Okay, how does this work?
1) Retailers complain that the snow is keeping customers away.
2) Shop shelves are empty because of panic buying.
I could understand if they were in different newspapers, but no. These are both in the same newspaper. In the same article.
Come on now, newsmen. You can't have conflicting scare stories running simultaneously. Pick one and stick with it.
Besides, an old cynic like me can see alternative explanations for these scares. Many people are waiting for stuff they've ordered online - including me - and we all know that the post office vans wait around the corner until they are certain you are either out or in the shower.
So, do you take the risk that the Christmas stuff won't come in time or head to the shops and risk finding that 'We tried to deliver while you were out because it's more fun that way, ha-ha' card on the doormat? Personally I take the line that the present is the same whether handed over before or after Christmas so sod it. It's not as if there's any real significance in the handing over of presents anyway, for most of us. (Just call me Ebenezer. Everyone does at this time of year).
As for the panic buying - bread and milk? If I thought I was in danger of being snowed in for weeks, I'd stock up on dried and canned foods. Rice, pasta, stuff that keeps for ages. That way, if I'm not snowed in after all, I haven't wasted loads of money filling my freezer with stuff that's still available. The canned and dried goods will be happy at room temperature in a cupboard and will get used eventually, and I won't have to ruin my tea by dropping a chunk of frozen milk into it.
Why do people always go for the bread and milk? I suspect it's because the newspapers tell them to. There was a day recently when the local supermarket shelves were almost breadless but they were full again the next day. Pasta and rice? Fully stocked shelves throughout. Likewise, there was no shortage of anything canned or frozen.
If I was a supermarket owner, I'd want to shift the perishables quickly. No hurry on the long-lasting stuff, they have use-by dates far in the future. No, the ones to move are the short shelf-life ones. Like bread and milk.
If I was unscrupulous, I might look at the snow and think 'Oho, what if people thought the bread and milk were likely to run out? What if we're a bit slow at restocking the shelves for a day or so, to make them look bare? That would get a load of stuff off our hands and we wouldn't have to mark so much of it down for a while.'
But then I'm not a supermarket owner. I also don't have a freezer full of bread and milk because they aren't essential to me. So it's only an observation.
These scare stories aren't really scary. So the post is delayed and Christmas presents will have to be New Year presents instead. It's not a big issue, really. So people spend less on junk they don't need this year. I fail to see why that's a bad thing. So you can't get milk or bread for a day or two. There are other things to eat. Milk and bread will be back.
There is mass panic over these trivia, and people don't even seem to notice the paradox inherent in 'people can't get to shops but the shops are running out because people are buying it all'.
Yet tell them you plan to add a switch to the Internet to control what they can and cannot see, tell them it's 'for the cheeeldren', and they meekly accept. They really, genuinely believe that it's only to control porn sites. They could, of course, simply not go to those sites or install software that stops their children accessing them, but no. Nanny must do it for them. Then, when Wikilieaks disappears, they'll assume it's shut down. When all opposing views to any government program fail to appear, they'll assume everyone must think it's okay and that they are odd for not liking it very much.
The loss of pubs and other social gathering-places means that for many, the internet is now their principal contact with the wider world. We are being closed into individual boxes and fed through a pipe. At the moment, we can see out through the pipe but all it would take is one little bend...
...and there are many who will then accept all that comes down the pipe, secure in the knowledge that Nanny is hiding anything that might alarm them. If it doesn't come down the pipe, it doesn't exist.
The pipe is already bending. Riots in Rome and Athens and elsewhere took a long time to reach the media outlets that reported it. YouTube had the news faster. The pictures of Ice-Age-like frozen statues in Rome or the lighthouse encased in ice in America drift in as pretty pictures, not real stories. The real story is global warming. Frozen fountains in Rome are just another circus act, no more evidence than the lion-tamer. The coldest winter in a century is 'weather' while dodgy temperature records going back thirty years are 'climate'. Doublethink. Go on, give it a try. Dozens of total cretins can't be wrong.
The real danger of Wikileaks is not in its philandering boss, nor in the trivial gossip it has published lately. No, the real danger is the idea. If Julian Assange takes one last walk in the woods, then another will step forward. And then another. Some of them might be able to make even better use of the idea. They might be even better at publicising its existence. That can't be stopped.
What can be stopped is your ability to access it. That can be very easily stopped.
The anti-filth filters don't block web addresses. They block content. So any flash of flesh can be detected and you'll get a wagging finger and a voice saying 'Naughty' on your monitor. Those who are delighted to support this are missing the key word. Content.
It blocks content. Therefore it can be set to block any form of content. Someone wants to publish the latest government deviousness? Set filters to 'stun'. Now you can't see it, and you get the same screen so what do you assume? 'That link must have been a lie, it's porn spam'.
The best part? If you want, you can phone in and have the filters taken off. But they are officially only filtering porn. Therefore if you want the filter turned off, you've just set yourself up as an easy target because there is, on record, a request from you for access to porno filth and depravity. As the sheeple have been conditioned to know, if you're into granny sex you are also into child sex. Therefore it is legitimate to impound your computer, load some child porn onto it and send you to the stripy hole where Sweaty Bob McVaseline will plug into places no USB device has plugged before. Well, not that I know of, but I don't hang around with the sort of people who have a USB fetish.
Even then, you only get the porn filters turned off. Just the first layer. You'll still have to fight those set to block other content. If you succeed, well then the above scenario will deal with you before dawn.
And yet what are people getting worked up about? Bread, milk and the latest netbook or Kindle or iWant or some toy that looks like a robot but does none of the things shown on TV or 3D TV that will make you vomit or anything that can be remotely controlled - and not necessarily by you.
The Queen's head possibly being removed from stamps is a distraction. So we'll get EU stamps, so what? It'll cost us the same to post stuff and it'll still be scanned on the way just the same. I'm very much against having our postal system taken over by the Germans because we risk getting stamps with a Heinkel He111 on them and the word 'Nyah' under it. Even so, it's a distraction.
Buried in the news is the dismantling of our police force. We have been trained not to trust them so we'll all go 'Great, the little buggers deserve it' and that is entirely the wrong reaction. The ACPO will still be there but they achieve nothing. Front line officers will be cut.
Okay, if you're reading this then porn and games are not your only Internet interests. You will be aware of the riots all over the place, including in London and other UK cities. You will also be aware that this is going to get worse. So why are the Coagulation cutting front line policing? It seems obvious that when more and deeper trouble is inevitable, the services you need to boost rather than cut are police, fire and ambulance. Yes?
Well, if you're worried about stamps, this will give you a heart attack. If the UK police are short handed when the fan/faeces interface occurs, where will they get reinforcements? From the EU. Have you experienced French police? None of this 'minimum damage' crap with them. Tear gas, water cannon, whack the buggers and then arrest what's left.
Yes, this is the country that invented stamps but this is also the country that invented centrally-funded police. EU history does not like that. The EU must be the inventors of all things, including tarmac, the pneumatic tyre and the steam engine. They can't claim to be creators of the planet because even the dimwits who like them won't believe they could get as far as what shape it should be in six days. Or even in six billion years. The British are a pain because they keep thinking up new things instead of sitting around pavement cafes drinking latte and saying 'How am I zupposed to Create wiz so many deestractions?'
I mean, are bread and milk really the only things worth getting frantic over?
For most people, it seems so.