HUNDREDS of houses have been flooded across the country over these last months, and angry residents are demanding to know why nothing has been done to protect their homes.
Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset with more heavy rain forecast.
The source of the problem is that recent governments have made drastic cuts in the flood services. There have been, under this government, 36% budget cuts leading to 1,700 jobs being axed, including 550 in flood teams.
Dredging has been halted in the rivers, nothing has been developed or updated which has allowed the whole system to go to rack and ruin with most of the dredging pumps sold off as scrap.
Hundreds of years ago Dutch builders were brought in by Charles II to dredge the rivers and introduce a flood protection system and this was maintained until the cuts were introduced.
Today Holland has no problem with floods even though their land is below sea level.
But in the UK, the incessant rain has produced massive floods on a scale that local councils have been unable to deal with.
Throughout this crisis, the government has remained warm and snug in their homes until the anger of people in Somerset, one of the hardest-hit counties in the southwest, and other regions, many of them the basis of Tory support, forced Cameron to make a fleeting visit forcing him to call in troops and organise emergency meetings of the Cobra Committee to try and deal with the crisis.
Tory Coalition Communities minister, Eric Pickles, attempted to divert blame away from the government and launch an all-out attack on the Environmental Agency, suggesting the government ‘perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency’s advice’ on flood prevention.
He stated: ‘I am really sorry that we took the advice . . . we thought we were dealing with experts’. Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith, hit back, saying his staff knew ‘100 times’ more about flooding than any politician and that the Tory coalition was holding back vital funds.
These comments however have sparked an open rift between the government and the Environment Agency.
But the disastrous impact of these floods are a direct result of the disastrous cuts that have been made.
This was underlined by the head of the Environmental Agency, Owen Paterson’s now infamous comments, that Britain must decide whether to protect ‘town or country’ because it is too costly to safeguard both.
However it seems that capitalism is unable to save either town or country as thousands of homes along the River Thames are now also threatened with flooding as flood waters continue to rise.
Labour’s Miliband has accused ministers of fighting ‘like ferrets in a sack’, saying: ‘It is a disgrace that you have got government ministers pointing the finger of blame at each other when they should be rolling their sleeves up and helping those affected.’
Nevertheless, Labour also did nothing about building up flood defences in the 13 years that they were in power.
The truth of the matter is that it is the bankruptcy of capitalism that is driving society backwards, homes are flooded, train lines are down, communities are completely isolated and families are trapped in their homes with no electricity, light or heat.
Capitalism cannot take society an inch further forward. It is a system that is based on profits for the few, making thousands of people suffer from these disasters as a result.
Capitalism will not ‘learn lessons’ from this disaster. Last year councils gave the go-ahead for 87 planning developments involving the building of 560 homes in England and Wales in areas at such high risk of flooding that the EA formally opposed them.
This government must be immediately brought down and replaced with a workers government that will have the resources to plan proper housing, control of rivers and deal with harsh climate conditions and develop the technological means to improve flood defences and thereby provide a safe environment for all to live in.