Mark Steel: Snowmen are costing Britain billions

It's fine to skip work to play in the snow. But strike, and you wreck the country

Share
Related Topics

Snow used to be annoying, because it made everything stutter at half-speed, leaving you frustrated on icy rail platforms, or trying to find out what time the school would open. But now it's brilliant, because the moment a snowball's worth has settled every single thing packs up completely. It's not worth even asking whether a school, bus, library or cardiac unit might be opening. Just frolic about and laugh at the idiot spinning his car in circles.

Most things were still shut on the second day, even though the snow had mostly gone, because someone said there might be more coming. If one of these space probes finds evidence of snow on Mars, the buses will all be cancelled just to be on the safe side.

Then the reporters do that heroic bit where they stand under an umbrella gasping, "This LITERALLY apocalyptic downfall has landed on EVERYTHING. It's landed on trees, pavements, even on CATS if they've been outside, NOTHING is spared the relentless flakes. Reports are coming in of people walking across a park to find their socks are quite LITERALLY damp. Huw, I've read the Bible and quite frankly a plague of locusts would be welcome relief after this."

And we're told, "The police have issued a warning that for the time being no one should do anything whatsoever. Even filling in a crossword, they say, could lead to a broken hip or even an avalanche so just sit still for a few more days."

The weather office had been warning the snow would arrive for a week, but still there were hardly any preparations made to keep anything running. Transport for London will probably issue a statement that "This is a valid criticism, so next time we won't be caught out. Instead of cancelling everything on the day we'll cancel everything a week in advance."

As people have pointed out, there are other countries that have snow most of the time. And they keep doing things. For example there's a train called the Trans-Siberian Express. And they must have snow in Siberia. Presumably the board of Virgin trains must think this train has sat in the depot for a hundred years, and every day there's an an announcement that there's no service today because of frozen points at Novosibirsk.

But the most heartening response was from those newspapers that delighted in showing the result of no one going to work, with pictures of cavorting communities enjoying their impromptu holiday.

They must have lightened up, because before, if even one part of the workforce was off because they were on strike, we'd be told this was wrecking the lives of everyone in the country. So you'd expect their response to the joviality would be, "Callous snowman-builders cost Britain BILLIONS!" and to quote a mother saying, "My son was hoping to be a barrister. Now because of this day off school he'll have to make do with spending his life as a penniless nomad."

But now they've seen what fun it is for everyone to stay off work they'll suggest we should all have a general strike. Then they'll fill their papers with feelgood stories about council workers skipping through the bushes, as they don't have to spend their day driving vans and digging graves. Ann Widdecombe will be thrilled at the community spirit, as old and young link arms with a cheery "Good morning", and everyone agrees this a far better way to live, and wonders why no one seemed to think of it before.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: pours or pores, pulverised, ‘in preference for’ and lists

Guy Keleny
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect