As our transport infrastructure crumbles at the first sight of snow, the media is beginning to reflect the astonishment emanating from the rest of the world. In Yakutsk, Siberia where the temperatures regularly drop to -40 degrees a duty airport officer ironically offered to give advice to Gatwick Airport.
In the really cold countries where snow falls heavily and regularly they shake their heads sadly at the sight of inept travellers not being able to cope. How can we design trains for example that can't cope with snow? Why does Southern Rail just pack it in whenever the snow arrives? How come a major airport like Gatwick does not have the equipment to keep the runways clear when Gander, Newfoundland, continues in far worse conditions.
The local councils are claiming that they gritted the roads and yet it really is not apparent in many of the southern counties. Despite that, it still comes down to driving standards. What this cold snap has proven is that driving standards in this country are very poor. The driving test does not prepare people for adverse conditions or even ensures that they can handle their car under normal circumstances.
When one witnesses drivers (most of the outstanding examples I have to say are female) who cannot reverse, cannot park and have little practical knowledge of the highway code then it is hardly surprising that they cannot alter their style of driving in the snow. The driving test in Germany is much tougher and encompasses motorway and night driving and we should seriously look at following their example.
There should be a far reaching government enquiry into what has happened in the past few days and then we must take action. The airports and railways just cannot be allowed to quit so easily without incurring huge penalties and councils who fail to cope must also be held to account.
The British public deserve a better transport system. It has been allowed under the NoLab government to drift into chaotic disarray and The Coalition must get it back in line again.