In case it has escaped your attention, things are quite busy at the minute. I don’t mean on an individual basis, although with copious amounts of exams and coursework, I doubt you’ve had too much time to relax lately. No, I’m talking about on a national scale, where, for example, Brexit continues to dominate the headlines daily.
That was until last week, when we came to associate the words WARNING and DISRUPTION (capitalised in headlines or shouted ominously by stern-faced newscasters) not with the B-word, but with snow.
Now, I’m not suggesting that the recent snowfall, though undeniably picturesque, wasn’t a pain. Indeed, in some areas of the UK you may well have even described it as a major DISRUPTION over the past week. Yet with the amount that has fallen, I question whether it was quite so worthy of its place high (sometimes even top) on the news agenda.
What makes it all the more baffling, however, is when you place this in the context of the current times we live in. Surprisingly, I’m not (solely) referring to Brexit here. Instead I’m talking about events on the other side of the Atlantic; not Trump, but a so-called polar vortex, which has plunged a third of the US into temperatures of below -17C.
Indeed, at its worst temperatures plummeted to -48C in Minnesota, and at least 21 people are reported to have died, yet news outlets across the UK chose to barely focus on this at all, instead devoting greater air time or column inches to the weather in this country. Though understandable from the point of view of geographical proximity, the endless shots of peeved reporters standing outside, hyperbolising endlessly about the weather, grew more than a little tiresome. After all, what, in essence, was the news they were imparting? That there was snow? Fine. There is often a place for weather-related news, and as stereotypes so often like to remind us, we are somewhat obsessed with talking about our climate in this country. But in many of the shots I saw on TV there was really very little to get worked up about.
Besides, as I mentioned, there are plenty of other things to talk about right now. Perhaps the BBC and the like were, in fact, doing us a public service by stopping the incessant Brexit chatter for a few days. However, the lack of any real story here somewhat undermined this and made them look more than a little stupid in the process.
Image: Steve Webster