Here in the UK, that land of tea and crumpets (oh clichés), we’ve been gifted a rather excessive rainfall in recent weeks. So much so that we’ve lost Somerset to Poseidon. The flooding’s been horrific, with large portions of the UK losing power for weeks, being unable to live in their houses and seeing their property destroyed. And now the floods are nearing London, so it’s time for the politicians who live in the next-affected areas to speak up. Natural disasters like these floods present politicians with a lovely opportunity to battle it out to come across as sympathetic and to paint themselves as the heroes of the situation, the men who can pull us out and back into prosperity. It is for that reason that they’ve been plodding around the country, donning their wellies and pawading (that’s parading through water) on the news apologising for the devastation and promising they’ve got the answers. None of the residents seemed overly pleased to see them however, it’s understandable I suppose, when there are 8 inches of water in your living room, a shiny-headed prime minister would not be your first choice of guest.
Because flooding is a natural disaster and in the eyes of politicians has no human scapegoat (unless you’re David Silvester) it provides the opening for a heroic act without that person being accused of being the reason for the floods in the first place. Enter the prime minister. Dave has informed the nation that despite the months of ruthless cuts to government budget that we’ve seen, money is no object and any funds that need to be spent to drain Britain will be spent. This is a blatant attempt at furthering his own personal popularity with a worrying disregard for future ramifications of this claim. People may wonder why we’ve got a blank cheque for dealing with floods but the NHS is being funded from a uni student’s bank account. Also, as BBC political correspondent Iain Watson puts it, his words could be “deliberately misinterpreted by opponents” and used to weaken his campaign in the forthcoming general election. If the floods aren’t dealt with sufficiently then he’ll be accused of going back on his word. Rash politics in a delicate situation, it’s a risky strategy for a man with such a shaky hold of power, and it could have a detrimental impact on the next election. Of course, the threat is unlikely to come from ol’ Clegg. He too has been spotted in flooded areas in his wellies, pledging to work his fuzzy little socks off to help the flooding. And he may well, but as the Conservatives have more say in the government and have already assured the nation of their intent to spare no cash in sorting the problem, any successes may well be jumped upon by Clegg, who you can rest assured will insist he was key in. Conversely, a failure to drain Britain will be wholly the Conservatives’ fault. He still won’t get elected though. And Miliband? I’m not going to discuss him in any depth, he’s the leader of the opposition and as such he’s been joining in, although bringing disappointment and misery to the areas he’s popped up in rather than relief. He’d be more popular if he were just full of sand. Sand works better in floods than hot air.
So putting the politics to the side for a minute, what do the floods themselves mean for the UK? Well for one it’s been a bit wetter than usual. It also seems to be evidence of the damage that global warming is doing. Of course it’s not like Britain is a stranger to water, we’re surrounded by the stuff, but this may well just be the start of a long period where we have to endure this every year. But it may not be. If the flooding is worse next year, then I’ll take to this blog again in a frenzy of fear and dampness. Until then, be safe in the knowledge that the Daily Mail will keep you up to date with the biggest water-related news stories, as they proved with this piece of journalistic excellence: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2560118/Lauren-Goodger-jumps-round-puddle-outside-coffee-shop-friend.html. Get that reporter a Pulitzer prize.