Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More on those floods and the national sport called "Seek a distraction, or, better still, a scapegoat"

Picture by Pat Rafter of Evesham (submitted to Sky News)

I posted the following a few minutes ago to today's Telegraph "You View" topic entitled "Should Cameron return from Africa to the UK floods ? "

"Personally, I think David Cameron had his priorities wrong in going to Rwanda instead of focusing on his duties as Leader of the Opposition. But now he's there, it is absurd to suggest he should break his engagements, leaving organisers in the lurch.

Re events back home: the only sure and certain flood defence is to build on high ground. However, even with the benefit of a car, it's probably only a minority of folk who wish to haul up a windy hill each day, if the only reason for doing so is to escape serious flooding that occurs only once every 50 years. Most folk in my experience (speaking as a previous hilltop dweller) prefer a level walk to shops and schools to having a spectacular view over their neighbour's rooftops.

We have built our homes on lower ground, close to river banks, flood plains even, for millenia, certainly since the Iron Age, but we seem to have forgotten the risk-benefit equation that comes from doing so.

And when the inevitable flooding occurs, what do we do ? We look round for someone to blame, for not spending enough on so-called flood defences that are hugely expensive and never perfect, and can always be overwhelmed, as New Orleans has discovered. Or we blame the nearest prominent politician for not being on the spot in his wellies, displaying his Dunkirk spirit, whilst getting under the feet of the emergency services. They are the ones who are trained to deal with situations where there are lives, rather than reputations, at risk.

The only kind of high ground being considered on this forum is the moral one, being seized by folk who are using a natural phenomenon, albeit of disaster proportions, to score some cheap political points. "

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