Fire and flood by Angela Caldin

Unprecedented bush fires in Eastern Australia and devastating floods in the North of England.

Some of the responses to these tragedies have been extraordinary. Michael McCormack, deputy prime minister of Australia and leader of the National party, said concerns over climate change while fires were burning were a ‘disgrace’. He went on to say “They (the victims) don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time.” When do they need those ravings, one wonders; if not when three people have died in fires that are still raging.

Boris Johnson’s response to the floods has been heavily criticised. He has been accused of being preoccupied with electioneering instead of coordinating a national response to the floods which have affected Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Simon Greaves, the Labour leader of Bassetlaw district council, said, “The government had a fantastic opportunity to step up to the plate and take emergency action. For me, they were concentrating more on the general election campaign than they were on people’s lives. They had an opportunity to take action; they consciously chose not to. I think it’s utterly outrageous.”

Johnson was finally shamed into travelling to the flood-stricken area, but managed to turn his visit into a photo opportunity by grabbing a mop in Specsavers in Matlock and attempting to mop the floor (for just as long as it takes for a photo or two) with a broad smile on his face. Meanwhile a woman had drowned in floodwater and another woman described her home as smelling of stale, rotten fish.

It seems that it was only after Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, wrote to Johnson to say that he disagreed with the prime minister’s assessment at the weekend that the flooding was “not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency” and urged him to convene the Cobra emergency committee meeting.

Corbyn made a very telling point, “If this had happened in Surrey, not Yorkshire or the east Midlands, it seems far more likely that a national emergency would have been declared.” This was echoed by a Green party parish councillor who said, “This is devastating for people’s lives. It’s the official response that’s the issue, whoever is in charge. It seems it has not been fast enough and because these people are not wealthy people and it has happened before, they have a sense that they’re not that important.”

In Australia, the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, was confronted by Ginger O’Brien, a resident of Nimbin, on the north coast of NSW, who told him: “Shame on you. Your house is not burning. My house is burning down. What are you doing? Nothing. You’re laughing. You’re having a circus. You’re playing with fire.”

Claire Pontin, deputy mayor of the MidCoast Council NSW, put things eloquently when she said, “As my community stands shoulder to shoulder to protect our homes and our bushland this week, I call on our state and federal leaders to put political point-scoring to one side and focus on what needs to be done to support us. And that includes acknowledging that climate change is fuelling the conditions for catastrophic fires, and that we need a new approach to respond to this increased threat.”

It’s so much more than a national emergency; it’s a global emergency. Perhaps when politicians’ houses are ruined by floods or their luxury pads are burnt to the ground, they and we might all begin to take notice.

7 Comments on “Fire and flood by Angela Caldin

  1. Hi Angela

    Excellent article. It’s beyond me why the Oz politician ranted and raved against those who are smart enough (unlike him) to recognise the cause of the fires – climate change. I always puzzle over that sort of thing – what goes on in his head such that he can get so furious about what is, as tens of thousands of scientists attest, the truth? Bizarre.

    Susan 🙂

  2. These temps have been around since the 1800s . The problem is caused by heat and populaton. The greens to not allow burn offs ,that added to the problem.

    • “I’m now a volunteer fire-fighter, we just can’t get the burns in because it’s either too wet or it’s too dangerous and they get away from us. So that’s the fuel problem. And people need to recognise it is climate change.” – Greg Mullins, former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW and Climate Councillor.

  3. Even if the politicians, as horrible and maleficent as this moronic crop from is, “takes notice,” there is nothing within the system that they can do, or their more progressive successors can do, to arrest the further and deepening use of fossil fuels.

  4. The evidence is plain if discomforting: oil has seeped into every corner of human life, from the plastics we all use, to the jobs that are connected to their use, to the clothes we wear, the medicine we take, everything. As William Catton and others have observed for decades now, this is how the natural world works when a predator species goes unchecked.
    And then you get idiotic denier comments like the “greens are responsible.”

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