Phew. It's another true blue scorcher

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The Independent Online
Story so far. Britain has just suffered its driest winter ever, following its warmest summer ever, and there are fears of intense drought conditions waiting for us ahead in the summer of 1996. But who or what is to blame for this? Mr Weatherman thinks he has the answers ...

So, Mr Weatherman, who or what is to blame for this?

Mr Weatherman writes: I don't think you can say that anyone is to BLAME for bad weather. It is a very modern idea that someone is always to blame. Of course, it is always fun to find a scapegoat and we all need a meaningless sacrifice from time to time, and no one can deny it would be nice to see Michael Howard get his comeuppance, but to say that anyone is to BLAME for bad weather - well, it's like asking who is to blame for gravity or for the fact that two and two make four.

God.

Mr Weatherman writes: Pardon?

God is to blame for gravity ... and for two and two makes four, etc ...

Mr Weatherman writes: So you think that God should resign, do you?

Yes. In fact, I think he probably has. That probably explains why everything is going wrong. God is no longer in charge. Exasperated by centuries of criticism, he has resigned in a huff and at the moment we have a caretaker coalition government of archangels, saints and martyrs, all without experience, who are making a hash of the world.

Mr Weatherman writes: Hmm. It's a beguiling theory, but it's a little outside the scope of a simple weather forecaster - I mean, we don't ever like to admit God as a cause of weather. Not in the short term, anyway. I mean, we don't get up on your TV screens and say, "There were several unexpected heavy thunderstorms in the Lancaster district this afternoon which disrupted power supplies; there was no obvious meteorological explanation for this, so God will have to take the responsibility, I'm afraid."

Why not?

Mr Weatherman writes: Hardly scientific, is it?

I thought you said meteorology wasn't a proper science?

Mr Weatherman writes: Did I? Yes, I rather think I did. Well, the fact is that meteorology is something even worse than a science. It's a pseudo- science. We like to SOUND like a science. We like to sound as if we DO know what is going on, and why. That's why we use so much talk of isobars and degrees and wind-chill factors and things ...

Just because it sounds scientific?

Mr Weatherman writes: Yes. That's why we hate it when you ask who is to blame for bad weather. We don't want to use terms like blame, or bad weather. What is BAD weather? No weather is bad in its own right, only bad for someone. Rain is bad for the cricketer, good for the farmer ...

Oh, come on - who IS to blame for the recent dry summer?

Mr Weatherman writes: Well, the Tories, actually.

The TORIES?

Mr Weatherman writes: Indirectly, yes. Look at it this way. All nature depends on a series of cycles. Yin and yang. Birth and death. Night and day. Hot and cold. Winter and summer. Sow and reap. Wax and wane ...

What's this got to do with the Tories? They don't wax and wane. They just sell off public property to the public.

Mr Weatherman writes: Ah, but you're wrong. The Tories have always been part of a natural cycle of government and oppposition. Once upon a time they alternated with the Liberals. Now they alternate with Labour.

But they haven't been alternating with Labour! They've been hanging on to office grimly since 1979!

Mr Weatherman writes: You're right. And that's the trouble! For 16 years or more the Tory party has refused to alternate with Labour in the great tradition of British politics. We now think this is beginning to affect everything. The abeyance of the old Tory/ Labour cycle is having its effect on the weather cycle, which is also going seriously agley.

You seriously maintain that the longer the Tories stay in office, the more dislocated the weather picture will be?

Mr Weatherman writes: It's just a hypothesis. But it can be easily tested.

How?

Mr Weatherman writes: By the Tories resigning.

And how can that be engineered?

Mr Weatherman writes: I'm glad you asked me that. The easiest way to get the Tories to resign is ...

I'm sorry - that's all we have space for today. Some other time perhaps.

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