SNOW! EH, THAT’S IT
As 2010 started with the worst winter the UK has experienced since the last time we had a right-wing Tory government, Britain entered the year snowbound and with the prospect of the coming year bringing us a right-wing Tory government.
By the time you read this, of course, the snow may have stopped. In which case, the TV news may have no other option than to start broadcasting news on the news. For the past week, I have watched increasingly hysterical reports on the disastrous whiteout conditions. As inane ITN reporter after inane ITN reporter has shouted with ever-rising horror in their voice: “This village is quite literally cut off from the rest of the world. Essential services can’t get through, even emergency vehicles are unable to brave these sub-Arctic conditions. This is, quite literally, a community where non-one can get in or out”. To me the most obvious question is how the hell did the TV camera crew get in there in the first place?
The ITN lunchtime news is in serious danger of becoming a parody of itself during the “Great weather crisis”. Believe it or not, one day this week, they devoted a full five minutes to the earthquake in Haiti which looked like it could claim up to 100,000 lives. This item was followed up by 20 minutes on two inches of snow in Dorset, which had resulted in the a calamitous series of events including the closure of a primary school, and the non-delivery of milk to a tea shop.
Perhaps if they get a heavy snowfall in Afghanistan, we might even get some news about what’s going on over there. After all, they did do a report on the Iraq inquiry, mainly because it was snowing outside. Also, it could have been a repeat from seven years ago, as Alastair Campbell appeared to be telling exactly the same lies as he did in 2003.
And then, worse still, we have had the salt shortage. Say what you like about the old Soviet Union. There may have been severe violations of human rights, and dissidents may have been packed off to the gulags on a regular basis. But when Stalin was sending people off to Siberia, the country never ran out of salt, no matter how severe the winter.
Eventually, emergency supplies of salt were imported from Africa. Presumably, the people of Africa will soon be staging large outdoor rock concerts to help raise money to send salt to Britain. African comedians may well start wearing red plastic noses and coming over here to send crisis reports to the people back home: “This is Fraser, he lives in the village of Bruntsfield, and every day he has to walk two miles to Waitrose in Morningside to buy salt. But when he has walked all that way in the snow, he finds that there is no salt there. Please help people like Alastair by giving now to Salt Aid. Just £3.49 will buy him a week’s supply of Malden crushed sea salt flakes.”
The fact that we are now buying salt from Africa represents progress. Let’s face it, 200 years ago if we needed salt and the Africans had salt, we’d just have gone there and nicked it off them. Or worse still, forced a whole lot of Africans to come over here to clean up our snow.
One right-wing tabloid has suggested we should force prisoners to take to the streets to clean up the snow. I don’t know about anyone else, but I would find it less than re-assuring to look out of my window and see Peter Tobin standing in the street holding a shovel. I think the only really surprising thing about the snow is that Gordon Brown has not apologised for it yet. One of my hobbies for the coming year is to see how oftern Brown says “sorry” between now and May.
And finally, 2010 started with the devastating news that alcohol abuse costing every single person in Scotland £ 900 per year. I find that statistic shocking. My alcohol abuse costs me a bloody site more than nine-hundred quid a year. So there’s obviously quite a few lightweights out there letting the side down!