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The storm of recriminations over the floods that battered the UK during the last few months appears to have been entirely disproportionate to their effect, if Vox Political‘s moles in the Environment Agency are to be believed.
Consider this: In 2007, the UK was hit by unprecedented flooding that damaged around 55,000 properties. Between December 2013 and February this year, the country was again hit by floods. Total number of properties flooded: around 5,000.
So we’ve had one-eleventh of the damage to homes, and (it seems) 11 times the fuss!
The media frenzy has given us photographs of David Cameron visiting flood-hit areas in his posh new Wellington boots, Ed Miliband being unjustifiably upbraided by a posh-voiced villager in his new Wellington boots, Eric Pickles blaming Owen Paterson, Owen Paterson blaming anyone he can, and everybody blaming the Environment Agency.
This is why Vox Political‘s EA moles are feeling ill-served; they say they have been doing the best they can under extremely difficult conditions – starved of funds, working 60-hour weeks including weekends with no extra pay (of course).
The extra cash provided by Mr “Money Is No Object” Cameron did not even equal the amount he had previously cut from the Environment Agency’s budget, meaning that the organisation was still unable to provide the service it had managed before the Conservative Party took the reigns of government in 2010.
Although funding cuts have been put on hold – for now, the Agency has no reason to believe its budget will not be hit again, as soon as the politicians find it expedient. If that is the case, what do you think will happen when the next flood hits?
This was a disaster that could have been avoided, with better planning and funding. But it wasn’t, and the government publicity machine went into overdrive while it was going on.
So our moles have been left with two questions:
Was this disaster manufactured?
If so, what was the government really doing while everyone was distracted by the constant media coverage of the storms?
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