Blame the Conservatives for Extreme Flooding in the UK

Blame the Conservatives for the flooding in the UK

First and foremost we should address the cuts to flood defence, as well as multiple other reasons the Conservative party should take a major proportion of the blame, for the misery and suffering of  many people who have had their lives ruined by floods.

Since 2011, 1114 flood defence schemes were suddenly left without funding, this was actually raised as a concern by the Environment Agency who stated that 1 in 6 properties were at risk of flooding. The biggest project to lose funding is the £160m scheme for defences along 12 miles of the river Aire and stretched right into the heart of Leeds , worth noting that the flooding round Aire has been the worst since records began.

Climate change is an obvious example of the recent extreme weather changes, although the contributing factors are quite complex. Adam Scaife, The head of Met Office, stated that the effects of El Nino are exacerbated with man-made climate change. El Niño is a phase of what is known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. The ENSO cycle is a scientific term that describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east of the Pacific. This can increase storms in America, flooding in Europe, and drought with increased temperature in Australia. However the power behind these phenomena’s can be exacerbated by man-made climate change, leading to extreme conditions such as the flooding experienced in the North of England.

After the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement, 196 ministers committed their represented countries to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, to achieve a worldwide temperature drop of 2C with an aspiration of 1.5C. Now to be fair to the Conservatives and David Cameron in particular, who made a rousing speech decrying “the Earth is in peril”, the UK led the way on the negotiations. This however was just a superficial move by the Tories, who have since brought in a number of un-environmental policies such as:

  • Allowing fracking in national parks
  • Scrapping support for onshore wind
  • Solar subsidies axed
  • Killing green home schemes
  • Selling the Green investment bank
  • Axing Tidal power

Now whilst adopting green policies wouldn’t change the flood issue at this present moment, the combination of cuts to flood defences as well as environmentally sustainable initiatives, show the incredible incompetence of the Conservatives to provide appropriate flood defence in the short-term, and tackling the root causes of flooding in the long-term.

Lastly we have to look at the internal draining boards prioritized to protect farmlands, over the safety of towns and cities downstream, which in particular have exposed thousands of residents in local areas to flooding. This combined with the burning of grouse moors, has significantly affected the amount of rain water that can be held in the area, draining at a faster rate downstream into urban areas; the reason why these moors are burned is to encourage a different habitat (the growth of heather) which wealthy land-owners use as effective nesting grounds for grouse. Before the man-made change in habitat, these areas naturally soaked up water, stored rich carbon, and increased bio-diversity. There’s one problem though, these landowners make a considerable amount of money from the shooting season, making £2500 – £5000 for a brace of grouse.                           However, the worst part to all this, is it’s actually subsidised by the Conservative government, who pay these wealthy landowners – the top 1% of the richest in the country – £56 per hectare; the owner of Walshaw Moor (Richard Bannister, a wealthy retail mogul) was paid 2.5 million pounds to continue dredging the area and burning moorland, this directly contributed to the flooding of 11,000 people in the Hebden Bridge area.

To summarise, the Conservatives contributed to the demise of natural flood defences, whilst cutting artificial flood defences, and making no commitment to tackle the intensifying problems with climate change. This has brought untold misery to victims of flooding, who have lost their homes, businesses and livelihoods; but given that the Tories are more concerned with money and public spending, we should also remind them to take a hard look at the fact this will cost the tax payer 5.8 billion in damages.

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The Tory party and its manipulation of growth and unemployment statistics

Conservative unemployment and growth statistics.

Why you only need to scratch the surface to find the figures misleading.

So after listening to Prime Ministers questions, It seems the Tories are very proud of their unemployment figures currently sitting at 5.7%, with 97,000 more people in work over the last 3 months. This has led to lots of pompous posturing from the Conservatives about their ability to handle the economy, and was reiterated in nearly every answer David Cameron gave.

“It’s this government that has the strong and growing economy, and I note, question  4, and still not a welcome for the unemployment figures!”

The method to calculate unemployment figures, measures the number of people claiming benefits or JSA (Job seekers allowance).This recording of unemployed people changed during the infamous reign of Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher; instead of those ‘registered’ unemployed,  this changed to only count ‘claimants’ – this obviously reduced the number greatly as many unemployed people do not, for various reasons, claim benefits.

But I think the most constant shady practice from the Tories is the manipulation of statistics, for example, the Conservatives sickening attempt to redefine child poverty; after the Institute of Fiscal Studies forecasted this number would increase from 2.3, to 2.5 million children living in households 60% lower than the national average. This becomes particularly disingenuous when you take into consideration the manifesto promise “We have the right measures in place to drive real change to tackle the root causes of poverty”.  When it comes to unemployment, the conservatives can simply cut the number of people able to claim JSA’s and benefits, thus making the ‘statistics’ believable that there is far more people in work.

The despicable practice of Iain Duncan Smith (Secretary for Work and Pensions) and his ilk , oversaw the new welfare reform bill, which included the useless universal credit program, and also administered the introduction of sanctions and the benefit cap; bearing in mind that people who were then sanctioned,  suddenly slipped off the unemployment statistics.

The benefit cap also coincided with tougher fit-to-work schemes, this is used by the government to effectively force people in to work, most distressingly is the disabled people who have been hounded by this government under the contractor ‘Atos’. Worth mentioning that since Iain Duncan Smiths involvement in welfare, 2380 people have died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found they were found fit for work.

Finally the issue of Zero hour contracts, probably the best example of why these unemployment figures should be scrutinised. The Conservative party’s official line on zero hour contracts is that with a free flowing market, employers should be able to offer contracts with intermittent hours, rather than a fixed number. Now this may be useful for working in bars or fast food restaurants as a student (an argument actually used by David Cameron in a Paxman interview in the run up to the last election) or an aspiring musician needing some work on the side, but this hardly supports anyone trying to build a life for themselves. Imagine not knowing whether you’ll be able to afford rent by the end of the month, let alone feeding yourself, your family, or save any money.  These contracts have been adopted by a majority of big businesses hiring low skilled employees.

Recently there has been controversy over ‘Sports Direct’ with 72% of staff on zero contracts earning below the living wage, and being fired (under a 6 strike rule) for taking time off sick, or using the toilet for too long. This along with the restrictions of workers unions, who defend employment rights, shows the all-out attack on the working class of the UK, and why there is no cause for celebration on the recent employment figures.

On a finishing note I think the most important point I can make, is that with the economy growth up to 2.4% at the end of this year, with unemployment figures at 5.7%; the gap between the richest and poorest is still growing, the richest 1,000 families control a total of £547bn, rising by more than 112% since 2009, and own more than the poorest 40% of British households.

So basically, the recent growth in wealth means sod all to most of us, if the majority of wealth ends up in the hands of a tiny minority, and the employment figures represent poor people being forced to work in diminishing conditions.

Challenging the Pro-Bombing Rhetoric

Confronting rhetoric with knowledge.

Right let me explain to you what is happening since none of you have a fucking clue. Let’s get some things straight.

Ok so this is a direct challenge to the comment currently trending on Facebook by a man called Ricky Davies from Swansea. I find this as insulting as  much as  our beloved Prime Minister calling those on the  opposition to bombing Syria , the “terrorist sympathises”. Each of Ricky’s comments are highlighted.

We are not going to war.

According to the Oxford Dictionary this is the definition of war: ‘A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country’. So we can argue on definitions, but it’s a little harsh to say we “don’t have a fucking clue”, when the definition is down to interpretation, although I think it’s pretty obvious.

We are already bombing ISIS in Iraq. What this means is we are now going to bomb them over the Syrian border, where as before we were not allowed because we did not have the authority to do so. So if we were chasing a group of Isis militants before and they entered Syria from Iraq we would have to stop the chase and let them get away.

On this issue I agree, if you’re going to bomb Iraq, you might as well bomb Syria as Daesh does not share the same notion of a national border, however many of us would argue that bombing without a coherent ground force in BOTH countries is bad, although that wasn’t the choice given to Parliament doing the final debate.

We can now attack Isis strong holds which will prevent them sending terrorists to the uk amongst the refugees.

I think at this point we can really debate about ‘who has a clue’

7/7 Bus bombings:

Mohammad Sidique: Raised in Beeston, Leeds

Shehzad Tanweer: 22, Aldgate bomber Was born in Bradford but lived most of his life in the   Beeston area of Leeds.

Germaine Lindsay: 19, Russell Square bomber  Jamaican-born British resident Germaine Lindsay spent his childhood in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, not far from the other bombers’ homes.

Hasib Mir Hussain: 18, Tavistock Square bomber Hussain was a second generation British citizen

No evidence of any of these citizens being trained in Syria, although the point is that these attackers where radicalized in the UK

Paris bombers:

Omar Ismail Mostefai: French born to Algerian parents, although the is hints that he was trained in Syria, he’d been radicalized way before this intervention, and warning flags were not responded to by the French secret service, and passed through Turkey borders as a citizen, NOT a refugee.

The Abdeslam brothers: Belgium born French national, no evidence of going to Syria or Iraq to be trained, grew up in a suburb of Brussels.

Bilal Hadfi: 20 year old French National, did fight with Daesh, was not a refugee.

Ahmad al Mohammad: Did appear to be a refugee, although his real name and identity are a mystery, I myself am cynical about why you’d carry your own passport and Identity documents during a suicide bomb, which conveniently don’t perish in the explosion, but at least there is some remnant of the clue this writer claimed to have about these terrorists.

Samy Amimour: French National, did join terrorists and returned to the country, crucially was radicalized before his departure.

Abdel Hamid Abaaoud: Born in Molenbeek, Belgium. The mastermind of the operation, radicalised before his first journey to Syria.

Hasna Aiboulahcen: French women, Radicalised during trips to Morocco to visit her father

Now although there is obvious evidence to suggest “bombing Daesh camps” would stop any kind of training,  the point is that not one of these people were citizens of Syria fleeing chaos, they were radicalized on western soil. Now I’m sure you don’t want to bomb parts of Paris and Belgium, but having a clear community strategy and a policy of integration is precisely how you can highlight violent individuals, there were many issues with the lack of detection work done by the French secret service.

According to Nicolas Hennin, a French Journalist who was prisoner for 10 years by Daesh: he explained that part of Daesh’s strategy is to create divides between Islam and the Western world, through a perception that Europe are hostile to Muslims, by bombing civilians and turning away refugees. This is done to boost the reputation of Daesh being a safe haven for Muslims under the Caliphate.

We are not starting it and it is not the British government making things worse.
We have simply joined an elite list of world powers already bombing them.
These countries include
USA, Russia, China, France, Turkey and even little Kurdistan.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran are also bombing them, Who are both 98%+ Muslim and under sharia law.
So before you go mouthing off about it’s a racist thing, then how come them countries are also bombing them?

Again this is the perception by pro-bomb Syria campaigners that we are all in this against Evil, like some twisted Avengers movie.

To help explain the cluster fuck in the Middle-East, and why bombing Syria is NOT a clear cut choice

1st. Assad bombs protesters and civilians

2nd. Free Syrian army starts civil war

3rd.  Assad releases extremist Islam prisoners who join the Syrian army to deter Western Involvement

4th: Syrian Kurds detach from other groups to form separate resistance against Assad.

5th: Iran joins Assad with arms and aid to his supporters

6th:  Gulf states fund the rebels through Turkey ( See 3rd point)

7th: Hezbollah join conflict defending Assad

8th: Jordon helps arm Syrian Rebels (see 3rd and 6th point)

All of this, points to a general divide between Sunni and Shiites.

9th: USA start training and equipping rebels (see 3rd, 6th and 8th point)

10th: Russia joins War( and by now I’d hope you’d refer to this as a war) in defense of their ally Assad (See 1st,3rd,5th,7th points)

11th: Daesh forms from Iraqi Sunnis and Syrian rebels who break away from all movements declaring themselves a separate state, they don’t fight Assad, only the rebels and Kurds ( See 4th point)

12th: Turkey our supposed ally starts bombing the Kurds, but not Daesh

So yes you’re not being racist, how can you be with so many different factions? However If you’re claiming that people opposing bombing Syria “need to get a fucking clue” I think you’re being hypocritical.

And before you go on about how the government is making a mistake how about you educate yourself on what is really going on instead of giving your clueless and irrelevant opinion.

Hmm, how ironic.

Do you really think that we are going to bomb the whole of Syria and not just the suspected Isis bases? If so then you should not have the audacity to even comment on the matter.

we know that approximately 165,000 civilians have died from direct war related violence caused by the US, its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through April 2015. The violent deaths of Iraqi civilians have occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing (http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/civilians/iraqi)

Yes we do have the audacity, due to the facts and “clues” that some of us actually read up on.

Bravo David Cameron on making this decision which will save millions of lives and help put an end to Islamic state.

How dare you David Cameron for calling your opposition to bombing Syria Terrorist sympathizes, we need to work with all external countries for a peaceful resolution, with a united effort of Western and Middle Eastern forces to oppose Daesh as a joint group.

AND we most certainly need to take more refugees to show tremendous bravery against terror, against fear, for we will not give in to Daesh’s wishes, and we should never turn our back on innocent people fleeing from war.