i Editor's Letter: Blame the unseasonal weather


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The Independent Online


Many of you have now sent in the required paragraph explaining just why we should pick YOU to star in i’s next TV commercial. But, the photographs! Some make you look like you’re a sandwich short of a picnic.

Remember, a (straight) photograph, and that paragraph explaining why you are the reader i needs, by next Friday, 25 November, please. Eek, the end of November. We know it really is this time of the year because it gets dark not long after lunchtime and X Factor and Strictly are already down to their last 100 contestants.

But something is just not right: the weather. We don’t discuss the weather much. It was never supposed to be a major part of i’s news coverage. There’s the Daily Express for that, but – incredibly – I am losing faith in Express front pages. On 20 September, “Britain faces an early big freeze” predicted snowfalls and freezing temperatures “as early as October”. And then, “Big Siberian freeze to hit Britain”(2 November).

I’m fed up with wrapping up warm for the freeze that never came, but not half as fed up as our retailers. Yesterday, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) criticised the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for it “overly bullish” view of the UK high street. The BRC says “consumers are overwhelmingly gloomy”, which seems a pretty accurate assessment.

The unseasonal weather does not help. It just isn’t wintry enough to go shopping when you can still enjoy the park or countryside, or sit outside a pub or coffee shop. Now, desperate retailers are manufacturing events this weekend to get us feeling festive. As I never begin until Christmas Eve, it won't affect me, but for the sake of the economy, lets hope the Express’s weather forecasts turn out to be accurate after all.