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Our Politicians are failing us over flooding, but this is nothing new. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is simply the method they use to prioritise everything they do

November 14, 2019 Leave a comment

 

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Tewkesbury in Flood. Image thanks to http://www.theguardian.com

It’s now 12 years since the 2007 Gloucestershire Floods.

The people living and working in Villages and Towns around mid and Northern Gloucestershire and South Worcestershire experienced the worst that inland flooding can throw at us – and for a great many even more, when critical infrastructure was affected and the drinking water supply dried up as result.

Nobody could argue that the impact of the event did not come to the attention and supposed scrutiny of Westminster Politicians at the time. Pictures of RAF Rescue Helicopters winching stranded people to safety whilst hovering against the backdrop of the Cotswold Hills quickly caught international attention. I stood outside the Local Council Offices when then newly appointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived.

At the time, within the immediacy of the flooding event itself, it felt like the powers that be simply couldn’t do enough.

But the moment that the floodwaters receded, the RAF had returned their big yellow flying machines to their bases and tap water supplies were restored, the media’s and therefore the attention of the politicians with the real power to do something meaningful simply drifted off to elsewhere and beyond.

Yes, remedial flood protection work took place here and there – especially in places that are very much in the wider public’s eye.

But the changes made in response to the Floods that year were in many ways little more than being aesthetic.

There was then and has been since no change in the way that Politicians, Government and the Agencies address the causes, influences upon and effects of flooding across the UK – despite many similar experiences for other people and communities across the Country that have already happened and are taking place in Yorkshire and the East Midlands today.

What was clear to me as a Local Councillor at the time of the 2007 Floods here, was that the Environment Agency wasn’t fit for purpose; that flooding was and always would be managed on the basis of so-called tried and tested thinking. And worst of all, that there was absolutely no room for new approaches or original thinking to deal with the problem as the specialists and those who possess the fiefdoms that are public sector responsibility would always know best – no matter what the reality and impact upon real people was or would be that was involved.

Nothing has changed.

If anything, things have got worse.

And whilst processes and procedures to deal the impact upon families that have to move out of their homes and perhaps live in caravans as a result for many months now appear to have become normalised, the fact that Government has concentrated only on managing the effects of any flooding crisis at the time, rather than dealing with the causes and what lies ahead should be telling us all that we really need to know.

Flooding isn’t a vote winner when there’s no water on the ground

With the shallow, self-serving politicians that we have in power today, the harsh reality we must all face is that in their majority, Politicians and the Political Parties that they represent are not interested in seeing any task through from start to finish, unless they believe that doing so will secure them more votes.

What our Emergency Services, our Military, and the people on the ground will do in Yorkshire and the East Midlands during the current crisis to help people will not be an issue in Westminster once the water has gone and this ridiculous General Election Campaign has passed by.

Addressing the issues that count and will make a difference – that’s Planning Policy, responding to the Housing Crisis, how we address Climate Change and the way that the Public Sector itself actually works, are not and never will be on the agenda for longer than it remains in the news. Or at least not until we have politicians with very different motives and people-first mindset involved.

Planning Policy

Many people don’t understand that Local Authorities don’t make planning law. They just interpret it.

And with rules that come from the centre – rules that sound great because they seem to consider this and sound great because they appear to consider that – we have all been misled into believing that a one-size-fits-all approach to the way that we build in all locations, environments and conditions across this Country can work out for everyone wherever they are in the same way – even with different people with different motives doing the interpretation that is involved.

There is no room within the Planning System for local understanding and anecdotal evidence to be considered.

For instance, the Planning System is itself so arbitrary that floodplains that have been built up and covered with dumped earth and inert debris then qualify as being safe to build on. Yet there is no consideration for the displacement of floodwaters that would have historically rested at that location. Nor is there though given for how that water might flow around this newly created island or indeed what other properties or places would now be affected by what will be both a new and at time of flooding inevitably different water flow.

For the impact of future flooding events to be limited for existing properties, Towns, Cities and Villages to the same levels and impact that they are having right now, Planning rules and the way that we interpret them must change to embrace the increasing likelihood of the black swans, rather than the imbedded mentality of ‘it couldn’t happen here’.

Unswerving technical adherence to manmade rules doesn’t allow for reach and impact of Mother Nature.

Solving problems without creating others must be a priority for all areas of civic life and activity.

The response to the Housing Crisis

 Yet another of the political footballs that is currently being bounced around is the topic of which Political Party will build more houses and how quickly they will build them if they should find themselves in power once the Election question has been resolved.

The myth that we need to build so many new houses evaporates the very moment that you consider how much they actually cost.

How often have you seen house prices drop in any part of this Country when a new estate or development has been built?

The truth is that prices of old and new property in the local areas usually rise and like most things where prices and need can be manipulated, profit and therefore greed are the underlying cause.

Building at the levels we have already embraced is already creating a time bomb for potential flooding incidents that would never have had this kind of impact in the past – especially with planning policy as it is.

There needs to be a massive rethink and politicians who were thinking about the people they represent would certainly bring this foolish and ill considered approach to the problem to an immediate stop.

The way to deal with the housing crisis is to make better and more equitable use of the houses and buildings that we already have.

It isn’t helpful to pretend that the only solution is to keep on building more and more, whilst creating many more real ones than the hollow one that it is supposed to solve.

Climate Change

Yes, Climate Change or the Climate Crisis that our young people are now beginning to champion and the way of thinking that they are challenging is a very real part of the flooding problem too.

The weather in this Country and around the World is changing – no matter what your views might be about the cause.

The cold hard reality that we all have to face is that the weather patterns that are here today will take many years to reverse.

But there are steps that we can take to address their progression and pathway to becoming worse.

It is not simply about legislating to change the behavior of people who are already trying to make the best of what can be very difficult lives.

This is where the inexperience and impractical idealism of young people could easily be seen to make a valid argument that is beneficial to us all seem outwardly very wrong. Like Flooding events, protests soon disappear from the minds and plans of the wrong politicians and that is the truth – no matter how wrong.

Sadly, with Climate Change, much of the problem is again about money and greed.

The businesses that have the biggest part to play just need to be led to think differently and see that the profit which is their obsession is still there for them tomorrow as it is for them today. It will just come from them investing, operating and behaving ethically in a very different way.

Industry and money might not be listening now, but that will be different when we have different people in charge.

The necessity of political change that wont be served simply by having a General Election

The complexity of the problems that are contributing to the Housing Crisis, the failure of Planning Policy, Climate Change and Flooding as an issue in its own right will never be dealt with in the way that it needs to be by politicians who are only interested in the outcome of the next Election and how they convince all of us to give them their vote.

If we want the change that we need with the issues that we are facing not just like Flooding, but which we are experiencing each and every day, we must elect different people into Parliament, our Councils and into positions of power who will put people first. Politicians who know what it will take and – most importantly – are actually prepared to do everything necessary to get all of those things that need doing – and not just Brexit – done.

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament vs The People: The Public’s view of our time that becomes a false narrative the very moment that Boris attempts to make it his own

November 7, 2019 Leave a comment

One of the most telling aspects of our broken political system is the way that Politicians and their Parties have become adept at seizing any phrase or form of words that represents the sum total of how People feel about something. Hollowing it out so that it loses all sense and all meaning. And then ride away on it during a campaign as if it is an idea or way of thinking that they somehow then own.

With issues such as the Climate Crisis, Housing Crisis or anything like that on the domestic issue front, this theft and misuse of public narrative is bad enough.

But when it comes to Our position over the destruction of democracy and the pathway that has led to it via Brexit, Boris’ attempts to steal the narrative ‘Parliament vs The People’ for his own ends is cynical in the extreme.

Whilst Boris has been fashioning himself as the champion of Brexit, his pursuit of a deal with the EU that doesn’t actually deliver it is only the first rip in the cover that exposes all of his positions flaws.

Selling out to achieve a relationship with the EU that by default will always end up being called Brexit, but is actually Remain isn’t the worst offence that Boris’ attempt to self-style himself as being different can actually cause.

The biggest is the fact that he has been, is and will clearly continue to be a BIG part of the  Parliament that has been set against the Will of the People for many years and not just since Brexit – which has only ever been a symptom of the problems that he and others like him have created. Brexit was not the cause.

Boris is the Establishment all over. And whilst he has had a massive opportunity to be and do something very different, like the majority of all the other MPs – who together made up the last Parliament – he has chosen not to be the difference that we have all been waiting for, instead making self-interest and what works best for him at every turn his one and only cause.

The real fight, battle or perhaps what we may come to call the war that is Parliament vs The People hasn’t even rally begun.

The system is so tightly wrapped up to protect and propagate itself that The People don’t even have the opportunity of gaining a foothold against the Establishment monopoly over who gets access to Parliament, which could only come if We had real alternatives to the Parties on offer and with it a much better destination for our Vote.

Until we have this opportunity, the war that is The People vs Parliament will not have started and so there is no way that it can be won.

So for Boris to ride around sounding off that he is the Champion of the People isn’t just disingenuous and manipulative. It’s arguably tantamount to being an outright lie.

No Boris, profit isn’t a god to be worshipped. Many of the problems you tell us you care about are driven by greed for money as the root cause

November 6, 2019 Leave a comment

5824a3c1-508e-4d1f-a672-e453b9d85794In this world, perception is everything.

First impressions count more than anything else.

We have politicians who rule us – and therefore are also failing us – because they judge everything on the basis of what is effect rather than the cause.

Profit or rather the generation of wealth and money was an inevitable topic and focus for policy in this upcoming General Election.

Yet within the majority of Policy areas it has and will not be identified in any way as being relevant. Even though the motivation to secure it, extend it and to be able to play with it will almost certainly be buried deep down somewhere. Possibly many times over as any problems root cause.

The Politicians who covet the role of Leading this Country should know this.

But they don’t.

Whether that ignorance is wilful or innocent, the result is just the same for us all.

On one side of the not-so political divide, we have a Marxist Leader on the verge of entering No10, who will do everything that he and his supporters can to dismantle the apparatus of commerciality, simply because Labour do not understand or value the intrinsically human concept of individual aspiration. They believe it possible to make a world fair that is fundamentally unfair by its very nature, simply by coercion and inflicting a set of man-made rules.

On the other we have Boris and his conservatives who are actually only conservative in name. They call themselves ‘one nation’ but follow a way of being based on freedom of the markets and the ridiculous idea that deregulating business and the markets gives commercial interests the motivation to think of and look after the needs of the public and all others ethically – all when profit and finding new and innovative ways to increase it legally but without care for anything else is money’s one and only true cause.

Both Corbyn and Johnson, and their respective Parties and the ideologies that currently underpin them have got the whole question of money, profit, power and influence completely wrong.

They do not have any understanding or appreciation of the role of human nature in all of the problems that this Country is facing.

They don’t see or place any value on the relationship between money and profit as a motivator and how it overshadows so much of public policy as the open secret that nobody talks about because so many of the problems that the UK faces have the obsession with making more and more money deep down as the root cause.

They do not see how the cultural malaise of everyone taking money out of production, services and supply chains without adding any value are exponentially widening the already significant wealth divide.

They simply don’t understand what they are actually doing.

They have no experience of the lives and futures that their ignorance is wrecking.

But the system allows them to continue on without question, whilst the problems such stupidity causes continues to pass them by as they become mine and yours.

Until such time as we have Leaders running this Country who understand all the problems they have been tasked to deal with, no matter who they effect, what they are or what work and effort it will take for them to be solved, the depth and breadth of the issues that we are facing right across our households and our communities alike will simply continue to be there and in all probability develop further – no matter the crap we are being told.

None of the Politicians who are seeking our Votes in this coming General Election are seeking to do anything differently than any of those who have campaigned to be elected to run this Country before.

Look at the problems and the trouble that they have already caused.

Until we do have politicians who do give a shit about how what they do impacts upon all of us too, it doesnt matter whether we are Left, Right, Centre, Leaver, Remainer, Rich or Poor.

We all have a whole lot more pain in store.

Leader debates make cheap peak time TV. But there are bigger fish to fry and these 3 Leaders haven’t even worked out how to operate a net

November 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Should we be more interested in what politicians say or in what they do?

It’s the answer to that question we should perhaps now be focusing on – at the beginning of a General Election Campaign – rather than what they say or how they say it.

The dissolution of Parliament – which formally took place at 12.01 am today apparently, rather than the rather fitting and accurate last sitting on Bonfire Night – isn’t the act of wiping the slate clean that politicians are now trying to tell us has taken place, or – and more importantly – that we as a Nation with a political crisis actually need.

The issue, debate or whatever else you might want to call it – about Leader Debates, is therefore rather a moot point.

Do we really want to see Corbyn, Johnson and Swinson grand standing their new approach to solving the UKs problems on primetime TV when all three of them are bringing nothing new to the table other than a rewrapped version of their previous form?

The sensationalism that now drives politics is fuelled by the mainstream media. It does nothing to help resolve the problems that we have with the quality, motivation and ability of our politicians. In fact, it is helping to develop the problem rather than doing anything at all to target the cause.

Whilst there might be times when it would be appropriate to consider the benefit of holding televised debates that will include all Political Party Leaders, after 3 years of parliamentary stalemate caused by the very same people who are seeking reelection, this General Election Campaign is arguably not one.

Until such time that British Politics and the Party Political System that currently monopolises it has been fully and comprehensively reformed, the only thing that UK Voters can be sure of is that they are going to receive the same contempt from those we elect as MPs – and if anything, probably a lot more.

Nothing that the three Leaders can tell us will become of any benefit to any of us just because of the way it has been transmitted.

Words and presentation are meaningless if the actions and results don’t reflect genuine attempts to address real problems and their cause.

What we actually need in Parliament and Government now are politicians who aren’t driven solely by how everything looks.

Genuine Leaders who take their responsibility to the Electorate seriously, consider the consequences of all their actions and are driven to deliver the right results no matter what anyone else or the media says.

As far as politicians focusing on their time in the public eye is concerned, it’s not the priority and its time to press pause.

Selling out for electoral footholds: why politics in the UK has become so cheap

November 3, 2019 Leave a comment

And so, the great 2019 General Election spending spree gets under way.

The political parties and their leaders are lining up to outspend each other with our money – that’s the Taxpayers chequebook – and it’s all just for the one cause that they all share in common: their own.

Yes, it does sound very cynical. But this is the way that today’s politicians are.

The politicians we have now are used to being able to manipulate the system that they were elected to use to govern on our behalf, purely for their own benefit.

And whilst they continue being able to do so, the experiences that we have having of the impact of government- which are relative to us all – are going to continue on being exactly the same.

The policies that we are today and for the next 5 weeks going to be sold are not being created for the benefit or with consideration for their impact upon all.

They have carefully been created just to get the right people on side. That’s the people who these politicians look at and target on the basis that they are confident their vote can be bought.

But the outcomes from policies that sound so great now during the pre-Election build up are destined to turn out just the same as everything we can now recall having before.

Any perceived impact on our lives will be short lived, whilst the politicians can cleverly tell us that they delivered on what they said they will do.

But we will still need as much to change tomorrow as we ever did before.

Thoughts become things. And the way our politicians now behave is so ingrained in their being, the cheap behaviour they thrive on now manifests in everything that they do.

There is nothing reliable, trustworthy, that installs confidence and certainly nothing coming from any of them that inspires people – in the way that any good politician should really want to do.

The only motivation that this political class now has is to secure our votes at any cost.

They are using our money and our futures to do it. 

We deserve so much more.

 

image thanks to Mail on Sunday – 3rd November 2019

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So the General Election is ON. But have any of the pennies dropped with our would-be leaders?

October 29, 2019 Leave a comment

So with Jeremy Corbyn now having stepped in front of a camera and said that Labour is now ready to fight a General Election, it appears the game is definitely on.

But will there be any clear blue water from any of the Political Parties from what we have had already?

Regrettably, the answer is probably not.

As I wrote in my blog earlier today, Boris has a final chance now to depart from the pathway he has been taking over recent weeks – and to genuinely do the right thing. His WAB isn’t it, and whether it was always part of the strategy to get here or whether desperate circumstances have led to the same place, the fact that it is off the table and hasn’t been agreed, is, right now a very good thing.

Boris now has a choice. He can fight the General Election based on adoption and implementation of the WAB – and risk stalemate and the return of another hung parliament or worse as the Leave Vote divides between the Tories, The Brexits and the UKIPs. Or he can sue for peace, commit to a clean, no deal Brexit and get an Electoral Pact in place which might mean working with some Brexit MPs in the next Parliament, but will mean he has the numbers to deliver the Brexit that he said he actually would.

It is only in the case of the Tories working with the Brexit Party that anything really different can possibly come from this General Election.

The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and SNP are all going to stick rigidly to form.

Labour are obsessed with power at any cost and will tell the public anything to get there.

The Liberal Democrats want to dissolve all talk of ever Leaving the EU and with it, democracy by default.

The SNP will do anything to facilitate the Independence of Scotland, simply so they can assume what they believe to be even more power by being seen to be ‘in charge’.

All this adds up to the reality that right now, with no signal that anything is going to be any different to what we have come to see as bing normal, its not going to matter what happens in this Election, because the fools in charge are going to continue behaving afterwards exactly the same way as they did before it.

This Country deserves so much more.

 

 

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This Parliament is a ship of fools, focused only on their own future

October 29, 2019 Leave a comment

I’ve lost count how many time I have read a Tweet or short update on Facebook that has openly demonstrated the breakdown of our system of Government and shown just how poor and self-interested the people who populate our Parliament now are.

Name calling, lies, story-telling, myths, fiction and just about every form of fake news you could imagine is pretty much all we now see dripping from their lips.

And this is not just one Party. Its not the Conservatives, the Brevets, the Greens, Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP.

IT’S ALL OF THEM – THEY ARE FUNDAMENTALLY THE SAME IN EVERY WAY!!!

We elect others to represent us in parliament on the understanding that they will do the research, the thinking, the discussion, the debate and the decision making ON OUR BEHALF that we will not.

Yet the MPs that we have today are doing nothing like this or indeed any such thing.

This Parliament is filled with the self-interested. And with it the politics of fear, greed and hate now rule the day.

The MPs that we have are intoxicated by their own power and have no relationship with the truth in any way. They have neither concept nor understanding of what their responsibilities require or involve.

They see everything in terms of their own position, how it will effect them and what the impact on their own personal future will be from everything they do with their office.

These MPs are nothing but fools, sailing on a doomed ship. Drawn on to the rocks of the EU, by hollow calls of warning, threat and disaster from sirens who are cast in their own image and of their own making.

We don’t know how long they and the Parties that propagate them will remain in power.

But of one thing we can be sure.

Sooner or later these charlatans are going and going for good.

And when they do so, only then will there be a chance for real democracy in this Country to be restored.

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