Despite calls for restraint, and Andrew Spence saying that there will not be blockades, only peaceful protest, as happened several times after the 2000 fuel protests, we have another round of panic buying from motorists. I went to my usual petrol station to fill up at lunchtime, and unlike usual where I can get almost straight in, there was a queue of cars all the way out of the entrance back on to the road.
I decided to head off to one of the other local stations, that has a larger number of pumps, and managed to get in, but still had to wait, watching several people put tiny amounts of fuel into their tanks. Again the petrol station was busier than usual. Having said that, it seems other parts of the country are a lot worse.
The good thing is that now, with a full tank, I’ll have enough fuel to last me until next Monday, so whether there are supply problems or not, I shouldn’t run in to problems. Having said that, whether Andrew Spence and co decide to blockade or not, the fundamental problem is that the general public don’t seem to believe or trust either him or the rest of the fuel lobby. Is it any surprise? Although he is now being absolutely clear that they will not blockade, the earlier statements have done their damage.
Today Spence is saying that nothing will be blockaded:
“I strongly urge against blockades. We want peaceful protests. We are going to maintain a presence but we will not be stopping supplies going in or going out. It should not be disruptive. I can’t say strenuously enough that people should not be panic-buying.”
But last week Spence was quoted as saying:
“We want an immediate reduction in tax to bring prices down or as of 6am next Wednesday there won’t be a refinery left open.”
At the moment, it seems that a crisis could be generated purely by collective panic from the general public as a result of Spence and co making threats, and without anybody blockading anything.