After yet more heavy rainfall, and the inevitable flooding, this time reaching into the city centres of Manchester, Leeds and York, the right-leaning London-centric press is looking for convenient scapegoats. But the right-leaning press out there in the so-called Northern Powerhouse, much of which got covered in a mixture of filthy water and mud over the weekend, has already decided who to blame - its own side.
Tory supporting regional press has had enough
While both the Sun and the Mail try and get their readers to “look over there” at the UK’s foreign aid budget, their hacks, pundits and editors have missed one fact that has been picked up by those who do not live their lives in the London-centred bubble: however bad the floods get, there is one place that never gets hit, because substantial sums of money have been spent to keep it dry, and that is the capital.
You think I jest? Even when the River Thames burst its banks and flooded large areas to the west of London, that fate did not befall the city itself. So while those in the Northcliffe House and Baby Shard bunkers try to dismiss the floods as something we can solve by telling the developing world to go and do one, the normally Tory supporting press out in the provinces is having none of it - especially in Leeds.
Flood defence spending has been cut - official
The Yorkshire Post is an unashamedly Tory supporting paper. It backed the party even in 1974, when Ted Heath was on his way out. Its editorial today should sound alarm bells for David Cameron. This is part of that editorial.
“This community spirit … will be critical in the coming days and weeks so the affected areas, large and small alike, can pick up the pieces and enable shops and businesses to reopen their doors at the first opportunity.
If only the same could be said for the Government’s response to this crisis – and previous incidents of flooding. For, while David Cameron did acknowledge the scale of a disaster now predicted to cost the national economy up to £1.5bn, his sincerity masks his administration’s abiding failure to take this issue sufficiently seriously.
London spending bias is all too obvious (thanks to Éoin Clarke)
The Prime Minister repeatedly used the word ‘unprecedented’ to describe this winter’s storms. Yet every fortnight brings ‘unprecedented’ levels of new flooding and the same pious platitudes from politicians, like Environment Secretary Liz Truss, whose rhetoric is increasingly economical with the truth.
For, while Ms Truss is right to highlight the real terms increase in the amount her department, Defra, has allocated for flood defences, she chooses to overlook the fact that many schemes are subject to partnership funding from councils and other agencies whose budgets have been decimated by spending cuts.
The disingenuous Environment Secretary was also the first Minister to sign on the dotted line when it came to the Chancellor’s spending review. A more adept politician would have fought, tooth and nail, to ensure that investment was sufficient to appease those who believe that the UK’s overseas aid budget should be used to pay for flood prevention schemes here” [my emphases].
Trying to blame developing nations ...
Stablemate the Yorkshire Evening Post has gone further, with a front page comment which does not mince words. “The fact remains … that such events as witnessed in Leeds this weekend are unthinkable in the Capital and much of the South East, where state of the art flood defences have long been in place” it tells. And there is more.
“Technology is so advanced that the kind of devastation we have suffered as a city is completely avoidable. Is it expensive? Of course, but cheaper than seeing treasured mementoes ruined by encroaching floods and a city’s entire economy put at risk. The Government has made much of the notion of a Northern Powerhouse and Leeds, with its burgeoning financial and retail sectors has been placed squarely at the heart of this drive.
But a Northern Powerhouse is nothing when it’s under water. This city must have critical inward investment to make sure it has the protection from floods on this scale ever happening again. What’s good enough for London is good enough for Leeds.
The city is an economic force to be reckoned with - the beating heart of Northern England - and we demand that Prime Minister David Cameron announces immediate action to ensure that this situation is not repeated in Leeds, or anywhere else EVER AGAIN” [my emphases].
... doesn't wash outside the London bubble
Nor will those titles’ leader writers be impressed at the news that, since 2010, the amount spent on flood defences has been cut by around 20%, as opposed to increases before then. What national newspapers cannot bring themselves to understand is that not only are there a lot of people living outside London and the South East, but also that many of them are - or perhaps were - Tory voters.
Getting out the dog whistle and playing the UKIP game - blaming it all on foreigners - is not going to go down too well in Leeds. Or York. Or Manchester. Or Lancaster. Cameron and his pals could lose a lot of support here, or find that voters don’t bother to turn out when the Tories need them. Someone has not thought that Northern Powerhouse idea through.
And one more thing is for sure: all those readers are not going to be impressed by being told to “look over there” at developing countries, when the problem is here in the UK.
There are some interesting parallels in this Telegraph report, from January 2014:
UK floods: Homes 'left exposed' by Environment Agency job cuts
Officials working on flood risk management will be sacked as Environment Agency sheds about 15 per cent of its workforce to save money, potentially placing ability to cope with floods at risk
The ability to cope with floods in England and Wales could be put at risk because of government cuts to the Environment Agency that will result in the loss of hundreds of front-line staff.
Officials working on flood risk management will be sacked as the agency sheds about 15 per cent of its workforce to save money.
More than 1,500 jobs will be cut by October, leading to fears that the agency will not be able to cope with serious flooding next year. The agency’s chief executive has said that the downsizing will have an impact on its flood work. [My emphasis]
Leeds was almost flooded back in 1999, but then it was the Keighley and Shipley areas which took the brunt due to lack of maintenance in Keighley. Water was held at a blocked bridge which overtopped and reduced the flow down river.
Funding for Leeds was not put in place as it escpaed. In 2011 funding for defences Leeds was put on hold. The hold lasted 4 years and in that time there have been close shaves, this time it was too late. 16 years to allocated funcing and get the job done. No political party comes out of this with any credibility.
London is the most corrupt rat-hole on the face of planet. It always has been.
How many more examples of it are required?
At the last tory nastzi rally in Manchester Cameron vomited, "London is the greatest city in the world."
Oh yeah? Get over to Manchester and say it again, Bullingdon boy. Bring the other Eton and Harrow knob heads with you and see how they are greeted NOW.
The fact is, London has been stealing finance and people from the rest of the country for over a generation. It is a disgusting sink hole of self serving hypocrisy, the centre of a Parliament of Scoundrels. A viper's nest of spivs and thieves. All of it supported by cowardly mainstream media without a trace of conscience or humanity.
So here's a reasonable suggestion: Increase the staff of HMRC and the Serious Fraud Office. Chase up all the missing taxes robbed from this country. Hunt down the frauds and money launderers, companies like Vodafone and all the other gobshite hoodlum organisations. Make sure the money goes toward flood defences in the affected areas. Then restore fair and honest taxation levels on the thieving scum. If they don't like it they can fuck right off to Las Vegas or some other Yank mafia run shit hole.
Enough is enough. If this corrupt neocon country has any decency left in it, that is. I hope people remember this the next time some tory nastzi or New Labour gobshite peddles the usual line in cant.
But don't expect any support from inside the M25 ghetto. They'll be too busy knuckling their foreheads to Canary Wharf and believing everything they read in the Daily Mail or one of Murdoch's Der Sturmer or Volkischer Beobachter rags. Broadcast news will be even worse.
One day, and I hope it's soon, the chickens are really going to come to roost for this criminal neglect and deliberately imposed deprivation.
So what's the chances of another war or some other utterly immoral diversion?
Would you like some cheese to go with your whine?
If people are stupid enough to buy houses in flood risk areas they'll get no pity from me.
They have insurance, what more do you want?
I spoke to a few residents who said "It is just forces of nature and an act of the Gods!".
They will be , of course making the honours list very soon.
Special thanks to the lady in number 68 . Your delightful sponge cake is serving as a foot rest for myself after a tiring day of wading through water a few inches deep.
You didn't expect me to go to far in, did you?
Can I expect a New years invite from you?
Owing to the fact of where you live, I wasn't sure of what stamp to use.
There is no way I'm sending you an email either. Mr Ping Pong!
It's hard to believe even the Daily Heil would stoop that low with that headline.
Then again......it is based in London.
It's good to know that in these belt tightening times that Mr Camoron has increased subsidies for grouse shooting. And, together with a "bonfire of red tape" has also allowed farm subsidies to be paid to landowners rather than those who farm the land.
Why piffling pedantry as folk are flooded in the northern industrial valleys?
Because it is a handful of very rich landowners who own much of the moorland in t'north. Usually absentee.
Sheep cause a monoculture and the rearing of grouse usually involves burning the top vegetation and draining off the blanket bog.
Restoration of the pennine moorlands is in the hands of a few people. The same people who have the ear of the PM. It could be done but there is no profit in it.
Instead there is distraction and false flagging. Blame "freak weather" and grumble about the EU Water Directive and those greedy folk in Bangladesh?
Row,row,row your boats gently down the stream,
Think of all the weight you'll lose
Then tell me I am mean
Come on peeps. Let's lose some pounds...
nice quote on Euronews english version today over footage of Young Dave poncing around York "David Cameron put his boots on for the cameras..." - that's basically it. He didn't help by turning up, he won't have taken in the problem and he won't get a grip on it in future.
On the subject of the money, remember the Somerset levels? Another photo call and promises of millions. So what happened there this time - not a lot, it hasn't rained much! Maybe it's time to learn that NOT spending badly is better than throwing millions at it just in case. After the floods of the 80's and 90s York had money thrown at it but for the last few years hasn't really needed it. Then when it does need protection something went badly wrong, by the sound of it a critical piece of equipment was located in a vulnerable position without proper protection. Mistakes like that aren't avoided by taking food off starving kids.
And what of the property owners. I liked a Cumbrian shopkeeper I saw interviewed on tv a week or so ago. After his business was devasted a couple of years ago he rebuilt - as did everyone else in the street. Except he had his shop "tanked" and rewired for flooding. This time he lost a bit of stock to water but the shop will be back in business very quickly - unlike his neighbours who rebuilt what had already been proved to be unsuitable. To be flooded out once is unfortunate, to not learn from it and defend yourself is your own fault - not the government's and certainly not starving kid's.
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