Tuesday 3 February 2009

Why Brown Should Order More Snow

Currently there are lots of predictable news stories about how much the snow is costing. It has shut down the country, it is filling up hospitals, thick pupils are becoming even thicker without school, millions, perhaps billions are melting before our eyes etc. etc. All the articles seem to come up with a different figure, rather like guesstimates about the size of a football transfer.

But, what about the gains from snow? These are social, physical and economic, yes, economic.

Who could possibly gain economically? For a start, me.

I don’t have to buy an over-priced sandwich and bun for work. I don’t have the risk of losing my expensive travel-card. I’m not tempted on my way home to buy a beer to cheer myself up.

There are many other economic outlets that benefit:

  • Supermarkets – when I visited one yesterday it was packed. Obviously everyone thought this was the perfect day for shopping.
  • Advertisers – daytime TV and radio will have far greater audiences.
  • Cafes in Parks (if open) – everyone with children is playing in the park so inevitably they need a hot chocolate.
  • E-commerce – people have time on their hands to buy online.
  • DVD Rentals – people want to stay in.
  • Carrot sellers – every snowman needs a nose.

More importantly, the day after a report about why children are miserable, there are benefits for health and well-being.

  • Families have unexpected time to play together.
  • The working sick have time to recuperate – to finally knock-out a persistent cold etc.
  • People are in the fresh air and exercise while building snowmen.
  • People eat more healthily because they have time to cook at home.
  • Teaching improves because teachers have a day to catch up on marking and de-stress.
  • People smile more at each other and say hello to strangers.

Even the unfortunate individuals who live near work so have to go in will gain. They have a chance to work without annoying colleagues barking orders or talking loudly over the phone. The post hasn’t worked properly, so they also have a chance to finally get to the bottom of the pile of unopened letters.

Everyone has time on their hands to enjoy the moment, stare out of the window and do nothing. It is a free extra day – like winning the lottery or gaining an eighth day in the week (with only five at work). It gives one time to think and write reflective articles like this one (a dubious advantage). It might even be a rare chance for some people to re-assess their lives and their real priorities.

The point I am trying to make is such days are beneficial in so many ways. But, the benefit would be lost if they were bank-holidays and you could plan for them in advance. Then they would inevitably turn into days for doing the DIY, visiting aunty Mabel, taking the family to the zoo, or trawling round a shopping centre.

My policy suggestion for Brown’s next manifesto is that he throws in three or four (preferably four) random bank holidays. These would be announced on the 10 O’Clock news the night before. And it would be even better if Brown ordered snow.

1 comment:

Ian Chapman said...

This post is wonderful although I'm rather worried, Calix, that you often by a beer on the way home to cheer yourself up!

Yesterday also, I fear, showed up the rather tame approach of much of the Third Sector. I work in a large open plan office full of different Third Sector Organisations. On our floor - which normally accommodates 60 people - only two made it in...

The Third Sector was - alarmingly -in meltdown with all budgets frozen and plans put on ice. Particularly concerning was the disappearance of those hardy faithful from the Seafood Choices Alliance. Still, I imagine it will all rather boringly be back to normal tomorrow.