Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
These storms could be a catalyst for just the kind of major works Britain needs | Deborah Orr | Comment is free | The Guardian

...Those small pumps, liberated from garages and storerooms in response to the ceaseless rain, represent for me the inadequacy of individual, private attempts to stem this winter's tide. Sure, one admires the testimony of doughty householders, who appear on television to explain that they called and called the council to request sandbags, and eventually ordered sand and bags themselves, in the hope of holding off the floods. But one also understands that small communities, however tough they are in spirit, cannot battle alone against nature and its unpredictable vicissitudes. Everybody gets that now, even the Tories.

...infrastructural protection against floods is a huge job, a national job, a job that the state has to oversee. There is no private-sector solution here, not even in the spacious realm of neoliberal fantasy.

I'm not given to jingoistic pronouncements about Britain's standing in the world. But I do think that it's a national embarrassment, this parlous display of our island's vulnerability. Maybe it's poetic justice - the way that the country that began the industrial revolution has found itself so unprepared against the climate change it has ushered in. But one can't help thinking, nonetheless, that Brunel must be turning in his grave. Half a century - at least - of failure to invest in a resilient national infrastructure has brought us to this. Individuals can't cope. But nor can our transport links, our power networks or our sewerage systems.

...In a real sense the state itself has become too individualistic - intervening, not very well, to assuage individual suffering caused by the failure to invest in general, infrastructural improvement, whether that be lack of housing, or lack of work or lack of a basic feeling of belonging to a cohesive society in which you have your own part to play. Margaret Thatcher, who accelerated Britain's retreat from big public projects into a short-sighted political advantage, was always boasting about her housewifely discipline. David Cameron and George Osborne continue to believe that if you look after the pennies, then the pounds will take care of themselves. But as far as state infrastructure is concerned, the opposite is true. Look after the pounds, and the pennies will take care of themselves.

Well I don't share the author1s optimism that this will bring about a turn-around, but she used some nice talking points and metaphors.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:

melo 4
afew 4
Bjinse 4


Occasional Series