Mandarins and meteorologists form circular firing squad.
If a hit West End play can be made out of Bohr meeting Heisenberg, there must be some promising dramatic material in the blame-game now unravelling in Whitehall.
Airports, energy providers, local authorities and health trusts were caught short by record cold weather extremes this year, for the third winter running – raising questions about the preparedness of the national infrastructure, and the quality of the meteorological advice these agencies receive. And it's not an academic dispute: cold weather kills thousands of people each year, with UK citizens suffering one of the worst winter "excess" mortality rates in Europe. According to figures published by Office for National Statistics, there were 25,400 additional deaths in 2009/10 than in a comparable non-winter period.
The state largely relies on forecasts by the Met Office, a £170m branch of the Ministry of Defence. Until the Met Office stopped providing long-range weather forecasts – because they damaged the "brand", according to internal documents – nine of the last 10 winters had turned out to be warmer than the agency forecast.
Is the Met Office being used as a scapegoat for cash-strapped councils, as an excuse for cut-backs in essential infrastructure? That seems not to be the case, as the authorities cite Met Office advice, and climate change, as a primary factor in their planning.
Updated below from Autonomous Mind