Deserted homes. Flooded roads. Devastating damage. These words conjure up images of far off lands, not Somerset, Staines-upon-Thames, and Windsor. The government has declared money as ‘no object’ in the relief effort to combat this destruction, although this is a U-Turn of gigantic proportions when it is considered that the flood defence budget was slashed by this very coalition.
Travelling by train over Staines has been a solemn view for the last few days. Houses are visibly damaged by the flood, and there has been a lacklustre response by the government; this is not to say that emergency services have been negligent- the opposite applies as their response has been exemplary.
In 2010 Caroline Spelman became the new Environment Secretary, and as a display of loyalty to the austerity-loving coalition she volunteered a colossal 30% cut to the budget of her department. This budget included money for flood defences. Now that this calamitous miscalculation has come back to bite the coalition on the backside, it is reasonable to assume that damage-control at the Con-Dem PR office is running in overdrive. This is condemnable. It is an egregious act of utter negligence on the government.
…there has been a lacklustre response from the government…
Governmental duties include protecting the rights, property and wellbeing of their citizens. How has this coalition done? It has infringed upon a multitude of freedoms through the GCHQ espionage revelations, as well as been complicit in the intrusion of the NSA. It has systematically allowed property to be damaged through a lack of defence, and appropriate response, to the flooding. It has failed to ensure the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people in society through their destructive welfare reforms.
This is the latest contribution to a growing list of indictments upon this government. The government is not expected to control the weather; but there is a necessity for it to plan for the eventuality of flooding and weather related incidents, especially in areas where a precedent of flooding has been set.
…the government is not expected to control the weather…
Eric Pickles has attempted to deflect responsibility onto the Environment Agency- but his apology was for taking their advice, meaning he and his ministerial colleagues are not able to be held fully responsible for their actions (or their mysterious lack of action).
The cost of this flooding is gargantuan; the economic cost of response, relief and rebuilding is unlikely to be known anytime soon, although it will doubtlessly be high. The human cost is tragic; personal belongings lost or damaged forever; insurance premiums will be sure to rise and a long, arduous battle with insurance companies is due to commence as soon as the immediate problems can be remedied.
…the human cost is tragic; personal belongings lost or damaged forever…
This flooding is a glowing indictment of the attitude of this government; cut fast and deep, and then worry about the consequences when (and if) necessary. There is a callous lack of thought in the motives and activities of this coalition.