We have some weather here at the moment – yes we do and I am annoyed. Not by the weather. The weather is inevitable. It is February. Global warming may be an issue. Stormy weather – even extreme stormy weather is a possibility. What is making me angry is the reaction of our leaders – our government – the people we voted for to look after us.
For me democratic government is a contract. People decide that pubic service is their career, we vote them in and in exchange for a fair day’s pay, they look after us. Yet in the midst of a crisis all I hear is politics, politics, sometimes a bit of economics and then some more politics. Not me mate, not my party. It was the other side – whoever they are.
Take the failure to dredge rivers in the Somerset levels. If I cast my old mind back to my Economic History A level, we learnt about the Industrial Revolution. The mills were supplied by canals and rivers, which had to be regularly maintained and dredged to keep them usable. It was simple geography. For years this has been ignored in Somerset because there was no bottom line in it – no dollar value. No sensible person would deny that the lack of dredging has been one of the reasons for the awful flooding there. When David Cameron visited this week, one of his remarks was that the last government hadn’t dredged either. Well that may be right but it’s not a good enough response. It’s not as if as soon as you got in you came running into Somerset with your hands flapping like a camp Batman shouting “It’s OK I’m here now – dredging will be done!” In fact the Conservative party turned down money for dredging about six months ago. All this perpetual blame shifting is soooo tiring.There are schemes and thinkings out there that someone with a committed, think outside the box kind of leader should at least be looking at. Nah. Too busy playing politics.
The suspicion is that because it’s the South West of England that it doesn’t matter too much in our increasingly London – centric country. You may have read that the only train line through to the West Country has practically been swept into the sea. Plymouth now has no plane or train link to the rest of Britain. If a big tree falls across the A38 we could all starve to death!
This week, leaders visited Somerset and promised money for flood defences and dredging – money will be found apparently. Hurrah! It’s all politics, short term headline grabbing politics. I don’t want that from my leadership. Leaders are supposed to be better men (or heaven help us – women) than me. They are supposed to think differently, take advice from more creative minds than mine. They are supposed to be working for the good of the public they serve. All it feels like is the same old same old – bleating and finger pointing. No positivity, no vision no one who really seems to give a monkeys.
I watched a woman weep this week because she thought she had lost her house and her animals. No one expects leaders never to make mistakes. I would just like leadership. The brightest and the best looking after the weak and the old and the people who we put them in charge of. To paraphrase Amy Winehouse – You are supposed to be stronger than me.