When ministers were coming out with their advice to fill a jerry can etc during the last fuel strike scare many people I know had their own pet theories.
One obvious possibility was that it would take the sting out of a strike if most people would not be affected for a week or two with soldiers driving tankers supplying immediate need.
A more unlikely scenario was that the government needed an injection of cash for some reason so wanted to get its hands on some VAT. A sudden rush of fuel buying would fit the bill and here was a ready-made ‘catastrophe’ to get the panic started.
I even read of a real conspiracy theory that there was about to be an attack on Iran, which would destabilise the world’s fuelsupplies so it would be better if everyone had a full tank at the start. Very outlandish!
All these do seem totally unrealistic, I still prefer the theory that ministers are totally inept, stupid and out of touch.
But now there may be one more theory. It turns out that the panic buying of fuel may well have helped to keep the UK out of recession. The 4.9% increase in fuel buying helped the UK economy grow by 1.8% month on month and 3.3% year on year says the Telegraph.
Surely the government wasn’t just trying to make sure we didn’t have a technical recession with two quarters of negative growth? They wouldn’t do such a thing for short term political gain, would they?