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July 19, 2022

“TAKE CARE EXTREME WEATHER FORECAST” screamed the sign at the side of the M4 as the coach wended its way back into Wales from England in the slow lane.

Silly me, I thought, I’m back in a country where other people decide for me what is extreme and what is not.

The superlatives come flying at you with old John Ketley wheeled out of his BBC care home somewhere on the Torquay riviera to tell us it’s the “hottest ever” (didn’t he say that last year?) and that firm favourite journalistic deceit of “unprecedented” in history gets wielded like a cane Whacko-style by Jimmy Edwards as journos and civil servants looking for stories and any work to do ramp up fear to justify their salaries.

Nobody argues, nobody challenges, nobody disputes, nobody denies, nobody disagrees any more – especially not journalists.

Wales – land of song and safety, extreme safety with motorists restricted to 20 mph as speeding health minister Baroness Morgan begs you not to use hard-pressed NHS facilities, don’t be selfish, think of others, listen to BBC Radio Wales for bulletins on how hot it is likely to get and for GOD’S SAKE STAY SAFE, STAY INDOORS, DON’T TRAVEL, DON’T SPEED, DON’T SMOKE IN THE SUN, DON’T DRINK IN THE SUN, DON’T SWIM IN OPEN WATER, DON’T SIT IN THE SUN, DON’T GO TO SCHOOL IN WARM WEATHER, DON’T ARGUE WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU IT’S EXTREME, DON’T BE AN EXTREMIST.

Yes, it’s warmer than it normally is (whoopee!) so the extreme police move in to tell us about potential health and safety dangers and pitfalls as if they were your parents and you were a silly, spoilt brat.

Rails might bend in the sun, sending trains hurtling off track or smashing into tunnels, rivers might swallow up swimmers, rays may blind you or send you into catatonic rage, temperature gauges will smash, bridges will buckle and break, sweltering heat will endanger pets, removing any clothing will risk you catching something, especially if you’re not smeared in cream, water shortages might suddenly start leaving us foaming at the mouth wandering aimlessly around town centres like zombies sucking manically on dry water outlets as we scream at the skies at an avenging God.


Who is behind the decision to put these warnings on the M4?

Pretty soon we’ll have Dr Doom himself, Mark Drakeford standing at a presidential lectern at Cathays with the world’s press hanging on his every utterance advising against sitting in the sun or going out at all, schools will close, trains will halt, buses will stop, shops will close and Drakeford will start to talk v e r y v e r y s l o w l y again like a record that moves suddenly from 45 rpm to 78 emphasising words as if we were too stupid to make informed decisions or lacked capacity and agency.

The signs on the M4 in Wales should say “TAKE CARE EXTREME EXTREMISTS FORECAST”.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 19, 2022 8:50 am

    I enjoyed reading this. It’s so very apt and straight to the point. And so right. There’s me thinking that I can decide for myself what to do in hot weather. I’m off to sit in front of the fan with a cool drink. Is that allowed?

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