Friday, 3 December 2010

The big freeze

Sky News announced last night that the country was 'at a halt'. Given that there has been relatively little snow in the West Midlands and traffic was flowing freely, I was a bit puzzled about this until I realised that Kent and Sussex were at a halt (plus the north-east and most of Scotland but they don't count).

Labour has tried to make political capital out of the weather which is a bit rich given the problems they encountered when they were in office. Of course, all oppositions have the irritating habit of jumping on any bandwagon that comes along. The Conservatives were doing it all the time and the Lib Dems were even more opportunist as events have shown.

Even so, Mr Milibean (as Private Eye have named him) ought to think before he or his shadow ministers speak out, notwithstanding their success on sport partnerships.

There have been the usual chorus of complaints about our inability to cope although it has been a very heavy snow dump in many parts of the country. Even the Isles of Scilly have been hit.

The big problem has not been lack of grit or gritters, but snow ploughs. One could spend more money on snow ploughs but they are an expensive capital asset will stand idle for much of the time (admittedly one can improvise a snow plough as many farmers do). One could have more snow ploughs but the price would be a cut elsewhere in already depleted local authority budgets.

Where there are legitimate grounds for criticism is the lack of inadequate contingency plans and the failure to provide information to stranded travellers, in particular by updating internet sites. Information can be disseminated very quickly by sites and text messages.

No comments: