It is amazing what havoc a little dust can cause.

Air passengers are grounded, election campaigns are halted in their tracks, sales of face masks soar through the roof, supermarket shelves are empty as people panic-buy the essentials.

Yeah, OK, the last two are made up but media coverage of the volcanic ash cloud that swept over the UK from Iceland proved one thing.

Despite the fact that we’re at the start of General Election campaign, our media will seize on any sort of unusual and unlikely story and escalate it into something it isn’t.

And let’s face it, the fall out from the Icelandic eruption is bound to have a devastating impact. If our nation grinds to a halt after a couple of inches of snow, then we can pretty much expect anarchy with something out of the ordinary like a volcano.

Ladies and gents, today’s end of the world as we know it prediction is brought to you by dust.

(Pic – a bit of dust, yesterday)

The advent of 24-hour rolling TV news and minute-by-minute internet updates means that such a story suddenly becomes a national emergency. Even our precious cars at risk from the toxic death cloud as the dust could ruin the paintwork.

The BBC’s website did have a handy animated guide to volcanoes, which took me back to my days at St Julians Comp and geography lessons – such was the level of information provided.

I was waiting for the conspiracy theorists to start emerging with their fanciful claims too.

A few reared their heads, but it was largely disappointing stuff.

Not one claimed it wasn’t actually a volcanic ash cloud, rather it was a sophisticated alien cloaking device and a vast armada of spaceships was about to invade – just as well Doctor Who is back to save the day.

At least our mainstream media made up for the lack of crazies by enveloping the nation in a cloud of murky facts and choking hyperbole.

And thankfully it diverted attention from the boring election campaign, the death toll of the China earthquake and the stabbing of a few more teenagers.

Done and dusted.


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