Of course we played follow my leader – we’re British

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Remember that question teachers used to pose to the thickest of their young pupils?

‘If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you?’

It was usually asked when some daft ’erbert blindly followed the foolhardy lead of another, thereby finding themselves in a spot of hot water.

But the past few days have proved that some of us never quite lose the sheep-like mentality that makes us do daft things.

Like lemmings on LSD, we legged it to the nearest forecourt to fill up ahead of a strike that wasn’t even happening.

Ooh, we do love a queue. I doubt there’s any other nationality that will willingly join the back of a line of waiting people.

But show the Brits a long, tedious-looking tailback, and we’ll be all over it like Max Clifford in hot pursuit of a love triangle.

It’s the same mentality that makes people buy two jumbo-sized bags of peanuts at Christmas when all they need is one.

We’ve become so unused to fending for ourselves that the prospect of running out of snacks sends us into a blind panic.

No surprise then that the idea of being unable to run our cars made us come out in a cold sweat.

But you can’t knock people for worrying a bit (or having a go at newspapers for reporting which petrol stations have run out of fuel) when even the government was confused about what it wanted to say on the matter.

Although the forecourt queues have been inconvenient, it’s been quite nice to see that cabinet ministers still aren’t immune to foot-in-mouth syndrome.

What David Cameron really needs is a spin doctor. I doubt this kind of fiasco would have happened under Alastair Campbell’s reign. Unless he wanted it too, of course.

Now we know there’s not going to be a strike over Easter, we can take a breather. And the tanker drivers can continue to rub their hands in glee.

We might have created a crisis from a kerfuffle, but their egos have been massaged no end. Nothing like being made to feel the country really, really, needs you to put a spring in your step.

And a bargaining tool in your back pocket.