No point in whinging about the snow

OH what a whinging lot we are!A few flakes of snow, the country comes to a halt – and the familiar British sport of hunt the scapegoat starts.We've had Tory MPs blaming the government, ministers blaming the Highways' Agency, and even Highways' Agency bosses blaming their managers on the ground, claiming they didn't do their job properly.

OH what a whinging lot we are!

A few flakes of snow, the country comes to a halt – and the familiar British sport of hunt the scapegoat starts.

We've had Tory MPs blaming the government, ministers blaming the Highways' Agency, and even Highways' Agency bosses blaming their managers on the ground, claiming they didn't do their job properly.

This blame culture frankly serves no purpose – and was anyone really to blame for anything?


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"Finland has feet of snow for four months every year and they cope – we get a few inches and the whole country comes to a halt," has been a familiar whinge.

That's the whole point – the Finns, Americans who live in New England or the Mid West, and Russians know they're going to get lots of snow and ice.

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They put snow chains on their wheels. They buy expensive studded tyres. They know how to drive ice and snow – and their governments go out and spend millions of pounds on road-clearing machinery knowing it will be needed for several months every year.

Last week's spell (which lasted for all of 36 hours) was the first time we've seen real snow in southern England for seven years.

Millions of drivers had never driven on the stuff before, and thousands of others panicked when they saw the first flakes on Thursday afternoon and tried to get out of London on their way home.

Gritters can only be effective if there's been some snow or ice already, otherwise the grit is just swept away by the next car after the lorry, but by the time they were able to get out the roads were filled with lemmings trying to get home early.

With the best will in the world, there's no way that a 20-tonne gritting lorry can weave its way through a gridlock.

Oh yes, we're not the only country to have difficulty coping with snow – American airports are often closed by snowstorms and blizzards.

And drivers in Europe and America do get caught in snowdrifts and blizzards for hours at a time – they're just more responsible than some of the whingers we've heard recently.

On the continent, if they've heard forecasts of heavy snow drivers take precautions like putting a shovel in the car – along with hot drinks and emergency rations.

They don't set off blindly hoping the authorities will have heard the forecasts as well and then start moaning if they're held up for five minutes!

I SOMETIMES find myself wondering about the intellectual capacity of the bosses at the Strategic Rail Authority.

To be honest, I wonder if they've got any intellectual capacity at all!

The SRA has given the go-ahead for the upgrade of the main line between Ipswich and London so it can carry more large containers from Felixstowe.

This is despite the fact that the line is already running at capacity south of Colchester and cannot take any more trains.

Yet it postpones plans to upgrade the under-used cross country line from Ipswich to the midlands – saying containers for the north and midlands can travel around London.

They talk a great deal about congestion on the railways, but their current plans involve . . . more congestion on the railway!

When you're crawling along the main line to London in two years' time and are told it's because you're stuck behind a slow-moving freight train, you'll know just who to blame.

SUFFOLK- born Jackie Elliott was killed by the State of Texas this week – even though there was strong DNA evidence that he was innocent of the crime of which he was convicted.

His case couldn't be re-opened before the state killed him because they couldn't find the time to listen to the arguments before the execution date.

It's so good to know that the State of Texas is prepared to kill people first and then check whether they're guilty later.

By the way, the last Governor of Texas was George W. Bush. Makes you confident about war in the Gulf, doesn't it!!!

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