Leading article: Snow patrol

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The Independent Online

It is customary for the British to greet extreme weather with a mixture of contempt and envy: contempt for the response of our services, and envy of other countries' better preparedness. But as we report this morning, though much of the country is covered in snow for a fourth day, that is nothing compared with the adversity other countries endure.

In Russia, 300 people freeze to death each year on the streets. In Afghanistan, whole families huddle around stoves for days on end. In Sweden, death by falling icicle is a regular occurrence. For all that Britain has been covered in white this week, nothing so tragic has yet been reported – or is likely to be.

Might we not, taking this perspective, stop complaining and follow where others lead? New Yorkers put snowploughs on rubbish lorries. Icelanders use geothermal springs to heat bus stops; Finns and Norwegians use them to heat pavements. The Swedes wear long johns. As they say in Stockholm, "There is no bad weather. Only bad clothes." Wrap up warm, and enjoy it while it lasts.