... wearily I have to explain for the fifth time that ice and snow events are rare enough in the UK not to maintain a standing provision for them - it's easier to take a minor economic hit from snow disruption every ten years than pay for kit and provision that will be redundant most winters.OK, so the 17:05 from Waterloo to Weymouth broke down. It's what happened next, or rather, didn't happen, that is outrageous and, in it's own way, very worrying.
Was this train lost? No: its exact position was known. Was this only known to a single individual in a control-room, who lost his head? No - it was known to at least as many people who'd been 'phoned or otherwise contacted on social meejah by the dozens of passengers, as well as the management of South Western Railways. Was it miles from anywhere, in the middle of the Scottish Highlands? No: Christchurch in Dorset, for pity's sake (look at the map). Less than 2 miles from the nearest station. Was this a serious situation, demanding immediate action? Yes, in the overall scheme of things: no electricity, water, heating or toilets after a while, on an extremely cold night - South Western were lucky not to have had a couple of fatalities on their hands.
So WTF were they doing? Clearly, fuck-all. But it would take 15 minutes max for people with the right kind of thought-processes to come up with an intelligent plan to alleviate the situation at very least, if not to mount a full evacuation, in a couple of hours.
There's a problem here that one encounters in the Army. Enthusiastic young officers are generally polite middle-class kids, and a typical situation in the field goes like this. Senior officer, over the radio: "Engage and destroy the sniper position in the building 500 metres to your east." Junior officer: "Our line of sight is obscured by the high wall we are taking cover behind." S.O: "Then blow a hole in the fucking wall!" J.O (thinks): *... but wouldn't that damage the wall ...?... oh, I see!*
In other words, a lot of people need to be taught that some circumstances demand Appropriate Action Now. With no need for a Safety Case.
But there we are: it's 2018 and virtually no-one today has any military experience. What a soft lot we are - and how dangerous that is, to life, limb, and our society as a whole.
PS, In other Snow News there has been an interesting situation in the gas market this week. More anon.