Thursday, 13 February 2014

Floods, sweat and tears

If you are one of the people whose home has been flooded or damaged following recent spells of violent stormy weather in the UK, you have my sympathies.  What you're going through at the moment must be absolutely ghastly, and no one would want to be in that position.

But almost as ghastly has been the response of politicians, the media, and the general public to what I'm sure, by now, must be termed the flooding crisis.

Let's be absolutely clear, here - the flooding is terrible, yes, but it isn't particularly anybody's fault.  There is a worrying tendency in our modern culture, whenever misfortune befalls us, to sit back, pouting with disapproval, superciliously demanding to know "what are they going to do about it?"

Whom, exactly, is supposed to "do something about it"?  Damage caused to personal property by the weather is unfortunate and inconvenient (to put it extremely mildly!), but we are dealing with forces of nature well out of our control; we can't just stamp our feet and demand recompense.  Who is going to pay it?

The government, of course.  Or, at least, that's what plenty of people are calling for.  Now, there are plenty of things for which you can fault the current Coalition government - but I really don't think that they control the weather.  (The other day I genuinely saw someone on Twitter refer to the recent downpour as 'Tory rain' - not just rain, but Tory rain.  Rain which believes in tax cuts, private sector enterprise and personal responsibility.  If that's not political hyperbole, I don't know what is!)

Of course, politicians don't help themselves.  David Cameron said yesterday that "money is no object" when it comes to helping victims of floods - which is, frankly, a stupid thing to say.  And for days, now, senior political figures from all parties have rushed to flood-stricken areas to do precisely nothing other than to be seen going there.  Naturally, people see right through that, lambasting the politicians for being so opportunistic as to turn up in flood-hit regions looking for photo opportunities where they can act like they care - but these same people would be the first to hit out at 'uncaring, out-of-touch' politicians if they didn't put in a token appearance in flooded towns and villages!

Ultimately, there's very little that can be done at the moment - and in our something must be done! culture, people find that difficult to swallow.  Our default reaction when we encounter adversity is to point the gnarled finger of blame and cast around for a suitable scapegoat, instead of just dusting ourselves down and getting on with things as best we can; unfortunately, sometimes we have to accept that it isn't anyone's fault, nobody owes us anything - it's just that sometimes, shit happens.  It sucks, but that's life.

1 comment:

JerseySjov said...

I've noticed that when tragedy strikes underdeveloped areas, we're all chomping at the bit to send money, food, water, young people, etc, but when it happens in countries we feel have it together, we somehow think that everyone will just be okay. Just because a town/county/country HAS resources doesn't mean they'll be distributed in any timely or reasonable manner. Of course, the two weeks my parents went without electricity after a hurricane is nothing compared to the absolute desolation of, say, a tsunami, but that doesn't mean they weren't cold, thirsty, and hungry.

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