Time to play snowballs and export to the Spaniards

It’s a grumpy adult who does not share some child like sense of fun at the possibilities of play in the snow. When I had young children at home we looked forward to the snow, to make Snowmen, hurl snowballs, and see if there was a local slope that you could slide down.

I also seem to remember we did all that before going to school and work in the morning, or when we got home, or at the week-end. This week we have seen two interlocking phenomena – adults enjoying play with their children, which is a good thing, and people deciding that snow provides an excuse not to do anything, which is not such a good thing.

On Monday when many decided not to go to work I had my easiest journey for years to get to the office. Yesterday I had to be in Wokingham for a short meeting in the morning, followed by a visit to a local school, and then emails and letters to do at home. I was booked for a meeting in Oxford at 4, had to be in Henley at 6.30, and turn up to speak at a dinner wearing a DJ in Aldershot at 7.45pm before going back home. The bus and train timetables confirmed the usual – even if they had all been working there wasn’t a prayer of doing that by public transport, let alone carrying the change of clothes round with me all day.

I heard that it would be unwise to venture onto the roads. However, I found to my pleasant surprise that cautious driving was quite possible. I made all the appointments, with just fifteen minutes delay by the end at Aldershot. I discovered during the course of the morning that the school which had invited me was closed. The other things I was doing were not public sector and they all went ahead as normal, without anyone coming to grief.

This week the UK and London have looked absurd to the outside world. A heavily indebted country gripped by recession and in the midst of a big balance of payments crisis found it difficult to deal with a few inches of snow. We need to prove we have the time to enjoy the natural world and export to the four corners of the globe as well. We need to show some grit in our response to adverse weather. After all, with all this global warming, we should be ready for the unexpected.

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10 Comments

  1. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Well said! I was amazed to hear so many people on the media encouraging absence from work and school. When the snow has gone the same people will be bemoaning the loss of jobs, as the recession bites deeper but oblivious to their own irresponsible contribution. The failure to face up to personal responsibilities doesn’t bode well for our future prosperity.

  2. Brigham
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I watched a bit of Question Time on BBC Thursday. They had some (person-ed), that my wife informs me is a pop star, saying why shouldn’t people take time off with the snow. He didn’t mention doctors, nurses, meals on wheels power station workers, and other essential workers. He appeared equally inarticulate for the rest of the time I watched. Perhaps the BBC should have had Carole Thatcher instead of him.

  3. a-tracy
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Exactly. My husband got chilblains on Tuesday clearing the drive in his work shoes (I know!!) so that we could get onto the main road and then to work and school. The children all played in the snow after school. All of our colleagues got into work all over the UK this week (We did have a problem on Thursday in Peterborough) and did a good job for our clients if we lose a days work we can’t make it up the next day. We don’t get bailed out if we don’t work.

    Were all the people who didn’t make it into work, some through no fault of their own but through public transport closures paid do you think? If business is picking up the tab then nothing will be done in the future it’s that simple.

  4. Neil Craig
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Last night’s news interviewed a man & his son who had walked 5 miles that day. Now I will admit I hadn’t but it doesn’t seem to me like the sort of heroic achievement warrenting such astonishment.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Nice to see a politician/public servant who still can (or at least will try to) complete a full days work no matter the weather.

    When I was a lad schools never closed other than for dedicated holidays, all pupils attended no matter the weather, and I include 1963 when snow was at least 2 feet deep.
    We all walked, in my case about 1 mile to school, having completed a paperound before school and again afterwards.

    The problem now.
    Schools are not local to the pupils any more, many small local schools have closed to make way for fewer and larger schools,
    where pupils are often bused in from a distance, as its deemed too far to walk.

    Health and Safety Legislation gone mad, which has encouraged the Claim Culture. It would appear that no one can now look out for their own safety any more, its always sombodys fault.

    The Nation by and large has got soft and now relies upon anything to aid completing a task rather than do something by physical work.

    How many families sweep/clear the snow from the path outside their house as they used to 50 years ago to aid the community. (think this is still law in Germany).

    Would be interesting if someone had figures to see how many private/fee paying schools were closed as a percentage against those which were State/Taxpayer funded.

    Just for info, it would seem from travelling around, that the main roads in Wokingham A329 did not appear to have been gritted during some of the days of this week, which would not have helped.

    Me, like you I carried on as usual as I run a local business, and if you do not work you do not get paid, and you tend to upset your customers.

  6. Bazman
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The nasty truth is that as it does not snow very much in Britain so there is not really a lot of point in keeping a massive fleet of snow blowers/ploughs and the like gathering dust. Having a day off is a good idea and makes sense in extreme conditions. If you shunt the car, then this will be a lot more expensive than the day off. No heroics thanks.
    Maybe each council should have one special snow bus or the like. For the councillors at least. Not your cheap one though.
    Teachers will not be happy until they work 8.00-14.00 with an hour for lunch. Any excuse for not going to work is par for the course.

  7. Mark
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    There was a real problem in London on Monday morning because the trains, buses and many tubes were not running. I had an easy journey into work but many were unable to get in. I work in the private sector and this was not just absenteeism.

    We rely on those who get up very early to be at work and running buses and trains before dawn. If things go wrong in the early hours of the morning, then transport will be a mess for those of us who travel to work between, say, 7 and 9.

    That said, there must have been many who did not try, partly, no doubt, because of what was being said on the news. I travelled from London to Herefordshire by road today without any difficulty. This was not the impression given by the news, and I am not limiting that to the traditional target of the BBC.

    We need to be more robust about a bit of snow.

  8. Bernard Palmer
    Posted February 8, 2009 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    “After all, with all this global warming, we should be ready for the unexpected.”
    Are you ready John for the unexpected?

    Excerpt from’What is the Primary Fundamental RIght?”

    “Hysteria is defined as a neurosis or fear typically beginning during adolescence or early adulthood and occurring more commonly in women. Girls screaming at a ‘rock’ concert enter into hysteria and become overwhelmed by their herd instinct which calls for them all to move as one. The wild surging forward, the apparent crowd hypnosis and loss of reasoning capability, the supposed inability to make a lucid judgment, all are probable demonstrations of hysteria and associated with a possible collective desire to breed, coupled with a huge fear of not being chosen as a mate. Successful hunters returning with the kill possibly induced ‘hysteria’ in their tribes women then choose the ones they wanted, as possibly do victorious soldiers, e.g. the baby boomers of 1946. Hystera is the Greek name for an empty uterus. It is only called a womb when in baby production.

    Possibly another form of Socialist government induced hysteria and political correctness through herd education is the panic caused by the disciples of catastrophic global warming who are forecasting large unnatural temperature increases and subsequent calamity unless the world production of carbon dioxide (CO2) is immediately curtailed. This worldwide fear mongering is based on known increases in high temperatures of around 0.6 degrees Celsius, increases that hasn’t changed for the last 60 years even though CO2 production has increased greatly during that period.

    N. Scafetta of the Physics Department Duke University, N.C. and B. J. West of the US Army Research Office, N.C. made an amazing discovery which was published in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) journal in October 2006. They discovered that the Sun accounts for over 50% of global warming and has for over the last 100 years of kept records. This means any warming of the planet caused by CO2 is dwarfed by the Sun’s illumination and pales into total insignificance.

    This illuminating fact was possibly confirmed by young Australian researcher Jonathan Lowe in Melbourne who noticed that over the last 60 years there is no temperature increase at night, so CO2 can’t be the cause of daytime global warming because the only thing that goes away at night is the Sun. Plus he found that the daytime rise only occurs at peak sunlight around 3pm and not throughout the whole day which it should do if CO2 was the cause.

    Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia says that Mars surface temperature has increased by about 0.5c over the last 30 years, which is the same as the Earth’s temperature increase and over the same period. As there are no CO2 problems on Mars he concludes that “the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the Sun.”

    The New Scientist reported in January 2007 that Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University had developed a computer model that supposedly shows that oscillations in the Sun’s core temperature last either 100,000 or 41,000 year cycles. These cycles are the known time scales of Earth’s ice ages suggesting any temperature change on Earth is totally dependent on the Sun only and has nothing to do with CO2 emissions.

    The environmentalist broadsheet Planet Ark reported on 16th October 2006 that “Zhang Wenjing, glacier expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, discounted previous forecasts that glaciers across western China could disappear in decades or the Himalayan glaciers could melt away 50 years, Xinhua news agency reported.’ “Those predictions may be excessively pessimistic,” he said. “So far glaciers in the middle and eastern part of the Himalayas have not shrunk on any large scale.”

    The world wide fear of global warming through excessive CO2 emissions has undoubtedly helped reduce the amount of pollutants pushed into the atmosphere and into land fills which then leech into water ways. But 2007 cooled down by about 0.6c according to the four major global temperature keepers, Hadley, GISS, UAH, and RSS. No Sunspot activity was reported during 2007 and the world has lost the warmth it gained over the last 60 odd years in just 1 year. Many climatologists believe we are entering a new Ice Age which should arrive around 2040. If CO2 does cause global warming then maybe we should be increasing its output instead of trying to curtail it.

    Possibly in air polluting cities the soil excavated from new building foundations could be put on their flat roofs and used to grow vegetables or be otherwise grassed, with small trees added. This could possibly act as a form of heat sink close to the source of the pollutants. Eventually these green blocks could possibly be linked, creating a meadow above the streets that could wind in an undulating spiral that encompassed a whole city while hopefully limiting the loss of sunshine to the ground. This could be done by mainly covering buildings relatively near to each other and coming down to ground level where there were none. For the city dweller a pleasant walk or bike ride in the country could be as close as your home’s roof.

    In Japan the common ‘Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament’ known as rickets or ‘bow legs’ which is often seen in many older people apparently has more to do with genetics than lack of sunshine produced vitamin D. The rise of rickets in many western countries supposedly has a lot to do with the Socialist government’s compulsory application of sunscreens for school children in the play ground. Lack of vitamin D is strongly linked to osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, strokes, heart disease, depression, muscle wasting, some gum diseases, breast and colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, etc etc. Supposedly in sunny Socialist Australia as many as 40% of the population are vitamin D deficient as is 70% in sunny Socialist USA. ”

    Are you there John? Still believe in global warming?

    Also most Britons have vitamin D deficiency. The possibility exists that reflecting sunlight off snow can be very beneficial. Skiers tend to get suntans. So taking a day off to gambol in the snow is probably very therapeutic. The British economy’s not savable anyway while it is based on a fiat currency so a few days off will help bring it on sooner what’s inevitablen in your goldless society.

  9. some bloke
    Posted February 8, 2009 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    All bar two of the thirty or so state schools in my city closed on Friday; both of the senior fee paying schools and most of the junior ones were open.
    I expect that was because people who pay want their monies worth while those for whom it is free place no value upon it.

  10. Lola
    Posted February 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I get a lot of grief from ecomentalists using an ancient LR Defender as my daily transport – but I was working this week. They weren’t.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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