Were the winter floods really that bad – or were they a distraction?

Photo opportunity: David Cameron and his posh new Wellies, talking a good fight but putting up less funds than he previously took away.

Photo opportunity: David Cameron and his posh new Wellies, talking a good fight but putting up less funds than he previously took away.

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?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. Steve Huddy March 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    With parts of Somerset still flooded since before Christmas, 8 ft of water on the A361, the floods are more than a distraction.

    • Mike Sivier March 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Do you see them mentioned in the national media any more?
      Nobody is denying that they have caused serious problems including property damage and even death, but – as far as the politicians are concerned – it does seem likely that the floods presented a convenient opportunity for misdirection.
      Now that they have outlived their usefulness, they have been sidelined.

      • Pauline Vernon March 5, 2014 at 12:36 am - Reply

        I live in Somerset and agree with Steve. The data you quote is about damage to property (the measure that means the most to Tories) – ask your moles in the Environment Agency about the impact of the floods on agriculture and the environment.

        Of course the continued flooding on the Somerset Levels isn’t mentioned any more – it’s not news, it’s olds. People are still dying in their thousands in Iraq – when was the last time you saw anything about it in the news? There is nothing sinister about the media needing fresh stories. It was ever thus.

        Were the politicians milking the situation for political gain? Of course they were – we were falling over MPs in wellies throughout Somerset. But there were MPs of every political persuasion here or in the Thames Valley – wherever they could find a nice photo op. Even bloody Farage was out there in his waders.

        I agree with about 95% of your blogs, but I think you are pushing the conspiracy agenda just a bit too far.

  2. Ulysses March 4, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I cant see how it was manufactured, that really is groping in the realms of fantasy, artificial orchestration of weather events combined with measured distruction of flood defences as some internet theorists are floating, but I sure can see how elements could be exploited: lack of maintenance and investment, land mismanagement, in the full knowledge that sooner or later the inevitable will occur…
    But for what ends?

    • jaypot2012 March 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      The levels are the perfect place for fracking? I can’t think of anything else.

  3. beastrabban March 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  4. Nigel March 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Well. Wouldn’t you know it? Another Tory lie. Cameron can’t walk on water!

  5. Joseph Smith March 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Seems odd to me how money’s no object only happened when the Thames flooded, and there was a tiny threat to London, call me cynical but what a coincidence!!!!

  6. g. w jones March 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply


  7. […] Photo opportunity: David Cameron and his posh new Wellies, talking a good fight but putting up less funds than he previously took away.  […]

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