Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cliches of 2010 #6

"Why can't Britain cope with snow while other countries can?"

Because it's not true. Bad weather regularly disrupts travel and normal services in a number of countries, not just Little England.

You hear it time and again, each and every winter, when heavy snowfall is met by headlines like chaos, BIG FREEZE or COLDEST [month] SINCE RECORD BEGAN.

Or, if not "since record began", then maybe the coldest for 20/50/90 years, or since 1962, depending on the article you read. Or, perhaps, even, "AA's busiest night for breakdowns in 25 years" - anything as long as it's a superlative sentence.

And the panicky headlines are invariably accompanied by the usual "Why can't Britain cope with snow?" and "why do we grind to a halt at the first snowflake and other countries don't"? Google those words and you'll find the very same question cropping up dozens of times and not just from this uber-cold 2010 or 2009, but all the time.

And yet it wouldn't take much to clock that weather-related self-flagellation is complete nonsense.

While it's obviously true that the weather is being incredibly disruptive, similar levels of chaos (and casualties, in some cases) are reported across France, the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia as well as throughout Spain, Italy and also Eastern Europe.

Last year was a similar picture, with a nasty cold snap forcing airports to shut, not just in the UK, but also in other countries like Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Northern Italy, etc.

Why some people want to believe that whatever happens on their doorstep is only happening to them and them alone remains one of the mysteries of Clicheland.

#5 "Students should engage in the democratic vote...".
#4 "Society benefits from extreme wealth at the top".
#3 "There are jobs out there if you really want one".
#2 "The Royal Family brings in tourism revenue".
#1 "Iain Duncan Smith is a kind and honourable man"


Charlie said...

But what about the shortage of grit? What will we do without the grit?!

FlipC said...

I've asked that whiny question myself though and although your point is perfectly correct it's still worth asking why we (or anyone) can't cope.

If the country was always under 2 feet of snow our systems would work, because they'd be designed for those conditions.

Likewise if it was always hot enough to melt tar, our systems would cope for the same reason.

It's only when you oscillate between the two that everything falls apart.

Why do we think that it affects us worse than other places? Possible because of the population density (no pun intended) of our island and the high level of commuting that's done.

Combine that with our comparatively softer employment laws that means you damn well better get into work if you want to stay employed; means more people trying to move about in weather they really shouldn't be.

So in terms of conditions it may not be worse, but it could be said our culture make it worse.

the patriot said...

Finally someone with some sense. The population density is exactly where the problem is; erect all the smokescreens that you like but even the most average problem in this once Great britain is aggravated by the millions of people that labour got into this country to fulfil their crazy multicultural project.

Stan Moss said...

Patriot you're one of the main victims of the cuts. You could do with some help but with money being scarce and less funds available for straight-jackets, people like you won't receive the help that is necessary.

FlipC said...

I was going to ask - is this a case of reading what you want to read?

I could respond that over 90% of the population were born here. I could make a remark that sadly the upper tiers of business are still dominated by WASPs and that as such they're the ones who tend to be able to afford to live in the suburbs and commute into the cities and that thus it is they that put such a strain on resources.

But I won't.