On talking about the weather and the hell we are going through

February 2, 2009. What a day to remember. It was a Monday, right after… a Sunday.

Freezing weather from the East brought us the “biggest snowstorms in 18 years!”

No trains in or out of London, no buses in the city, curiously even the underground underground services cancelled… the great ex-Imperial capital brought to its knees by some fluffy snowflake and its mates.

And the aftermath? Politicians, pundits and £19k journalists started the usual witch hunt.

The journalists with a 7-day memory: The city wasn’t ready for the snowstorm even though we had known it was coming for four days (aka incompetence argument)

The current Mayor: We did what we had to do to secure the safety of commuters (aka safety argument)

The journalists with a 7-year memory: The councils underinvested on gritters in the last years and even sold some of the ones they had (aka lack-of-investment argument)

The former Mayor: In order to save Sunday overtime costs, some councils avoided the gritting of roads (aka expense argument)

You could argue against and for each and every point above, but stranded myself in South Bucks, I spent some of the day watching TFL’s cameras in London roads… (I know is sad, but what were YOU doing?) and to my amusement, the roads were deserted, other than the random taxi, white van, or lorry…

We have endlessly listen quote-junkie PM Brown’s “exceptional times require exceptional measures”, and someone, at some point in the early hours of 2Feb09, made an executive decision and that’s that. The rest is on today’s news, trying to sell some extra advertising space.

Feeling the innate human attraction for white powder, we went out for a snowy walk but we started to listen a crowd. Yep, up the lovely hill around the corner, hundreds of men, women, hood-wearing teens and children where sliding down the slopes. Together.

From old-fashion wooden slides to plastic ones of every shape and “To Let” and “For Sale” boards ripped from the nearest victim of the credit squeeze.

All ages, social forward and backgrounds, religions, races, industries and walks of life were represented in the laughing mass of arms, different passports, hats and legs.

And then, it happened, I had the inspirational moment I had back when I realised the importance of the late 2008 VAT reduction [03Jan09].

A standstill island has nothing to do with stingy councils, inept officials or underinvestment and all to do with an unofficial, unexpected family day off. We have been punched in the face every day for over a year and the worse seems still to come. Inflation first, repossessions, fear of losing our jobs… that’s it! that’s what we all needed, an unforeseen day off!!

Businesses now talk of £1.2bn loss in salaries and trade, I say, how about the moral shot to the workforce? Look today Mr Business, it is still snowed and the sun shines! Look at your workforce faces, they are smiling, full with high spirits! And that, my friend, given the present market conditions, it’s worth well over £1.2bn.

It’s a pity politicians and journalists still have to make a living and justify their salaries spoiling one of the very few pleasant communal moments of late.

As Cat Stevens used to sing “Where do the children play?”



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