If you listened carefully to any of the hysteria in relation to the current cold snap, you would be forgiven for thinking that we were in the grips of a 1963 style mini Ice Age. As far as I can remember, it’s been cold for about ten days, with snow that hasn’t shifted because the temperatures have been routinely below freezing. How is this something to be feared? The roads have been clear for most of the time, the pavements so as well; let’s be fair our railways don’t work when it’s windy or raining so how we expect them to work in the cold is anyone’s guess. But for the last few days, weather forecasters, politicians and do gooders in the business community (not business leaders you understand, but those on the periphery who claim to speak on behalf of businesses) have been wishing an end to the cold spell, a return to the bleak, dark, wet winters we are used to.
There is one enormous drawback of the change in weather that we are about to get. Temperatures will be about ten degrees warmer from one day to the next with gales and heavy rain. The results? Enormous and extremely quick snow melt, which can only lead to the one thing which we get whatever “season” we are in – widespread and very devastating flooding. So what’s better – cold, occasionally beautiful weather or floodwater damage? Far better for the weather to stay as it is, and gradually warm up, much as it does on the continent. Funnily enough, as with all things, our continental partners deal with snow much better than us; remember, in parts of Europe there is four or five months of snow, not four or five minutes as we get over here, and their economies don’t seize up completely.
Which brings me nicely to the point. There must be some seriously bad news being hidden somewhere that David Cameron chose to give his Europe bashing speech yesterday. The alternative is that his government has given up on fixing the economy and has decided to reboot the entire country; it’s like cancelling an insurance policy because you don’t use it. There seems to be a concerted effort on behalf of politicians to take us back to the 80s – a Prime Minister constantly at war with Europe, A levels being based on one set of exams at the end of a two year course, a severely damaged economy.
The way that Thatcher’s government got the country out of that recession was by encouraging (if that is the right word) individuals to become selfish and self interested in money as means to an end. Think red braces, Bolly for lunch, Loadsamoney. By empowering the individual, the economy was kick started and a lot of people made a lot of money and put a reasonable amount of it back into the economy in one way or another. The only people making that sort of money nowadays are footballers, and you can’t tell me they actually deserve the ridiculous sums they get paid? But the 80s principal in its purest terms is what will get us out of this mess – the individual taking control of their own destiny, working hard and being rewarded for those efforts.
Ignore what Cameron is saying (“I’ll hold a referendum after we are re-elected” – not sure you’re going to get the chance mate), ignore the fact that we no longer have seasons, just weather, and concentrate on making sure your business thrives. There are opportunities out there – seize them and reflect when the sun is shining and the hay is made.