Opening any newspaper or listening to the TV/Radio news over recent weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that Britain is gripped in the ‘mother of all winters’… A freeze so bad that most of our resident zoo penguins have actually applied to emigrate!
Yes there have been a few sad tales of death and injury, along with stories about failed utilities and other personal difficulty. In most cases the deaths and injuries have been down to human stupidity or driver incompetence and, the remainder of the problems have been little more than an inconvenience. It is the media (as usual) doing a bit of scare mongering and exercising their skills of sensationalism in reporting. After all, headlines like ‘Local woman suffered four inches last night’ probably wouldn’t sell newspapers (at least not the broadsheets)!
Now don’t get me wrong, I have every sympathy for the relatives of dead or injured motorists, for the elderly suffering from the prolonged cold spell, for those who have experienced problems with gas and electricity supplies or indeed, those who ARE actually snowed in and unable to get out to the shops for food etc. What I find hard to come to terms with is feeling anything but contempt for those people who simply don’t even try to help themselves. They sit complaining about poor forecasting, blaming the council for not clearing ‘their’ road and, the emergency services for not attending their minor collision. One that would never have happened if they’d taken the advice and bloody well stayed at home!
Although people’s frustrations may (in some cases) be partly justified, continually rebuking the council and emergency services for what are (in many cases) their own failings, is totally nonsensical. I was therefore heartened to read the editorial remarks ‘Chilly Perspective’ in this week’s Darlington & Stockton Times ‘Comment & Opinion (08-Jan-10). The editor sought to balance out the views of the gloom mongers and give the readers a bit of a reality check. Judging by the letters page I suspect his comments may well have fallen on deaf ears.
One of the letters entitled ‘Weather woes’ provides an excellent example of our winging and moaning society… A lady who runs a Riding Academy business was banging on about being ‘isolated’ and went on to say… “This isolation has been imposed upon us by our local councils and their lack of care towards us”? The main thread of her complaint was about how the council had not cleared ‘her road’ of snow.
The woman (who appears to be a recent resident of the countryside by choice) also talks about her car getting stuck and slipping off the road because of snow. Perhaps she should have stayed at home or, could benefit from some additional driver training? People really do need to do something to look after themselves (and others if able), before expecting someone else to do it for them.
She chose to live in the country however, four miles from the local town is hardly what she calls ‘isolated’. If she can’t get out in her car perhaps she should chose a suitable vehicle or, ride one of her horses to town? She could even try walking after all, a waitress in Durham walked 14-15 miles to work this week to beat the snow. Reading between the lines, I suspect a major factor in her tales of ‘woe’ is actually her reduction in clientele during the recent cold weather? Could these clients be the people who are actually heeding the official advice to ‘not travel unless absolutely necessary’? Perhaps she will be comforted to know that her business will not be the only one suffering during this difficult period. Where does she get off trying to unfairly blame the council (or the weather) for her own personal and/or business shortcomings…? Get a grip woman!
The TV weather forecast says she might get 8 inches tonight… I hardly think that likely with her attitude!!!