One Inch of Snow is Anarchy? An American’s take on Anarchy in the UK

Great Britain’s descent into chaos can only be attributed to one thing, and that is the piling up of under one inch of snow.

Photo: Sasha Veliko-Shapko

I hope everyone can take a break from the abysmal wasteland of anarchy that is, currently, Great Britain covered in under an inch of snow, to try and sympathize with a North-Eastern American rationalize the current weather status. Great Britain’s decent into chaos can only be attributed to one thing, and that is the piling up of under one inch of snow. Tesco shelves have been ransacked for ramen packets and back-up Tennents for the week, and students everywhere have barricaded up their dorms in pursuit of safety. Those living in student halls have seen massive amounts of Porters and staff personnel leave and those who are catered have seen cuts to the dining hours. Store fronts have shut and most horrifyingly of all: Deliveroo is down. This is my first winter in St. Andrews. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know it snowed in Scotland.

I do understand that it is a cold day, and as someone who lives 20 minutes from campus I enjoy the blustery walk just as much as every other suffering student, but something about the outcry baffles me. My best friend and I, who both come from Toronto and New York respectively, call days like this back home a “normal winter day.” Americans from the North East all across the university have been playfully teasing the chaos that this storm has induced. If anything, it does remind me of home, and snow is a certain weather condition that holds a place in my heart. North Americans and Canadians are no strangers to snow. It makes sense that, at a university with so many Americans, a lot of the students don’t see the hysteria behind the snow. The slew of headlines from BBC, The Telegraph, and other British news sources have fed into the mass hysteria currently spreading amongst Brits. Code red emergency warnings have been doled out from lecturers, staff, businesses, and son on, and it’s a reaction I haven’t exactly seen to snow since the infamous blizzard two years ago that brought over 3 feet of snow along the Northeast. A few inches is fun, something to be excited about.

To be fair, I’ve seen plenty of snow angels, snowmen, and snowball fights occur today, and I believe the students are all in good spirits. The nation as a whole, however, has seemed to reach a standstill when confronted with the conditions. Snow is something to be excited about, and not to fear. We all love a good snow day, but don’t feel the need to prepare for an impending apocalypse that is this polar vortex. While most American colleges in the Northeast and Canadian universities have been blanketed in snow since almost November, we’re quite lucky to only receive the final stretch of it.

So today has marked the day that I realize the British are perhaps a little dramatic about weather. Maybe it’s fair to criticize Americans for reacting similarly when it rains, but while I watch almost every service, amenity, and form of life shut down in response to the weather, all most Americans want to do is just show them a single picture of upstate New York in the winter.


Photo: Sasha Veliko-Shapko


  1. The British don’t have the infrastructure to deal with this kind of weather. So yes, people panic a bit. We had the same storm in Ireland and since we also don’t have the infrastructure the country basically shut down. Just because your country is used to it doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

  2. Another example of Americans thinking the world revolves around them
    Also…the saint needs to be proof-reading their articles *American’s *descent

  3. 2010, there was about a foot of snow everywhere and roads were closed across the country, but St Andrews was clear. Many international students forget St Andrews has its own temperate microclimate. Two inches in St Andrews = four foot in the rest of Scotland. 😉 If your stock can’t make it to the microclimate, then there’s still no bread, even if St Andrews is scorching!

  4. Being from the somewhat snowy state of Minnesota I feel a need to add something. Scotland is not prepared for this kind of weather. There is no need to maintain expensive machinery if you only need it every five years when the council has the responsibility of already running so much of what locals depend on. Our schools, rubbish collection and road maintenance have been already getting stretched due to frozen budgets and mounting costs, so of course when side roads are inaccessible and dangerous, stuff shuts down and there is a need to wait a bit before everything is back up and running. I’ve been here 18 years, and your frankly dismissive attitude is embarrassing. This community has pulled together in a way you have chosen to completely ignore. Twenty minute walk out of town? How about a twenty minute drive because it’s the only place you can afford due to the high cost of student
    rentals. Couple students building a snowman? Go to hallow hill or all along the lade braes where you can see families and students sharing sleds and walking dogs since they can’t get child care. I bet you would have seen one parent with the kids while the other parent still made it into work that day. People with 4×4 vehicles are taking their neighbours to work and picking up shopping for the elderly who can’t get out, my vet saved my poorly cat when she had no support because no one else from the practice could come in. Farmers are digging out the side roads, unpaid except in their neighbours thanks, and all you see is a huff and grumble? Maybe before you write that Scotland is a a bit moany and can’t deal with the cold you should open your eyes to the community around you doing there best and report on that.

  5. Pretty well written but a flawed idea – clearly you haven’t tried leaving St Andrews where a 15 minute drive away the snow is waist high, and even in St Andrews the roads are too dangerous for Standard British car wheel grips, hence why people are stocking up as all shops have not been able to restock their shelves all week and Tesco is currently barren. The British shutdown is entirely reasonable if you take your head out of the bubble!

  6. Moronic article. Snow was four feet deep due to drifting in most of the country roads leading into St Andrews. And seeing as this happens very very rarely in Lowland Scotland, that is why there is not enough equipment to deal with such (very rare) events.

    Very, very sad that St Andrews attracts these type of arrogant, haughty, ugly Americans. Hopefully, the university’s new focus on Asia will lessen the admittance of these types.

  7. Yes lump ALL Americans tougher I’m sure those from Arizona and Florida can relate to your posh new England view on the weather.


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