It happens every year!

… that is, the self-important media pronouncements about our inability to cope with the snow.

Why we’re a laughing stock with the rest of the world – David Jones, Daily Mail

This bursting urge to point out our national shortcomings is like a comfort blanket for the terminal self-deprecator. It usually sits pretty squarely with the usual Daily Mail response to local authorities, the previous Labour government, Health & Safety and so on, but it’s also contradictory. To describe ourselves as a “laughing stock” suggests that FOREIGNERS may do things better than us. How’s that work, when they’re all feckless communists, out to bleed us dry via EU bureaucracy? It’d probably be unnecessarily cruel to point out to Mail readers (and columnists) that other countries haven’t the slightest interest in how we’re coping with the snow.

Many of the problems experienced by people in this (and every other) freak snowfall are down to personal choice. The choice to drive across countryside at midnight; the choice to send your kids to a school that’s way beyond wellies-and-scarves walking distance away. Yep, you give people personal choice (you wouldn’t get that in a nasty Labour politically correct nanny state, hohoho no) and what do they do? They make a right bloody pig’s ear of it and moan because the politically correct nanny state didn’t come and dig them out.

And then there’s the killer argument, typical of all these articles, running along the lines of… “THEY COPE IN SWEDEN!”

Well of course they do. When your annual weather pattern involves 3-4 months of snowfall, regular as clockwork, you can invest in the infrastructure to deal with it. When the lower temperatures mean that the snow is dry, powdery and easy to shift, you can have a quick run round with the snowplough every morning and keep the roads clear. That’s not quite so easy when the snow can melt to sludge and then refreeze to something resembling reinforced concrete in the space of a few hours.

The only given in this country is that there’ll be snow on the hills every year. The lowlands and cities, where the majority of the population lives, went nearly ten years without any significant snowfall. And then we had short bursts in February 2009, December 2009, January 2010, November 2010… if a local council started investing serious money in snow-clearning equipment based on such unpredictable freak events, there’d be an outcry in the tabloids. SICK KIDDIES DEPRIVED OF CARE TO PAY FOR SNOWPLOUGHS IN MILDEST WINTER EVER!

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