We heard about the oncoming storm for days before – and did we get a storm? Yes actually we did, but to look on Twitter and Facebook you’d think that nothing had happened today. Try telling that to the relatives of the four people who died because of the storms and the others that are still unaccounted for. What is it about the North/South divide that makes one-upmanship over things that are pretty serious a case for jokes.
In the UK we love a joke even during tragic events because it gets us through difficult times – black humour is a great release valve for those occasions. But when the weather turns we treat it like a joke – well Sky News does by sticking an idiot beside a big wave or a fallen tree for hours on end. It’s easy to say “Well we’ve had it worse, I remember in 19-oatcake when the whole town was blown fifty miles to the west…” but if you’re in the middle of it there’s little to find funny about it. The picture above is of three houses that were damaged when a tree fell on them causing a gas explosion – a couple have been pronounced dead and another woman has been taken to hospital for treatment on burns.
I think the reaction form many about the storm came from the over hyping of it by the media – but in this case they couldn’t win. If they had done a “Michael Fish” and ignored or played it down then more people could have been injured or killed. Yes the rolling news is full of correspondents across the south of England pointing at things that have fallen over, but the lead up and information they were giving is an important thing and we shouldn’t mock it too much.
There is a lot of nonsense spoken about weather in this country – well it would be the UK’s specialist subject on Mastermind. The worst kind comes during snowfall when the Scots laugh at the south of England when there’s a dusting of snow – but anyone who has tried to travel in the snow up here can’t take the moral high ground as everything draws to a close up here too. it can be an inch of snow and schools are shut right across the country, traffic is queued up in all directions and there are crashes due to the lack of grit on the roads and idiotic driving. Whether it’s Scotland, England Ireland or Wales the UK is not good at bad weather at all so we shouldn’t be so smug.
When the cold hit earlier this year and all those in the west and south-west of Scotland were without power we didn’t find it funny – but apparently it’s okay to take the piss out of the half a million houses without power tonight. There is always humour in these situations and the reactions by the press in the aftermath, but we need to recognise that the emergency services have to go out in that weather to protect and save people who have to be out because of work. Have a bit of perspective folks, if it was you in the middle of it you’d struggle to find the funny.