The squares against the snow lovers

Mark%20ChouekeThis week saw the nation divided between the grumpy and the gregarious. I was in the former camp. I was one of those that struggled into work on Monday in what would have been a comical situation if it didn’t involve me being so wet and cold.

Meanwhile, what seemed like the rest of the population took to the hills with sledges and skis to enjoy the largest snowfall in almost two decades.

The rest of the week saw the hilarious debate ensue about who was right and who was wrong with regards to their reactions to the weather. Letters landed on the correspondence pages of quality newspapers suggesting that those who stayed in bed to sip tea and watch TV on Monday and Tuesday were “everything that is wrong” with modern Britain. ‘These swines have cost the economy £1.2bn’ wrote angsty, and it has to be said, rather stuffy people with far too much time on their hands.

Me? My working week saw me align myself with the squares. I’m a journalist (we don’t get to take a day off work because of the weather, it just isn’t an option) from an entire family of teachers (don’t get me started). After two solid days of hearing what fun they were having, it was a relief to me on Wednesday when the snow cleared and they were able to get back to work. I texted one of them hoping to sting them with my sarcasm:

“You going to school today? Not sure you should. I smell a little moisture in the air. Could be dangerous. Maybe you should return to educating the nation’s children next week…”

The reply came immediately and with bite:

“There are definitely health and safety issues with the slush. I would have closed the school myself but they made us come in. It’s a shame how little we care about the kids…”

But there was a serious issue to the snow, (here comes Grumpole of the Bailey), and that was how long it has taken the Government to make our roads and railways safe. We have to travel – simple as that. With the snow being forecast to continue around the UK all weekend and repeat itself more often in the future than once every 18 years, we can’t afford to have the country stop dead whenever it happens. We can’t afford to see any more reports on how we’ve run out of salt.

The current economy is squashed flat and there are ever increasing numbers of our workers being laid off. There are less jobs to go round so when a job seeker is eventually successful, it’s increasingly likely that the post they find will be further away from their home than they necessarily would have liked. The frozen state of the housing market means that we can no longer rely on people being able to move house to suit a new employment situation like we could five or 10 years ago.

If people have to commute further to get to work and are prevented from doing so by more frequent adverse weather conditions then that £1.2bn (how the hell did they…never mind) could turn into a far nastier deficit.

Still, glad it’s the weekend. Will give me a chance to enjoy the snow…

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