite the number of tanker driver strikes being roughly zero, people still decided to flock to the pumps in their millions. As a species, we’re prone to panic when an important-looking man appears on the telly wearing a suit and tie and mumbles something about tanker drivers striking. It’s in our blood. There are 62 million people in the UK, and on a day-to-day basis we all manage to stock up on petrol quite happily, with minimal queuing, following a naturally established rota. But when everyone thinks “there’s no crisis yet, but I’d better stock up just in case” and rushes out to Sainsbury’s with their jerry cans and finds everyone else is already there, nobody wins. It’s a lose-lose situation where you queue for three hours and then get into a fist-fight over the last drops of unleaded.
I’ve learned over this last week that in a crisis we don’t pull together as a society. We look out for ourselves. As the doctor on Lost once said: “live together, or die alone.” I think there’s some truth in that. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, the government would probably tell everyone to stay in their homes, ration their food and remain calm. What would actually happen would be that everyone would rush to Asda and murder each other in a desperate bid to stock up on food.
A zombie apocalypse perhaps isn’t the most realistic scenario, but you have to ask yourself – what happens when the petrol really runs out? Or the water? Or the power? If we go this crazy over the mere possibility of a temporary shortage that would soon have been made redundant by army-trained reserve tanker drivers anyway, what will we do when the Russians turn off our oil? What will we do when we’ve run out of couscous?
It’s a sobering thought. And on that note I’m stocking up on petrol, food, water and refills for the Tassimo. Just in case.