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Jupiter Merlin Weekly: How to make a drama out of a crisis

Agence SAND

The Jupiter Merlin team discuss the UK’s fuel crisis, China’s economic slump, and central banks that have all their fingers crossed that they’re right about inflation.

As the old insurance advert used to say: “We never make a drama out of a crisis”. It is a message which seems to have been lost in the UK in the past few days as, with a quarter of all our HGV drivers having suddenly seemingly disappeared, gone AWOL, our national distribution network has apparently collapsed. If last year in lockdown we were mass panic-buying loo roll, tinned tomatoes and pasta, now it is a rush for diesel and unleaded to keep moving.

There are many contributing factors in a complex situation as the national and global economies stagger through the recovery phase from Covid: the natural cycle of older drivers leaving the industry but their new replacements suffering long waits for training and application processing by a DVLA largely working from home, still running on pre-unlock protocols and a reported backlog of 50,000 unattended applications; some foreign drivers have gone home after Brexit; undoubtedly some mischief-making by haulage leaders and the media facing down the government amid headlines redolent of 1974. Yes, there is a shortage and pressure in the system, but collapse? Not at all. As a journey along any motorway will reveal, the roads are still packed with big lorries on their busy delivery schedules.

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