Self Help in Snow Scotland
The wintery weather, let’s face it, is a political issue. Snow, I’m now convinced, brings out the inner Tory in all of us. In extreme situations, when forced to decide where shifting responsibilities lie, most of us revert to a doctrine that could be best be described as pragmatic, old-shires, compassionate Conservatism, as embodied in such unfashionable words as “self-help” and “resilience” and “resourcefulness”. You’ll recognise the ethos embedded in the backbone of the Armed Forces.
Scratch the surface of all but the shiniest new Labour types in weather like this, and it lurks there, that unfashionable, shameful instinct, that clarion call to civic duty. That undeniable urge — whisper it — to show initiative in the absence of a risk assessment and written permission from the State. And yes, such a response may seem desperately unsophisticated, primitive even, in these days when the State rolls like a vast juggernaut, but the thing about 18 inches of snow and a forecast of minus 20C is that (a) it’s not only pretty primitive, but (b) it also stops juggernauts dead in their tracks....
Snow reminds us is that, when necessary, we can still respond as individuals. The lesson is one of self-determination; discovering we are capable of action without having to wait for someone else to make decisions for us. In that sense, the snow brings possibilities of liberation.
So grab the shovel, get out there on the pavement and start digging. Because the freeze can do something very important for Britain. We have become a nation of two kinds of people — those that can do things, and those who can’t, but then spend their lives making rules for everyone else. There is no therapy like digging, nor the grateful smile from someone less steady on their feet than you are, to make you realise that, yes, in fact, you too are capable of doing things. You’re not a passive victim. Snow: you might say, the best political aide David Cameron ever had.
A staggering combination of arrogance, complacency and sheer indifference - Times Online
For the last two weeks Scotland has been ravaged by the worst winter weather seen in 30 years. One might imagine, therefore, that local councils, whose role is to serve the public, would take immediate action to ensure that we are kept well-informed about the state of our roads and pavements — to say nothing of stocks of grit and the advice they offer to local residents, particularly the old and the infirm.
On the contrary, nothing, not even a climatic upset, is allowed to interfere with the inalienable right of councillors and officials to take their statutory break, which runs from Christmas Eve until January 5.
...What emerges from the performance of council bureaucrats is a staggering combination of arrogance, complacency and sheer indifference to the very people they are there to represent — the long-suffering public.
When, over the next year, they face the job cuts and the lay-offs that will be the inevitable consequence of the recession they should not be surprised if the Scottish people who, after all, pay for the councillors and their officials with inflated council taxes, respond with the same shrug of the shoulders that they themselves have demonstrated this past fortnight.