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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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Labour’s Universal Basic Income is nothing but a temporary bridge across a black hole of a problem that none of the Parties understand or are prepared to deal with

November 10, 2019 Leave a comment

89447a1c-d5a9-4158-b167-d12c506c5774The headlines this morning make painful reading to anyone who can see the real costs of The Labour Party’s plans and what they will involve.

Actually, it’s not the suggested figure of £1.2 Trillion over five years spent on public services that the real problem.

It’s the reality that this child-in-a-sweet-shop-with-birthday-money approach to fixing public services involves nothing more original than throwing money at the problems with no investment for the future or genuine long-term returns involved.

All well and good you might say if your only priority is to get a government elected and indefinitely keep that power.

But for the millions of British People who are experiencing the arse end of all that’s wrong in this Country each and every day, any positive impact from Labour’s great giveaway will be short lived once the default causes of all these societal ills have quickly bubbled back up to the surface again through the pile of vaporising money that these cynical left-wing politicians tell us they have in store.

The hollow promise that comes with a Universal Basic Income is the suggestion that poverty can be addressed as simply as giving everyone the same amount of money each month before spending on everything that life demands of us begins.

It’s a nice idea. And for people caught in a poverty trap with little or nothing, the promise of a lump of no-strings-attached cash each month is an electoral vote winner that is likely to go far.

If only life were really that simple.

The biggest problem that people on or below the poverty line in this Country face is not what income they have. It’s keeping control of the cost of everything that is essential to live, get by and to enjoy a basic or acceptable standard of living or quality of life.

Identifying the amount of money, or the combination of a Universal Basic Income payment plus any benefits that might be payable that are involved right now, today, doesn’t address the issue of what they will cost thereafter. Nor does it address the issue of how the real cost of living got to where it is today.

The reason for this is one of the greatest cultural ills of business today.

It is the exploitation of every opportunity to make profit wherever and whenever possible. Not because that’s what makes businesses work and function. But simply becuase the circumstances exist where they choose to because they legally can.

Too many profit hungry business owners, managers, shareholders, agents, financiers and speculators are taking too much money out of a system where there would otherwise be plenty that was affordable for all. They interrupt and place themselves within supply chains, production chains and service chains without adding any value to the process themselves – and this process often happens more than once.

Gandhi once said that ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every mans need, but not every mans greed’. Our politicians clearly don’t read and if they did, they certainly don’t listen.

Whilst an argument can be made that Labours Election Manifesto includes a plan to re-nationalise essential public industries such as power, water and rail, the reality that they have no plans to address the institutional problems that exist within the Public Sector mean that the profits currently being sucked out of these industries by private shareholders will simply be redistributed to other destinations of a self-serving kind, whilst the service itself and cost to users will progressively get even worse whilst costing us all even more.

Addressing the cost and regulating the freedom of the private interests that you can never realistically remove from all manufacturing and production, services and supply, to charge whatever they want for goods and services that are essential to providing a basic quality of life for us all, should therefore be the primary aim of any political party that really wants to improve life.

It should be a simple task for politicians who genuinely care and intend to lift the poorest in society out of the circumstances that are a vicious circle that condemn them to want, debt and an experience of life that nobody in the 21st Century UK should ever have.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives – in fact none of the Political Parties we have on offer to us as Voters today, really have any idea nor understanding of how the monetary system works. Yet they are obsessed with monetary theory.

They don’t know how business operates. But they believe themselves qualified to regulate or deregulate at will.

They certainly have no appreciation of how technology is not only destroying and dehumanising relationships. But is also making the ability of the unscrupulous to exploit others and the vulnerable easier than it ever has been before.

The people or so-called politicians that we already have and that we are about to elect again in December are not fit to rule over us. They have no idea of what the problems facing this country really are and how they affect people of all demographics and backgrounds. They have no vision of how those problems can be addressed. And they certainly have no idea of what they really need to do to begin solving any of them.

Until we have politicians and leaders in this country who do see, understand and are prepared to do whatever it is that is necessary to deal with the issues that this Country faces, the fuckwits that we have in power will play around only with what they perceive to be the problems that others outside the Westminster bubble face, whilst what amounts to their tinkering makes everything everyone else is experiencing a whole lot worse.

 

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.

Ignore the climate change concerns of young people and children if you dare. But addressing the shared fate of nations will help to solve many more of our UK problems as they have the same cause

September 20, 2019 Leave a comment

getting-startedYoung people and children share an idealistic view of the world and how it should be. Their view may not be practical or show any understanding of the issues involved. But that doesn’t mean that their passion should not be our guiding light and the one that we follow. Not just in terms of tackling the real causes of the climate problem, but also as we move forward to a future where we work together to put all of the wrongs right.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg appears to have set the world alight with her ideas and passion for the climate cause. But the sensationalism around her carries as much cynicism as it does genuine feeling. In fact, it may well be a whole lot more.

Whether you feel able to argue about the causes of climate change or not, the reality is that change is certainly taking place. It is now in everyone’s interests to do everything possible to mitigate anything and everything that we recognise as being a possible cause.

The biggest problem that we, and the many young protesters that are out and about this world of ours today face, is that the focus on climate change that they and most of us already share is based upon and focussed only on the effects of the problem. Not the actual cause.

We are not talking about the overuse of plastics, chemicals, fossil fuels and more. Those are but the effects of the problem. A problem which is based on a worldwide culture where those with more always want more.

The world uses materials and methods of working which damage the environment because they make everything cheap. Not cheap for us or other end users. But cheap for the people and companies that make, sell and transport our goods and services to us.

Climate change is costly for the future of the entire world.

But for those making money out of it, futures costly misery comes to them today feeling rather cheap indeed.

What we are seeing unfold in front of our eyes really is the fate of nations. Nothing less. Nothing more.

And as our children and young people are rightly telling us, climate change or the effects of it are no longer something that any of us can or should attempt to deny.

The momentum which is now being unleashed by the passion of younger people alone, can now open the doors to dialogue and change that before has been resisted by big business and self interest. It has therefore has been unknown.

But to capitalise on the opportunity, there must come a wider realisation between all of us that we cannot continue to think that the only god available to us is money. A way of thinking that will require our politicians to bring a very different, intuitive, considered and above all selfless way of working to the fore.

The companies, bankers and financiers that sit behind these problems, making money all the time, just need to be handled differently, by leaders able and not afraid to act upon all that they know.

They must be asked the question ‘would you prefer to fold when the wheels fall off all of this in just a few years, or change approach and adapt to a new way of thinking, so that you are making a good profit, albeit ethically in many years time?

To do this, our politicians and the governments made up of them must think very differently and look at every level of shared commonality as what makes us all one.

Politicians can no longer see themselves, their own interests, their own ideas and the people they relate to as the only priority or cause.

This is not a question of creating a world government or trying to use anything as an excuse to build empires.

Its about accepting and being open to working together. Knowing that even across borders, we have things in common as part of a bigger picture, that must now outweigh the comparative trivialities that only define us as nations and as cultures.

We can be different. But also the same.

We only need to make the right steps and to do that we must look all of this for what it is.

We must stop still and pause.

 

image thanks to unknown

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