Protesters take to bathing spots across the UK to highlight water firms’ sewage dumping

You’ll agree with Feargal Sharkey in a moment:

Channel 4 News reported:

Demonstrations are taking place at bathing spots around the country in protest against the dumping of sewage into the country’s seas and rivers.

Campaigners say mismanagement by water companies has led to more than 300-thousand sewage discharges last year.

Earlier this week, the water industry apologised and promised it would invest 10 billion pounds to prevent more spills – but warned water bills would have to go up to cover the costs.

Here’s the video clip:

For This Writer, the most revealing moment was the interview with a swimmer who had been very ill as a result of swimming in polluted water. It acts as a counterpoint – and a reality check – after former Cabinet minister Damian Green said he swam in sewage as a youngster:

Suppose – just suppose – that Green’s words are true and he swam in sewage with no ill effects. He’s effectively saying that the amount and toxicity of the sewage being dumped in our rivers now is far worse than in his day and his words should be used in support of demands for our waterways to be cleaned.

Ah, but our waterways are going to be cleaned anyway, we’re told – but at our expense, meaning the privatisation of water was pointless in terms of service provision:

So the only point of privatisation is to funnel your money to rich shareholders.

Believe it or not, water industry spokesperson Ruth Kelly – a former Labour government minister – has tried to justify privatisation and attack re-nationalisation:

Convincing any of us will be uphill work; look at what’s been happening while her shareholders have been guzzling billions of pounds of our cash every year and doing nothing to make the sewage system able to handle the current load:

Will the protests have any effect? Probably not.

As Tony Benn once said (and I’m paraphrasing), people with any power over you don’t care what you do unless you’re actually able to get rid of them.

And much government activity since 1979 has been about making sure we, the public, can’t get rid of them.

If you want to do anything about it, demonstrating in bathing spots is a good way to raise awareness, sure…

But if you want to make a difference, you need to motivate the people lounging around on their sofas, watching you on TV.

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