THE economists will point to the idle factories, empty offices and paralysed transport network and bemoan the millions, perhaps billions of pounds, of lost production.

The two days when tens of millions of people did little more than watch the TV or build a snowman may be considered by some to have been a waste of time.

It came after a period of largely bad news. The problems of High Street stores such as Toys R Us and Maplin, the painful unwinding of the Brexit process.

Now the snow has melted there are lots of new potholes and the existing ones are a little bit deeper thanks to the work of the ice.

There will be many elderly people for whom the extreme cold will worsen existing conditions such as heart and respiratory issues.

But perhaps the Beast from the East and Storm Emma can be thanked for pointing out one vital thing: how dependent we all are on each other.

People united to clear pavements and driveways, strangers put their backs into helping to push cars up icy hills, neighbours looked out for each other and especially the elderly. People stopped to talk to each other.

Community ties are as a result strengthened. We don’t want to overplay things. But wasn’t it nice for once not to have to read people being aggressive on social media?