Society’s emphasis has shifted from taking responsibility and addressing issues with the mindset of ‘how can we fix this?’ Now, the first port of call is not to rectify, but to blame, as the surmountable problem persists while we instead channel our energy into finger pointing. This blame now manifests as ‘accountability.’ ‘Reasons’ are reclassified as ‘excuses’ as we look for a person or entity to publicly hang, draw and quarter.

By the time this goes to press, we may well still be amid a fuel ‘crisis’, which, (he says apportioning blame), was solely down to the national media ramping up the fearometer, and thus giving them front page copy for days to come. You may well have spent this morning in a four-hour queue as you blame the ‘greedy’ in front of you, as your need for petroleum is more noble than theirs. The teacher needs gas to fuel your kids' minds, the baker needs to get to work to provide sustenance and the nurse, running on fumes, believes she is the most deserving, as we look away from solving a problem that needn’t have existed in the first place anyway.

First, we blamed ‘the Government’ who, again, have moved from a proactive stance to one of slumbersome reactivity. The writing has been on the wall for weeks regarding HGV drivers, yet it was only after queues formed at the pumps that they decided to temporarily allow European HGV drivers to go on the essential list along with, perversely, ballet dancers and concert pianists (which tells you all you need to know about the priorities of the braying Bullingdon boys).

Predictably, the Government refuses to admit any wrongdoing, as to admit such a thing would tear at the heart of their ingrained party-political being, so after numerous denials the blame gamers change tack and pin the tail solely on the donkey that is Brexit.

Read more: Petrol stations continue to be busy in Watford

Read more: 24-hour petrol stations in Watford - See the full list

With that comes a level of smugness as they, having waited their opportunity less than patiently, openly ask if the Brexiteers are happy now? Curiously, the 2000 shortages, followed by those in 2005 and 2007, caused in the main by the protest group ‘transaction’, weren’t mentioned, as we were card carrying members of the EU at the time.

The ‘blame’ also did not mention another direct effect of our leaving the EU, that of the only notable success of the current administration: the vaccine rollout. Without our having to wade through the red tape the Europeans are so fond of tying themselves up in, we would have got nowhere near the vaccination figures we have, in the time period we did, if we had remained. Arguably leaving the EU saved many citizens' lives, despite the lack of public acknowledgement of this action.

Cars queue for petrol at Tesco in Lower HIgh Street, Watford

Cars queue for petrol at Tesco in Lower HIgh Street, Watford

‘Blame’ then turns to those who have filled their cars up with fuel having ‘changed’ their habits. One man posted online that he had queued to only put in £20 worth of fuel as he is not greedy. He called others selfish and worse, as he justified his actions as being palatable, but others as being stains on society. His job? He works in finance.

In every area of life, we continue to apportion blame. My local green belt is, as regular readers will know, about to be compromised with Hertsmere Council's local plan to concrete over two thousand acres of prime, lush arable fields teeming with wildlife. The suited environmental terrorists then ‘blame’ government housing targets (despite them being Tory and having not challenged the targets set by their overlords) before, perversely citing ‘combatting climate change’ and the ‘need’ to build affordable houses, which no one under an income of £80,000 will ever be able to afford on this large slice of blue riband green belt.

Read more: Hertfordshire County Council say key workers don't need petrol priority

It has now become epidemic: at work, the first response of most when an issue arises is not to fix it but immediately look for a scapegoat with an ‘it’s not me, it's them’ mentality. It does little but create a society of bleating n’er do wells, where the once laudable attributes of loyalty and remaining calm under pressure are but a distant memory.

As for me, I have enough fuel to last for two weeks and I plan to pop to Sainsburys later for a week’s shopping where the shelves will inevitably be barer than a naturist at a nudist camp. The only thing left for me to do post-shop is to sit the madness out at home and conserve fuel, as we put Buckaroo and Cluedo aside and play yet another round of pass the buck.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher