The UK is in the grip of a fuel crisis, caused by a shortage of HGV drivers, and many key workers are affected. The government in Westminster did nothing when it was warned about the shortage of drivers by the Road Haulage Association on the 23rd of June, yet it is now likely to have to call in the army to prevent a complete meltdown of the economy.
It is reasonable to ask why action was not taken earlier. The government could have offered ‘skilled worker visas’ for HGV drivers, for example, three months ago. It looks very much as though the industry warnings were ignored and that the newspaper headlines about panic buying have spurred the government into action.
This crisis was avoidable. A government has a duty to protect the public interest, and to act when necessary to prevent harm, yet its blind faith in the virtue of ‘laissez-faire’ policies has lulled it into ‘going to sleep on watch’. Failure to act promptly is a pattern of behaviour with this government – as shown by its early mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic for example, which resulted in the highest rate of excess deaths in Europe last year, and later failing to lock down quickly enough despite warnings in the summer and at Christmas.