The Aftermath of the Floods


Politics - Flooding. By Katie Chisnall

If you are British and haven’t seen any rain in the last weeks it’s probably because you live in Benidorm. Weeks after the storm, parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Somerset are still under water. The rain seems to have died down but many are now left facing the damage the floods left in their wake.

In tough times people need someone to turn to and sometimes it feels good to blame someone for what has happened. But who is to blame for a storm?  One could argue that these extreme climatic conditions are rooted in the British weather changing. Others however, point the finger at politicians.

In times like these the appeal of a career in politics dwindles dramatically. Between reassuring the public and promising help to those affected by the floods, politicians have to account for the damage that has been caused by an uncontrollable force: nature.

Since Storm St Jude, politicians and the Environment Agency have had plenty of time to learn their speeches by heart, but instead of identifying who is responsible for the floods a blame game has erupted between both sides. In a Guardian article Lord Smith, the Chairman of the Environment Agency, states:

“In a lifetime in public life, I’ve never seen the same sort of storm of background briefing, personal sniping and media frenzy getting in the way of decent people doing a valiant job trying to cope with unprecedented natural forces”.

According to him, blaming the Environment Agency is wrong as the government did not allocate enough funds for flood prevention.

The BBC reports that approximately 6,000 houses have been flooded since December last year and over 100,000  homes have affected by power cuts, yet people are only just starting to realise how much damage the storms have really caused. Of course everybody wants answers, but we all know that actions speak louder than words. By actions I do not mean politicians coming to flooded areas in their Range Rover wearing Hunter Wellies. I mean compensation.

The government has created a £10m grant scheme which allows small to medium businesses to claim up to £2,500 ”clean-up costs and compensation” and a great Flood Action Plan is in process of being drafted. According to the BBC, the £100m Plan could include a barrage at Bridgewater, but funds will also be allocated for dredging and roadwork. In addition, financial help in form of Council Tax Exemptions and a Repair and Renewal Grant will be put in place by the government to help private households.

It is, however, not just the government that is feeling the consequences of the storms. The floods have caused over £1bn of damage since December and insurers are facing the heavy burden to compensate thousands of households in distress. With families still waiting to be compensated for the Christmas storms one can only wonder when flood victims will be able to get back to their ‘normal’ lives.

Still, should we really blame David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg or even Nigel Farage for this? Personally, I mean? What could they have done? We saw how helpful they were on site – staring at the water and trying to apologise for the storms that they could not have stopped. Maybe we should let professionals do the job, like Prince William and his brother Harry.

In all this confusion about who to blame, one person claims to know why the UK was ravaged by a storm: His name is Councillor David Silvester.

“The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”

No, you are not mistaken: This man believes the floods are a divine punishment for “the passage of his [David Cameron] same-sex marriage bill”. This is probably one of the most awful things said in regards to the storms and I am happy to say that David Silvester has been suspended from his party, UKIP. According to the party’s spokesman “Everyone is entitled to their own religious ideology, which is central to a free and fair society and we would again like to reinforce that Cllr Silvester’s views are his own and in no way reflect the party’s position.” I do not normally agree with UKIP but we seem to agree that David Silvester’s statement and attitudes towards the floods are completely out of line.


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