Why does this country grind to a halt everytime there’s a dusting of snow? - Sarah Todd

Recent wintry weather conditions illustrate why Britain needs a proverbial kick up the behind. It is an absolute national disgrace how our transport network descends into chaos every time there is so much as a dusting of snow.

Just last week Glasgow airport temporarily suspended all flights, with a Lapland-bound trip to see Father Christmas among those cancelled as a result of the weather.

Let’s just say that again. A flight to Lapland. Now then, what’s the betting that out there in Finland they clear the runways and de-ice the aircraft without so much as a yo-ho-ho?

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We have the most magnificent links with Canada. Some of the most abiding images of our late Queen are of her inspecting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. One of her favourite horses was the black mare Burmese, a gift from the Mounties, who she was riding when a gun was fired during the 1981 Trooping of the Colour.

Walkers on the towpath beside the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge as snow hit the region. PIC: Tony Johnson.Walkers on the towpath beside the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge as snow hit the region. PIC: Tony Johnson.
Walkers on the towpath beside the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge as snow hit the region. PIC: Tony Johnson.

Sorry for getting sidetracked, but surely we are good enough friends with the Canadians for somebody in Whitehall to ring up Canada’s transport department and ask for a friendly lowdown on how the country keeps moving in spite of its extreme weather conditions?

Of course, that would be too simple and (this is one of the only sensible things politician Jacob Rees-Mogg ever seems to have said) it’s apparently been a job to find any civil servants at their desk after the Covid pandemic.

The roads are no better; with seemingly no rhyme no reason to local authority gritting policies. For all the councils claiming to be on the brink of bankruptcy having better forward winter planning in place would surely make sense. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but those yellow trucks sending salt out often seem to be out on random nights and then nowhere to be seen when the temperatures plummet.

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Having grown up in a part of the county where snow often seemed to reach the tops of stone walls, a recollection flashed back the other day of how local farmers used to be used to help clear roads.

Many would turn out because of a sense of community spirit - something their families had always done over the years - while others would have a contract with the local authority and make a few quid from attaching a snowplough to the front of their tractors.

Not much, but a bit of something towards their diesel and time.

While there are doubtless many farmers who still go out and help, there doesn’t seem to be the same relationship or respect between the powers-that-be and this welly-booted addition to the emergency services.

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Maybe there are too many forms to fill; worries about health and safety and insurance. Whatever, if they’ve not been treated properly farmers do right to turn their backs and get on with their own work.

But back to where we started, with the cancelled ‘plane to Lapland. It is an annual grumble but children really are too indulged at Christmas. What is the betting any youngsters who did make it to the real Father Christmas’s grotto over in Lapland will still get the same array of presents that they would have got if they hadn’t had such an expensive treat?

Every school in the country - whether primary or senior - should sit youngsters down in the run-up to Christmas and teach them how to write a thank you letter. At the very least an email message. Just for once, they could have a break from assemblies about being vegan or transgender and learn the useful art of corresponding.

As an aside, how on earth has Royal Mail got away with now charging £1.25 for a first class stamp?

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The price rises are an absolute disgrace and will mean a lot of people who look forward to the sending and receiving of Christmas cards will be priced out of doing so.

We have a lovely postman, a true gent, and when he’s not working the post lady that covers is a real breath of fresh air. One of those people for whom the glass is always half full. It’s a joy to chatter on the doorstep as terriers are told off for yapping.

Such a stark contrast to the other delivery drivers who are obviously under such time pressure they nearly always run a cat over as they chuck parcels (usually clothes the 20-something daughter has ordered) onto the front doorstep without so much as a grunt.

They are slaves to the phones they continue holding in their hands as they drive, speeding off on their wild-eyed search for the next drop off.

Perhaps we could do with a good snowdrift to slow them down.