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Flurry of snow brings hysteria

PUBLISHED: 10:12 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:22 05 July 2010

WHAT a pathetic lot we are when it comes to coping with a bit of white stuff.

Forecasters predicted the worst snowfall on Monday since 1991 bring hysteria across the country reining the nation to a grinding halt.

WHAT a pathetic lot we are when it comes to coping with a bit of white stuff.

Forecasters predicted the worst snowfall on Monday since 1991 bring hysteria across the country reining the nation to a grinding halt.

And halt it did, in spectacular fashion.

A fifth of Britain's workforce - 6.5million people - didn't even try to get to work costing the economy about £3.5bn, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Some areas of the southeast had more than a few inches but most of us saw only 2cms at worst - barely a sprinkling - but that didn't stop us joining in the stay-at-home panic.

If the rest of the country was in a White Hell and getting a day off, we weren't going to be left out.

Throughout Monday at work, I logged on regularly to county council websites to see the rapidly increasing numbers of schools closing.

Like an avalanche, one closed and dozens followed, citing reasons of the “threat of heavy snow” and “fears” for staff and pupils' safety if - note if - the snow came.

Just the prospect of a little snow was enough for heads to close schools forcing parents to leave work to collect their children, in most cases totally unnecessarily.

They managed to negotiate roads in their usual journey time with no hold ups but teachers feared getting home.

Many were livid that they had to take a day's holiday - or unpaid leave - adding more to the losses in British industry and business.

Hardly a lesson in resourcefulness and fortitude for pupils.

I wonder how many of those heads and teachers citing health and safety reasons an the safety of their communities for closing checked on the wellbeing of elderly neighbours or cleared ice and snow from their paths or checked they were warm enough.

I'd like to think they were equally as concerned for others' welfare as their own, though I doubt it.

How is that all normality and sense is suspended with the first flurry? Buses, trains, planes halt. Not in the face of six-foot drifts but at the hint of snow.

As a developed country in the grip of a recession, it's pathetic that we're prepared to shut up shop and take cover in the face of the sort of conditions that other countries take in their stride and thrive in.

The deliveryman who brought my weekly groceries laughed at the siege mentality of his other weekend customers.

“I've never seen so much bread and milk on orders. And tins.” People stocking up to be snowed in for what looked like weeks.

Snowed in? In built up areas? We're not talking Siberia and remote mountainous regions. Still, their over-reaction gave us a laugh.

As the first flakes fell, those usually indecisive and dithering for the rest of the year instantly focused on the first sniff of snow and even the most acute waverer didn't hesitate to shut, stop, close, abandon whatever they could - just in case.

Our inability to function in a few inches of snow while the rest of the world can continue quite normally is ridiculous.

Heaven knows how we'd cope in a real emergency.

SUSPICION, prejudice, old-fashioned bigotry and ignorance are depriving young men of inspirational careers and boys of the role models they so desperately need.

No wonder boys are being feminised and girls are leading the way in the classroom, empowered by the female role models they are with every day.

Boys are sometimes 11 before they even see a man in the classroom, by which time some boys have been turned off education and learning, misunderstood by their female teachers in an increasingly feminised education system that under-values and fails to recognise the individual strengths of boys.

Where are all the men we, as mothers of boys, so desperately want in nurseries and primary schools?

We might well ask. They've run like the wind from a job they would probably love because of negative vibes of the nudge-nudge wink-wink brigade and their ignorant whispering about men who want to work with children.

Also, relatively low pay puts them off and, let's face it, being a sole male in a female-dominated primary school isn't a great prospect for any man.

So, as society has become more suspicious and mistrusting of men around small children, fewer men seek jobs with the under 11s and even fewer consider a job as a nursery worker.

But this age - babyhood to 11- is exactly when boys need role models. So many boys have no man in their lives at home, parented by their mother, supported by their grandmother then, at school, all they see are more women.

I would have snapped up a nursery place for my boys if a male worker was there and would actively seek out a primary school with male teachers.

Boys miss out without them.

Many female teachers are excellent but I've come across too many who expect boys to behave and react just like girls and humiliate and belittle them because they don't.

Childcare should be a career for men just as much as women - just like parenting is. In the recent survey by the Children's Workforce Development Council, of 1,000 parents quizzed, 57pc said they believed men and women had different skills to offer young children in their care, but 59pc said there was not a single man employed at the nursery to which they sent their child.

It says it all. But, sadly, it's parents and their silly prejudices that are putting off the men. Time for change surely, for our boys and men of the future.

SO new mums Billie Piper and Natasha Kaplinsky want to cut back on their work to spend more time with their babies.

And we're all supposed to say “aaaah” and agree that it's the best thing for both babe and mum.

Now they tell us. These are exactly the sort of women who have been preaching we could have it all, “juggle” - the dreaded word of the have it all generation - work, family and home and bake our own bread at the same time.

Now, when ordinary women have no choice but to run back to work to help pay the mortgage and bills a nano-second after leaving the delivery room, those who can afford to stay at home are spouting its virtues. All right for some.

IS there anything Jamie Oliver isn't responsible for?

Now the lisping profanity-spouting domestic god is apparently responsible not only for making a generation more healthy but brainier too.

His Feed Me Better is given the credit for boosting 11-year-old's performance in the classroom in one area after a year on his dishes because they make the children calmer and able to listen and learn.

Does he not eat his own food then? The children might have improved but he's still the same hyperactive overgrown schoolboy with a Tourette's style propensity for outburst swearing and manic jerky jumping.

PRINCE Charles was photographed looking a little down at heel in a pair of battered, scuffed and faded shoes that had seen better days.

Credit crunch Charles? Hardly. The shoes apparently cost him £2,500.

For a pair of brown brogues? He was done. He should take them back and get a refund. For £2,500, a pair of shoes should last a lifetime, at least.

FUNNY old week. Green King Jonathon Porritt condemned couples that had more than two children as “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, even if they can pay for them, and across the pond a mother of six gives birth to octuplets after fertility treatment.

Families here choosing to have three, four or more children because they want a big family, are responsible enough to pay for them are condemned yet our welfare estate keeps numerous children of men with different mothers - regular guests on the Jeremy Kyle show - who have nothing to do with their seven or eight children scattered across the country and certainly never pay a penny.

Big families are easy targets. Especially responsible families who listen to advice.

Those who breed for fun indiscriminately are untouchable and state-funded.

And as for the new mother of 14 children who, apparently, has no means of raising them as a 'student” and expert in childcare - she'll have to be - lives in a three bedroom home with her parents and is looking for sponsors and financial help via Oprah Winfrey show?

Here I know childless couples fighting to have more than one embryo implanted during last chance IVF and doctors there implanted eight, to a non-working single mother of six?

Those poor children will need more than all the luck in the world to get them through.

DANCING on Ice is like the Battle of the Boobs. Have you ever seen so many inflated cleavages stuffed into sequined Lycra?

Melinda, Colleen, Jessica. Like balloons on legs. But even the girls' plumped up fronts pale into insignificance beside the corpulent Todd Carty whose ample frontage does nothing to help him move on the ice.

Has anyone else noticed his resemblance to a huge old St Bernard dog on blades? It's uncanny - just like a hulking great hound, complete with pleading big eyes. But at least a St Bernard has its uses on ice.

But for us who grew up with the 45-year-old Tucker Jenkins, we're getting the most uplifting laughs on Sunday nights to make dull winter weeks start better. Go Todd - a fine example of pluck, guts and effort.

And a prayer for poor Susie Lipanova who drew the shortest of straws in the partner stakes.

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