Wednesday, 23 January 2013

snow, stoppage, disempowerment

In the winter of 1984-85, it snowed in Rome. This is significant because it was the area’s first snowfall for over a decade. The region did not fall apart, and bus services were only disrupted for half-an-hour while snow-chains were gotten out of storage and put on wheels.

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Fast-forward to Great Britain in 2010, when Labour’s Maria Eagle noted in Parliament that due to snowfall "the country is in chaos, with passengers forced to sleep at stations, freezing all night on broken-down trains or getting trapped in their cars, all at a cost to the economy of up to £1.2 billion a day".

The snowfall had been 2-3 inches. I remember as a boy in Scotland going to school when the snow was up to my knees. Admittedly my knees were closer to the ground then, but they were significantly higher than 3 inches. Buses ran, train users had no fear of the wrong kind of snow and we all knew it wouldn’t be for long because it never is.

But now when the snow falls – as it does most years – an increasing amount of state workers go home early with their employers’ blessings, and many don’t bother going out in the first place. I don’t totally blame individuals, because over the last two decades our largely-unelected Establishment has attempted to control us through a state disempowerment agency encouraging us to see ourselves not as empowered individuals but as contingent upon external forces over which we had no control, like viruses, disease processes, population growth, and the like.

And weather, despite the fact that most years it snows around this time. If you’re able to, get out and do your shopping, and check up on friends and neighbours who are less able. We are disempowered only to the degree we allow ourselves to be.

Charles Bond
300 words

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