I wonder if anyone in No 10 Downing Street reads my blog or the Herald And Post website?? If not perhaps they should start to!
Those who read my earlier blog warning the Prime Minister of ‘trouble ahead” should he continue to fail to respond appropriately to the flooding crisis rocking Britain will know only too well that the “events dear boy events” trap was set wide open for him to fall into, and how spectacularly he has fallen.
Of course all politicians and particularly Prime Ministers and Government Ministers will come under fire in times of severe crisis, that’s only natural, but its how they respond or even more importantly IF they respond that matters, and the response from our government on this issue so far has been woeful.
But how can they respond, how can they call upon the state to respond when the state itself has been dismantled to the point of paralysis?
If you cut the Environment Agency’s budget year on year (down 36% since 2010) reduce its staffing levels to the bone (550 job losses last year another 1700 planned in the year to come) then you know that the agency would not be in a position to meet the ever increasing demands placed upon it.
Equally if you cut Local Authority budgets year on year, farm out all the services to the private sector and reduce “local Government” down to pre war levels then as much as they might like they are not in a position to respond to the crisis.
It’s the same for our Police Forces, our Fire and Rescue Services, who through cuts to front line staff are no longer able to release “spare” capacity. Our Social Work teams are not able to contribute to emergency plans any more due to crippling case loads and chronic under staffing.
And so when the floods come, the true nature of David Camerons “Big Society” adventure is laid bare for all to see.
Its DIY Britain, house holders ferrying sand and bags from the local B&Q to try and save their homes, Farmers setting up makeshift ferry crossings with their tractors, Local Volunteers themselves worried about their own homes, being stretched beyond any acceptable level to fill in where the previous statutory agencies have failed to deliver.
Today on the Lunchtime news a local “unpaid” volunteer flood warden was interviewed and half way through the interview broke down in tears of frustration, pleading for someone from the government, anybody to step in and respond to their crisis.
Her tears were washed away in the ever rising tide, meanwhile “Dave” will chair another Cobra committee and Eric Pickles will try and offload some of the blame on those whose pockets his department has picked over the years, and more and more people will lose faith with our lack of local democracy and inadequate national intervention.
Some of those whose homes have been flooded will I am sure be less pleased to be told now that their Council Tax is still amongst the lowest in the country, and few if any will be feeling that we are “all in this together”
In a period of 3 years this awful Tory/Liberal coalition has ripped apart the very foundation of our civic society, they have shrunken the state, removed the safety net, and even more unforgivably they have turned their collective heads eyes and ears away from those calling out so desperately for help.
We in Northampton now the full extent of the misery that is bought about by such severe flooding events, I can honestly say that as the MP for the town during the 1998 Floods that the experience changed my outlook forever, leading more than ever to the point of campaigning to make government stand up to its responsibilities and to act on funding flood prevention and take seriously the challenge of Climate Change.
Often in that period since 1998 under two different Governments I have had to come to a conclusion that “they” our political masters were not listening.
And still the cries for help fall on deaf ears!