Friday, February 6, 2009

We've ground to a halt haven't we?

Question Time was most entertaining last night. Will Young - I thought he was very good and very refreshing. He could do with speeding up his speech though. He has a tendency shared by one of my relatives. He speaks, sometimes, with big gaps between his words, so you almost nod off while you're waiting for the next word.

Shami was at her most effective. She really is a whirligig of passion.

The part of Geoff Hoon was played by a lump of wood.

I was interested in the discussion about snow and the country "grinding to a halt". Nigel Farrell, for it was he, said that local authorities used to have comprehensive and elaborate plans to borrow tractors from farmers to combat the snow. But that has all gone now, he posited.

He's barking isn't he?

The only scintilla of insight which I can bring to the great "Should the schools have been closed for four days?" debate is this. I spoke to a very experienced headteacher on Tuesday and he said that he had only ever closed a school for one day up until last week but this week (as of Tuesday) he had increased that record by 400%, because he closed two schools for two days. (Indeed, now the record has been increased by 800%). He was not a happy bunny. It was obvious that such decisions are taken with a very heavy heart. But the decision appears to be based on a combination of two main factors:

1. Can (or indeed will) the kids and the teachers get to school, and return home, safely?

2. If the school is opened, if the fire alarm went off at 10am could the school be safely evacuated?

So, I'm with the headteachers here. They have a difficult job, but the safety of staff and pupils is paramount.

Full marks to those teachers, by the way, who on Wednesday (when many schools were open) gave their children homework to be done on Thursday if the school closed again.

One final point on this "Britain grinds to halt" nonsense. (Costigan Quist on Himmelgarten Cafe wrote an excellent post about the silly estimate in the FT that one day of disruption cost the country $1.2 Billion, by the way) One thing that appears to have been missed is that a large number of people can now work from home at the drop (or, indeed, the non-drop) of a wifi.

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