Monday, 2 February 2009

"Be prepared" be buggered.

Dramatic warnings about heavy snowfall started to appear yesterday morning. Sure enough, the day dawned with that sort of translucent light through the bedroom window and, sure enough, a carpeting of snow lay all around.As is usual, a slight fall of some 2 inches (five centimeters for the cognoscente), brought almost everything to a swift halt. All London buses - off. London Underground that has open air bits - Off. Major rail networks - Shut down. Airports either closed or reduced to just one runway with consequent cancellations of flights out to allow aircraft already in the air to land. Schools are closed and police and traffic organisations are issuing dire warnings not to travel if one's journey is not essential. The news broadcasts are talking of Arctic Blizzard conditions. The country is at a standstill

I have lived in countries where the snowfall was reported in feet not inches. Vehicle radiators froze up as the vehicle was being driven. Battery acid froze and burst the battery casings. Bare skin stuck on exposed metal. None of these places could be said to be modern in terms of road quality or simple technology such as gritting. But life went on. People moved about - the oxen provided motive power. Animal furs gave protection from the wind. But, life went on. No hiatus as we have here with a dusting of snow and the best of modern machinery to cope with the cold.

I suppose we might get some benefit from the weather conditions. Wildcat strikes have spread very quickly and the protesters are on the march. Hopefully, some will decide that their journeys are not essential. The problem seems to have started after the Italian company IREM won a £200m construction contract and supplied its own permanent workforce. It is understood 100 Italian and Portuguese workers are already on site and 300 more are expected in the coming days and weeks. Doubtless, the contract was placed on lowest cost criteria and the incoming workers are cheaper that UK employees. The actual cause of the action seems confused but that has never deterred the Great British Worker. There is a ghost hovering here like something from Elsinore; fuel distribution may be disrupted. Just in time to add to the misery of the old and handicapped who have trouble meeting fuel costs.

One thing the dispute is doing is to increase disenchantment with the current Government amongst those traditionally its supporters. So, a small benefit there then. I see little chance of the Conservative party hastening the demise of NuLabour as it was dictated by Blair and as it is now under Brown. Cameron has almost the status of the Invisible Man. This was emphasised when he recruited William Hague as the Senior member of his Cabinet and old toughie Clarke to oppose Lord Meddlesome. It is almost as if he has put them into position to further opposition to Brown's team rather than be personally involved. His Party give serious - almost dramatic - accounts of the damage that Labour is doing to the future financial standing of the country but allows these to continue. Ensuring that the situation and damage gets worse by the day.

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