One of Boris Johnson’s ministers has tried to reassure jittery UK motorists by using three exclamation marks in a calming Twitter post.
The government has been battling to explain why petrol pumps have been closed at forecourts across the country as retailers ration their supply, leading to panic buying.
The driving force is the shortage of lorry drivers – caused by Brexit, meaning fewer Europeans are now employed in the UK, and Covid – and not an actual shortage of fuel.
Nonetheless, with BP, Esso and Tesco petrol forecourts impacted, some clear-eyed communications are needed – especially since there are growing concerns about running out of gas, energy and CO2, which could lead to the issues being conflated.
So Twitter users raised an eyebrow when James Cleverly, a foreign office minister, wrote: “There is no fuel shortage!!!”
It was the cavalier approach to punctuation that set alarm bells ringing.
I was concerned, but the third exclamation mark reassured me https://t.co/pCOnXz7s7H
— Dave Clark (@DaveClark_AFP) September 24, 2021
finding the three (3) exclamation marks super reassuring, dunno bout you https://t.co/VOpkAXSRIi
— Katie Martin (@katie_martin_fx) September 24, 2021
When Government ministers feel the need to deploy multiple exclamation marks, you just know that everything is A-OK https://t.co/octI5KABKl
— Halla Mohieddeen (@hallamohieddeen) September 24, 2021
Three exclamation marks, the surefire sign of someone teetering on the edge. https://t.co/xLqaZoB4kF
— rosamundi (@rosamundi) September 24, 2021
And many others picked up on how it was not quite the “keep calm and carry on” messaging that the British are famed for.
British government calmly reassuring the public as a shortage of truck drivers means gas stations are closing down. https://t.co/PUkolG37gD
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) September 24, 2021
Yeah there’s plenty of fuel. It’s at a different school, you wouldn’t know it
— HK (@HKesvani) September 24, 2021
But there is a driver shortage. Caused by Brexit.
— Sam Bright (@WritesBright) September 24, 2021
There's plenty of fuel!!! It just all happens to be in one place!!! https://t.co/1BXoj7TVyw
— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) September 24, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.