Floods cause real hardship. At least a quarter of homes have no contents insurance. Those who don't have the £150 for basic protection are usually the least able to afford repairs and replacements.
Right, first, £150 a year is £12.50 a month: that will not even buy three packs of cigarettes anymore. It might, if you are lucky, get you six pints of beer in a pub, but even that is stretching it.
£12.50 a month contents insurance when you live near, or on, a flood plain is not a luxury, damn it! And those who own their houses will have been required to gain buildings and contents insurance when they took out their mortgage—if they have let that insurance lapse, they could well lose their house as well when the bank forecloses for breach of contract.
The Association of British Insurers reckons that replacing a low income household's furnishings and goods would cost at least £5000. The uninsured are also least likely to have friends with space to put them up or families with money to spare. The Environment Agency says it is mainly the most deprived postcodes that are the most flood-prone. Historic social topography shows that in towns the poor live by the river near industrial areas, while the rich are up on the hill. Guess who is destined for the Thames Gateway flood plain.
As Timmy point out, guess who started that development?
And who was responsible for that Thames Gateway plan? Why, The Maximum Tone and John Prescott.
But harken, Polly is in full spate (much like many rivers, in fact).
Many homes were caught not by rivers but by flash floods from torrential downpours that rose up through overflowing drains.
The main problem is that decades of absolutely fuck-all investment by the state has ensured that our sewerage system is entirely inadequate full-stop. The water companies are doing their best but, constrained by government caps on pricing, the job of attempting to rebuild and extend drainage systems neglected for over a hundred years is not going as quickly as maybe it could.
Barbara Young, chief executive of the agency, says this is a warning of the huge defences needed to cope with climate change. It is too late now to stop extreme weather worsening, even if - and that's a big if - urgent international action is taken in time to stop planet meltdown.
This is absolute horseshit, Polly, and you fucking know it. Barbara Young is, naturally, aiming to deflect the attention away from the fact that the government has been starving our flood defenses of funds, as I wrote on the 18DS blog last week.
The current issue of Private Eye highlights the underfunding of the flood defences by the government. In 2004, the National Assessment of Defence Needs and Cost for Flood and Coastal Erosion Management pointed out that funding plans fell short by £700 million over the next ten years.
Last week, the NAO produced a report showing that the Environment Agency had not met its targets and that 63% of England's flood defences were inadequate. In fact, the agency says that it needs another £150 million a year, from the government, to meet the targets.
So what? It's hardly a surprise is it? Gordon Brown, the Gobblin' King, has been spending our money like water on his pet projects, whilst other necessary projects have been neglected. But it gets worse than that.
The Environment Agency's budget is controlled by DEFRA (David Miliband's department) which has had its woes recently. The biggest problem it has had is over the Rural Farm Payments shambles; its failure to pay out the money within the allotted timeframe has incurred massive fines from Brussels.
These fines are currently running at £350 million and, even worse, Brown has absolutely refused to find the money from the Treasury coffers and has demanded that DEFRA find it from their own budget. This can mean only one thing: cuts.
Sure enough, DEFRA looked around to see where it could make savings; and the Environment Agency was one of the first to feel the pinch. £15 million has been cut from its budget which was already, as highlighted by the agency and the NAO, far too low to start with.
As a result, projects have had to be put on hold and flood defences neglected. And, sure enough, we now see the inevitable consequences of this policy; huge insurance costs, wrecked homes and dead people.
And, what did I conclude that the government would blame it on?
No doubt, in casting around for something else to blame, David Miliband will make dire prognostications concerning “climate change”, but make no mistake: these deaths are a direct result of DEFRA's incompetence and poor government spending priorities.
Whether or not you think that the state should be responsible for flood defenses is a moot point here: they have failed to meet their obligations. Had they not made those promises in the first place, it is entirely possible that private organisations would have taken up the slack; as it is, they did not because the government said that they had it covered.
These floods are fuck all to do with climate change and entirely down to the underfunding of flood defenses, broken promises and fucking insane development initiatives by the government. Sometimes I wonder how these politicians sleep at night*...
UPDATE: Mr Angry solves all of our weather problems with reference to the teachings of the Bishop of Carlisle!
The Big Man Upstairs has apparently given up communicating with us via Prophets and so-called ‘Mysterious Ways’ and now talks to us directly through the Meteorological Office, which is progress of a kind I suppose. They say that the sun shines on the righteous, and so I guess this article proves that it must be true.
My younger brother is in Ayia Napa at the moment, and I hear it is non-stop drug taking, clubbing and shagging out there. Yet the sun shines for almost twenty hours of every day. This tells me, quite conclusively, that God really loves his pills, drum and bass, and loose women. I am grateful for this guidance, because I would not have known how to live my life from this point forwards if it were not for the Reverend Graham Dow and his weather-referenced preaching.
Go and read the whole solution because, believe me, I'll be joining in with it...
* Probably on their knees, hands tied behind their backs, faces in pillows, ball-gags in mouths, whilst Satan roughly butt-fucks 'em before removing the gags and holding out his scaly pecker for the politicos to indulge eagerly in some ass-to-mouth action before they collapse, exhausted and exhiliarated, into the arms of Morpheus.