Stiff Upper Lip? No, It’s Frozen Solid

For the second time in as many weeks, parts of the UK have ground to a halt because of snow. (Snow! In December! Amazing!)  This is causing me much anguish. Not because I am stuck, or cold, or blinded by the glare, but because I am being constantly bombarded by people on the television telling me how dreadful everything is.

Over the weekend, we were subjected to minute-by-minute coverage on rolling news channels as a Virgin Atlantic plane sat, motionless, on a runway at Heathrow Airport. The whole point of the story seemed to be that nothing at all was happening, and yet viewers were repeatedly assured that these were ‘amazing scenes’ when, in fact, the most exciting thing we saw was an arm waving to the news helicopter from the cockpit. Meanwhile, inside the terminal buildings, people huddled under shiny survival blankets and moaned about the lack of mattresses and en-suite bathrooms.  Strangely, although the scenes were reminiscent of those photos of people using Tube stations as air-raid shelters, the famous British ‘Blitz spirit’ was nowhere in sight.

Later, the situation deteriorated dramatically as a little bit of the M25 was shut due to an overturned lorry. (And yes, you guessed it, we had to send a helicopter to film an empty motorway.)  Now, this may be the result of a greasy Northern chip on my shoulder, but since when did a bit of motorway being shut warrant twenty minutes of news coverage, a helicopter, and a ‘BREAKING NEWS’ ticker?

But the absolute final straw, and the real reason for this post, has come today. In a report on the BBC website, a traveller stranded at Heathrow has claimed that ‘we were like the homeless’ after having to sleep at the airport. Now, I realise it’s not the ideal way to spend an evening, but really? Homeless? Is that an appropriate analogy to be using, when you were on your way to Bali for a nice family Christmas while there are real, actual, poor, homeless people spending EVERY night sleeping in far worse conditions than the ones you’ve temporarily experienced?  I’m assuming that, while a night on the floor of Terminal 3 may not be quite the same as a night at the Mandarin Oriental, the majority of those stranded did at least have a) a roof over their heads; b) access to food and drink c) access to a bathroom and d) a suitcase full of clean clothes. And I’m also assuming that most of them will ultimately be awarded some kind of compensation, and that almost none of them will think about giving any of it to Shelter.  Good King Wenceslas must be spinning in his grave.


~ by somethingblonde on December 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “Stiff Upper Lip? No, It’s Frozen Solid”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy . Andy said: Spare a thought for the homeless [of Heathrow] this Christmas. / via @alisonkbirch […]

  2. True. A BBC reporter described driving through snow on the M5 at the weekend as “Absolutely terrifying”! Compared to being robbed at knife point or having an IED rip through your Land Rover in Helmand Province, I’m sure she’s absolutely right!

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