Thursday, 5 February 2009

Weather Rant

Yes it's true that everything comes a standstill in the UK during extreme weather. We hardly mobilize at all during the occurrence of snow and apparently other countries laugh at us. It has been calculated the if half the money we'd lost from the economy had been spent on standby services over the last few eighteen years, we'd be slightly better financially, as a nation, now, in the aftermath of the snow.

Yes it's true that's the kind of arcane calculation that dominated much of the broadcasting over the recent period. It is indicative of the fact that our national consciousness or media or both is dominated by thinking in terms of money. It is said that we are largely de-politicized in the UK but I haven't found this to be the case. I would be hard pushed to find someone who did not have an opinion on public policy. Especially when it comes to the actions or inactions of the local authority.

I must admit, as a council employee who didn't do anything during the bad weather I feel I could have been better employed. Although usually employed in the realm of teaching adults ESOL and literacy, if I had been asked to volunteer to get on a buggy (my imagination fails me... a what... a kind of snow plough troop carrier, open to the elements) to go out and clear pavements. I'd have done it; we'll maybe for a few hours. The thing is, nobody else did it. I am in my thirties. I like walking and I wear walking boots. I slid around and walked cautiously. I reckon it was even harder on the physically infirm, the disabled and the elderly.
One thing that was nice about the weather was that people started thawing out and becoming a little bit more human - even in Croydon. It was like, well, I can't charge down this road at the moment because there's ice on it. On a public level, we could do other than acknowledge our weakness, or perhaps powerlessness over the weather. Something of the insidious self-importance and self-will fell away from us.
It was great to see the roads getting usable again and I felt grateful to the trailblazers who had dug their cars out early and got out on the roads who help to wear down the snow to the level where they were truly drivable again.