We’re a wealthy country… money’s no object…

FloodingI’m supposed to be writing an important human rights report, but the political messages around today have tempted me to blog – for the first time since the turn of the year, when my anger about poverty spilled into a much less measured blog than usual. My anger has now got the better of me again…

First of all I must say, very clearly, that flooding is terrible for those affected and my heart goes out to all those who have experienced the horror of dirty, sewage-contaminated water flowing through their homes. This blog is not directed against flood victims, but is a comment on the political message and reality behind the Prime Minister’s promises.

The floods have reached the home counties. Beautiful homes next to the River Thames are awash. This is archetypal middle England. Confirmed Tory voters are now being affected by the floods which have ravaged the West Country and other areas for many weeks. Strangely, now that the water is affecting the homes of the “middle classes”, money is suddenly no object. Cameron even says “we’re a wealthy country”. He should choose his words with care….

Since the 2010 election we’ve been told that “difficult decisions have to be made” – especially when it comes to social security for the poorest in our communities, those who are ill or disabled and unable to work or are unattractive to potential employers. We were been told the welfare bill had got out of hand – even before DLA, the benefit that started in 1992 (and isn’t perfect, but what is?), had worked its way through the population to steady state, we were told it cost too much. Local authorities have had massive reductions to their budgets – and as the lion’s share of non-ring-fenced LA spending goes on adult social care, it’s not hard to see why this has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of disabled and older people receiving support. We can’t even afford to support couples who live in social housing, where one partner is providing round the clock care for the other but needs a bedroom to sleep in. Carers UK have recently published a report telling the devastating stories of family carers trying to balance caring responsibilities and work with insufficient financial and other support; for those providing 24/7 care, the carer’s allowance pays the princely sum of 36 pence per hour….

There is no doubt that people have been, and are, suffering enormously as support and resources are stripped away from those most in need of help. People are having to choose between heating their homes and eating properly, mothers are choosing not to eat to ensure they can feed their children, families are finding themselves unable to make ends meet in the school holidays when their children don’t get free school meals. There isn’t enough money to enable everyone to have the basics; that’s how poor our country is. You get the picture. “We’re all in it together” – but those who are obliged to rely more on public services and support are clearly “in it” much more than those able to be more self-reliant.

This quiet crisis – exemplified, in a sense, by a terrifying story in the New Statesman today about a recent increase in the death rate of older people – only hits the news if some gobshite (sorry!) like Katie Hopkins (who I’ve nicknamed #walkingtabloid) says something outrageous. For months on end we’ve been waiting for the BBC to report properly what’s happening on the ground. Suffering, what suffering? Don’t know what you’re talking about. Poor people, really poor, in the UK today? Don’t believe it. They clearly can’t manage their money properly (er, what money??).

This dreadful suffering, desperate people waiting to hear whether they can get enough money to live on, is the price we thought we were paying for the financial “crisis”. Like a lone voice, I’ve contributed to the comment pages on right-wing articles, saying “but the UK is a wealthy country. We do have money”. Superior middle-class types, who have no concept of how quickly their lives could spiral downwards following a catastrophic injury or illness, have patronised me, explaining, as if to a two year-old, that the country doesn’t have money, only individuals do; how could I be so naive?!

So, here we are. Disabled people clearly don’t matter. Poor people clearly don’t matter. Older people matter a bit, but not enough to ensure social care is properly funded. But suddenly, after lots of people and communities have been suffering from dreadful flooding for many weeks, the Thames breaks its banks. As if by magic, the Prime Minister tells us “Money is no object. We are a wealthy country”. I feel sick.

When disabled people can’t get suitable housing, we have no money.

When we need accessible public transport, we have no money.

When poor families can’t afford both food and heating, we have no money.

When people who appeal an incorrect “fit for work” decision need money to live on while their decision is “reconsidered”, we have no money.

When those who care 24/7 for family members are penalised financially, simply to remain in their homes, we have no money.

When A & E departments are under severe strain and sick people are waiting hours even to get into the hospital, we have no money.

BUT, when homes in middle England are flooded, money’s no object and we’re suddenly a wealthy country. Sorry, but as I said, I feel sick 😦

Now we know. The shrinking of the welfare state is ideological. We ARE a wealthy country, and we need to make the right choices in 2015. Flooding is awful – but extreme poverty, isolation, freezing cold homes and hunger are as well.

**********************

PS: Every time I see some news, my heart breaks for all those whose homes, whose private spaces, are ravaged by dirty, sewage-contaminated water and/or destructive winds. And I know that many of those who live near the Thames are ordinary people with ordinary jobs; not that different from those living in areas that have been flooded since December. Some of those who’ve read my blog have deduced I don’t care; I do. Flooding is one thing, politics is another – but disability, ill-health or poverty will have a major impact on the ability of many to pick up and start again.

These issues are neither simple nor – in the case of the weather – under the control of our leaders. But what is under our leaders’ control is their attitude and their response to both flooding and other disasters that befall our fellow citizens, whether that be a catastrophic injury, a long term illness, unemployment or anything else. I want our leaders to help – not just those who are flooded, but those who were struggling before the weather hit and are still struggling – or struggling even more due to the impact of the weather.

And finally, many will disagree with the points I’ve made. But the above post was written while I was watching Cameron on the TV, declaring that we are now a wealthy country and money is no object…. and I was immediately struck by the sharp contrast with the message the Government gives when it wants to remove support from those who need it most (flooding aside, of course; I DO NOT begrudge help going to those who have suffered flooding). I wasn’t seeking to pronounce on the state of the nation’s finances; I don’t have the expertise for that!!

183 thoughts on “We’re a wealthy country… money’s no object…

    • yes indeed it is a excellent post , it wouldn’t surprise me if David Cameron words don’t even get a mention on question time on Thursday . I hope that labour take him apart in pm questions in parliament , but I doubt it … I live in hope for 2015 when the callous Tories get the boot

      • At the present moment there is no political party that is any better and even if there were Europe has removed our ability to take action through political means. Best thing we can do is move to australia and leave blights to the amoral leadership

      • If Scotland become independent the Tories’ percentage share of the UK vote will go up considerably (very few in Scotland vote Conservative) – so you better hope that doesn’t happen or we might be stuck with them for quite a while….

    • It’s all been done deliberately to ruin the land, forcing people to move, which then opens up vast areas of land for them to do what they want with. Saying that they are going to help is just paying lip service. Watch: they will pay to relocate people, but will they be as generous to the people who want to stay? I doubt it.

    • Here here ……. I stupidly voted for the Tories but have come to the conclusion it wouldnt matter who I voted for – ive lost all faith in anybody in authority ive struggled to bring up my 17 yr old daughter who finally has been given the disability benefit she needs – this and the recession which all but wiped out my husbsnds painting business helped give me and my husband a heart attack through stress a year apart from each other he then fell off his ladder and broke both heels two legs in plaster and he had to go into the job centre in a wheelchair – some jobsworth asked him what he was doing to find a job ! Laughable I know ! to which I shoved a copy of his buisness letterheaded paper under her nose and said were trying to stay afloat – he was in the 40% tax bracket pre recession now he is on his own and so were buggered !- they paid the mortgage interest after what seemed like forever and we got £17.43 per week as a family of 4 as I was working for him – not once could they fathom he could not work so there was no money no jobs so hence I could do no bookwork and be paid as there was no work no money – again laughable! So hence things took their toll and we became a statistic and now live apart ?….education another disaster for years ive been told my daughters shy due to her medical issues -the same ones no one would acknowledge that gave her a disability – 4 years ago my then 13 yr old daughter gave up on life and did not longer want to be a part of it after a 2 year struggle we got to see the right person and shes now doing better on antidepressants and apparently has asphergers why then was never diagnosed at school who knows? She never did the last year due to health issues and was on short time for 2 years before that 3 months before her exams she was given a tutor for 3 hours a week – 2 hrs maths 1 hr english – she then sat her gcses at home stressed to the max all the time kicking herself for not being clever and understanding things – she has majorly been let down by the education system in this Country……..Then theres the local council who run the wood behind the house we live in for a local trust …..7 years we have lived here and every year 3 or 4 times a year our garden floods once it came into the house since then we battle to keep it at bay – since christmas ive lost count of the times the flood has been 2 ft deep at the side of the house – a grade 2 listed house that if we put in structural danger we would be fined but year in year out its allowed to go without help – except the odd sandbag when I scream merry murder at them and why – they cant afford to put it right …..okay it may not be as bad a somerset etc but I have it year in year out- I even offered to rent the land behind us so we could maintain the soakaway and pump the water down our manhole when it started to rise -but no! I even contacted my local MP who said we legally have the right for them to put it right as its flooding us off their land – but then heard nothing off him since …….. I also have a 3000 child tax credit bill to pay ……oh i was entitled to it but sent the forms in late so the money im entitled to as i match all criteria i now have to pay the tax man back! as i had it because i was entitled to it but because of a mix up between me and the tax office then the tax office and myself i now have to pay every oenny out of my income support and carers allowance – if it was money i shouldnt have had fair then fair enough but really out of my 90 pound a week I now have to reline the tax mans coffers. …………… so I say dont bother voting for anyone – they all tell you what you want to hear then leave you high and dry (or wet in my case) if I was in middle england had a high powered job with a bit of financial clout my voice would be heard – im a single voice in a money talks world and I csnt be heard over the kerching of the other voters – when someone steps up and helps me then they will get my vote until then im putting no x,’s in anyones box……..oops sorry massive rant now over !

  1. The government are doing ethnic cleansing on the disabled( I am one myself) the poor the vulnerable and the elderly as we are a strain on society( their hidden words) you are spot on and hopefully they will not regain power next year and I hope labour stick to their promise and leave well alone

  2. Pingback: “We ARE a wealthy country, and we need to make the right choices in 2015. Flooding is awful – but extreme poverty, isolation, freezing cold homes and hunger are as well.” | Warcraft, Books & Fibromyalgia

  3. I don’t believe anyone could have written that any better and it is exactly what so many of us have thought, well done Jayne. This should be in the papers and on the news!

  4. Thank you Jane this article is spot on and exactly in tune with my thoughts when Cameron made that statement yesterday afternoon and I hope it is mentioned in the forthcoming #wowdebate and next works and pensions committee as we really need to bring them to task on this.

  5. Excellent piece. Sums up succinctly what so many are thinking. I just hope the msm give it the time it deserves as it could be the final nail in Cameron’s coffin.

    • They won’t. The media is owned by the same corporations that control Cameron and co and they march together in lockstep. The media has been making excuses for Cameron, spinning for Cameron and censoring anything that might expose Cameron and his evil minions from the very first day they took office. The media is the propaganda arm of the oligarchy, owned by right-wing billionaires and used to further their social darwinist agenda.

      They lie, they exaggerate, they incite hatred, they omit inconvenient facts, they present information out of context, they present exceptions as the norm and they scapegoat, demonise and dehumanise the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society on a daily basis, to brainwash the British people so that their perception of reality, is a fictitious neoliberal capitalist reality.

      The only thing free about our billionaire owned “free press” is its freedom to lie with impunity.

      • I know you’re right, SGS, I was just hoping that once, just once, they may spell it out….I know, I’m dreaming 😦

        However, the fact that they have reported Cameron’s recent foot in mouth moments (including the best bit of PR the YES campaign in Scotland could have hoped for) gives me some hope, if only as it offers the opportunity to educate people as to how utterly clueless, thoughtless, out of touch and pro the City (at the expense of all else) he is.

  6. With nearly a third of us not bothering to vote and an estimated 6 million of us not even on the electoral register, we have the government we deserve.

    If more of us voted, our needs would be relevant and catered for

    • You’re probably right, but that doesn’t help those who did vote but live in areas where nothing we do will make a difference to the Government we get!

    • Now that I agree with – this un-elected coalition got in because of those who didn’t vote, and yes, due to them we are suffering!

    • I live in Blackburn Lancashire and it’s well known as a safe seat for Jack Straw (someone else is taking over from him in the 2015 elections) so even if I voted otherwise the local party would still be Labour.

      • That applies to the whole country Edward. We have a Tory MP who never gets more than 40% of the vote, which means the majority of the electorate has rejected him, but whose seat is classed as “safe” – the antiquated 19th century electoral system is in urgent need of meaningful reform.

  7. My words exactly. You should have heard my unfettered swearing at ‘that man’ in the hard hat last night. ‘Sick’, as I’m sure it is for you, is an understatement.

  8. I agree with you 100%! the only thing you do not mention is the 54 billion this government has given in overseas aid since in power, including this year, no mention of this on the BBC

    • I think there’s a problem with terminology here. ‘Extreme poverty’ to me says you live in a shack, maybe with clean water less than a day’s walk away or maybe not, probably no electricity or sanitation, knowing if the harvest is poor there is a greater than not chance that members of your family will die of hunger, and if you get ill there is no medical help of any description within several days walk. To my knowledge no-one lives like this in the UK.
      Therefore although there is much poverty (and I am not belittling in any way the living conditions of the very poor in this country) there is not extreme poverty. There is however a lot of extreme poverty around the world and as a wealthy country (which we are in comparison with other countries) we have a duty to help improve the lives of those who live in such conditions. That is not to say that there are no problems with what the aid budget gets spent on – there are, they are well publicised and I believe are being addressed. But the aid budget should and must remain if we are to call ourselves a civilised society.
      The simple fact of the matter is that the amount of money people expect the government to spend and the amount of tax people appear willing to pay do not match. Therefore either government spending has to come down or taxes have to go up. For my money I would get rid of Trident and add the savings to the welfare budget, and I’m sure there must be other sacred cows that could be looked at.
      Like Jane I observe how suddenly everything becomes urgent when residents of Surrey look like they might be affected, and while it may just be that it has come along because flooding is the press’ major topic of interest at the moment, I also fear that much of what she says is true.

      • “The simple fact of the matter is that the amount of money people expect the government to spend and the amount of tax people appear willing to pay do not match. ”

        So true, yet there are very few who would happily pay more tax to pay for better public services.

        I’ve often said that people lose sight of the fact that these things don’t come free of charge and that there are some things we should be happy to pay for.

        However it doesn’t help when we have a slash and burn attitude to public services, bringing in companies such as Serco, Capita, ATOS and G4S who reduce everything to the lowest possible common denominator in a bid to cash in for their own shareholders, paying poverty wages to ill trained and demotivated staff. Sure fire way of getting good services and good value for money. It’s just a fast train to millionaires’ row for the 1% at the top.

        Public services should be just that: public services, publically funded. And if that means a higher rate of taxation and less to spend on the irrelevant fripperies of life, then so be it.

        We need to regain sight of what’s truly important.

      • I agree completely with this. Please do not use extreme poverty for people living in UK even though some people are poor in UK terms. Luke Daniel’s comments with regard to how much people expect the govt to spend versus how much tax payers are prepared to pay are spot on. If you think getting rid of the coalition and letting Labour come in on their white charger to save the day I am afraid you will be sorely disappointed. Politicians are politicians and will always favour their supporters and say what they want to hear because they have the next election to win.

  9. If you a believe a word that Cameron, or any politician says, may I suggest you’re being a bit naive. Actions speak louder than words and we’ll see how much effort is put in once the water subsides. But one other aside, more people voting for Tory or Labour won’t make much of a difference. Either system will syphon our tax revenue to big corporations and overseas contracting. Voting in the UK is like a vegetarian choosing between sausages or bacon.

    • You mean voting in the UK is like being a vegetarian and choosing whether you should eat parts of yourself or eat others to survive.

  10. Good article, but my heart doesn’t go out to them. Words can barely express how much it gladdens my heart to see all those Tory areas with the expensive houses flooded and watching the hypocritical fuckers whining that the government has abandoned them, when the selfish, greedy, heartless assholes keep screaming that they want small government, low taxes and enthusiastically support an evil regime that savagely cuts money from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged leaving them homeless and destitute and some people so humiliated and hopeless that they take their own lives and then obscenely gives that money to the idle rich in tax cuts so that they can splurge it on gold-plated swimming pools, 100 grand bottles of whisky and hoard the rest in tax havens, without a pang of conscience. These Tories are such despicable and disgusting creatures that even when they are being flooded, their response is typically nasty – blaming foreigners for everything as usual: “cut foreign aid and give us the money instead”, it’s because they are giving all the money to foreigners why we are not being helped properly”.

    If it was a poor area this was happening to, those very same Tories that are being flooded now would without a doubt be saying cruel, heartless and merciless things like: “they are so used to relying on the government for everything that when these events occur, they just don’t have a clue how to help themselves, this dependency culture has so infantilised them we have got to help them with some tough love, we need to help them to learn to be self-reliant by abolishing welfare”, “those people have no community spirit, they need to show some initiative & blitz spirit by building their own flood defences & dredging their own rivers like we would, instead of sitting around begging for yet more government handouts and help”, “they went to live in an area they knew was prone to flooding, they chose to make that idiotic decision, so why should hard-working taxpayers like us who do they right thing have to pay for their poor decision making yet again?”, “if they spent less money on tattoos, drugs, junk food, cigarettes, scratch cards, booze, Sky TV, big flatscreen TVs and saved their money for a rainy day, maybe they wouldn’t have to beg for more hard-working taxpayer money to bail them out”, “it’s time these feckless losers learned some personal responsibility and maybe being left to face the consequences of their own poor decisions will finally teach them some” and “because of Labour’s reckless spending on immigrants, a bloated public sector and benefit scroungers, we just don’t have any money left to help them”.

    Selfish, greedy nasty people getting exactly what they deserve is such a rare occurrence in this wicked world, that when it happens, it is a truly beautiful thing. The schadenfreude is delicious and I am enjoying every moment of it.

    It’s just a shame that the floods haven’t drowned the bastards.

    • And talking of spending money recklessly, don’t these millionaires have insurance? Or are the government going to prop up the banks (ie the Insurers) once again when they have to pay out a shedload to cover the damage to these palaces in the Beautiful South.

    • Hopefully your post is ironic? No suffering or misery is a good thing, I’m sure you’ll agree, and I very much doubt that Surrey homeowners who get flooded will suddenly open their eyes and realise how unfair the world is because they have been flooded out! Let’s focus the discussion on the real issue – that David Cameron and the Tory party are favouring certain groups because they know that is where their votes come from. We need to take them to task over this, and demand that the principles of democracy and equality are upheld; we can only do this by lobbying our mps and using our right to vote at the next election. It doesn’t matter if we think our vote won’t make a difference – it will, because votes (even if they aren’t in a majority in a particular area) let the politicians know how people are feeling.

      • Please do not generalise. Not everyone who lives in Surrey is rich or ignorant or untouched by impairment or illness and the accompanying disadvantage.

      • You’re absolutely right. I live in Surrey myself, although mercifully not near a river. It’s more of a political point I’m making. Did you read my PS?

    • brilliant, i agree with every thing you have said, but i cannot find it within myself to gloat or be filled with glee, they are human just like the rest of us even if they choose to ignore it when it suits them (yes i know most of the time) but i dont want to be like them, not at all. we are better than that (maybe lol) that said i cant help but agree with the sentiment of them getting a taste of their own medicine, and knowing all too well what they would be saying about the rest of us if it wasn’t them but us. i agree with the original blog too.. the 2 faced liars will stoop to any level in any given situation!

    • WOW, a bit harsh, if they all drown (mostly 40% tax payers in those areas) where would the money come from to help anybody – personally I’m of Armed Forces background, I have an elderly Mother who cares full time for a disabled Father am neither political or particularly well educated but even I appreciate that not everyone in Surrey is in the super rich bracket and that a large amount of taxes are raised in The Home Counties! So they need help now whilst flooded but when the floods subside they will return to self sufficiency and make tax contributions so that the Government coffers continue to be filled! These people are not personally responsible for what our money is spent on and if they all decided to give up working and paying their taxes…………..

  11. I have been a victim of the welfare reforms, a carer and now losing my home. This post is fantastic and sadly so very true. Whilst watching the news last night and seeing how the affluent are being looked after and the other victims ignored and have been for weeks on end I could have screamed but I sat and sobbed. This government and it’s selective provision is a disgrace and I am ashamed to live here.

  12. An excellent article which mirrors my thoughts exactly. The floods have now reached those self-same Tories who were all in favour of the Nasty Party’s vicious and unnecessary spending cuts and, suddenly, Cameron has changed his tune and admits we are a wealthy country. However, it does not appear that he or his nasty cronies wish to provide anything at all for the poor, sick and vulnerable members of society. In fact it appears that they are doing everything possible to go back to the evil days of the Workhouse (the Workhouse in my home town finally closed in the late 1940s). They don’t want to contribute to society as a whole and, as such, do not wish to be part of society. We should remember that when it comes time to vote.

  13. Great post Jane – it really does cover so many things.
    I am so angry I have steam coming out of my ears! We have the money to help the poor, disabled, elderly, poorly paid, the NHS etc. but they won’t give it out to us as they don’t bloody care and they want rid of the likes of us!
    I am in Scotland, and if we get the YES vote through then the first thing to be abolished would be the PIP, the bedroom tax (even though people here don’t have to pay such tax anymore), the NHS would be protected and would NOT be sold off, our elderly would have their pensions guaranteed to go up every year, and our social security system would be overhauled so that the people who need the help get it!
    Cameron puts about 10 more YES votes every time he opens his disgusting mouth, and, even though I am English and have only lived here 7 years, I am voting YES because I have seen a difference, and it’s a huge difference!
    I too am glad that the tory scum are suffering – who’s screaming out of help now then? Serve them right!
    I do feel for the places that have been flooded for weeks and who got no help for 6 weeks as they didn’t matter.
    To be honest, I think this is the best time for ordinary people to come together and have peaceful demonstrations all around this country, not just in London. The government are panicking, there is far too much going on for them, there are far too much failures now being noticed, and now with the trouble over these floods there is every chance that Cameron and Co will end up having a breakdown 🙂
    I am against violence but I do believe in freedom of speech and for people to show their disgust and their votes of no confidence, and I do believe that the time has come to express our feelings out on the streets, in the media, and on blogs, social media etc.

    • Well said Jaypot. Don’t forget though that they are clamping down on free speech in the run up to the election, we can’t even criticise the heartless bastards any more without potentially facing prosecution.

      Democratic Free Society? My hairy fecking arse.

  14. im sorry but are you saying the government shouldn’t help flood victems and that no money should be given to help those affected and give all/any money pledged but the sick disabled elderly poor etc??. I am disabled and unable to work, my mum is my carer and she is also carer to my dad I am currently going though a review of the benefits I receive which is just enough to live on if I live simply and don’t have any problems BUT I am also in the big red area in a flood zone in oxford, half the houses being flooded here are the elderly disabled and poor you talk about who cant afford to put food on the table and are now under water are these the people you think the money shouldn’t help?? we all know we are a rich country the government just doesn’t care, right now at this moment its starting to care. I am in both brackets and see both sides of your views but get angrey when people ashume that those affected by floods are rich because they live by the river YOUR/THEY are wrong and most of us CANT get insurance for are homes due to being in a flood zone yet 10 years ago no one was. we are in a flood crisis which no one has ever seen the likes of, stop thinking about how the government screwed the vunrable in the past and think about the vunrable who have nothing right no but wet houses and no money and NO HELP.

    • I’m sorry, that’s not what I’m saying Michelle!! I’m saying that Cameron has only now decided the Government has money because rich areas are being flooded. Where were all those promises when poorer areas were flooded? How come the Government says it has no money when disabled people and poor people are suffering?

      I’m saying Cameron can’t have it both ways. If we do have money, we should be spending it on those who are poor and suffering. It’s hypocritical of him to say he’ll spend money only when his cronies are flooded.

      The truth is, there is money, and the Government should spend it to relieve suffering and hardship, whoever suffers. It shouldn’t only show sympathy when its friends are affected!!

      Does that help?!

  15. You are making the same mistake that everybody makes about the Home Counties. Staines, Wraysbury and Datchet are not full of toffs. They are reasonably ordinary neighbourhoods of little bungalows and plain houses, which have nevertheless cost their owners a FORTUNE to buy, and the people who live in them work in schools, hospitals, shops, and Heathrow airport. But the truth is that unlike the Levels, what’s getting flooded here is not mostly farmland, which the government think will recover from its inundation. There are thousands and thousands of homes and gardens being flooded by the Thames, and this is a disaster on a much greater scale than is happening in Somerset, distressing though that is.

    • As someone who lives in the home counties myself, I’m actually aware of that. The issue is one of perception, and Cameron will soon regret his words! The point still stands though. The welfare of poor & disabled people has never really concerned the prime minister…

  16. You make the same mistake that others make when you talk about the Home Counties. Staines, Wraysbury, and Datchet are not places for the wealthy. They consist of little bungalows and plain houses, which have nevertheless cost their owners a FORTUNE to buy, and the people who live in them work in shops, care homes, schools, factories, and Heathrow airport. It’s just that there are thousands of these homes all crammed in together which makes this a tragedy on a much bigger scale than has happened in the Levels, distressing though that is, where much of the land flooded was farmland and should recover from the inundation.

    People love to believe that everyone in the south of England is a toff, some sort of undeserving rich whose lives and homes are not worth saving. Well you are wrong.

    • See my reply, below! And I never said, in my blog, that I didn’t care about people being flooded – that would have been insulting, insensitive and downright cruel. It would also have been as hypocritical as Cameron! Please read it properly!

    • Not at all, I’ve been to Slough.

      Flippancy aside though, it’s amazing how Cameron can mobilise when the problem is in what is, on the whole, Tory heartland. You cannot blame those outside for being a tad cynical even though I agree that many do have far from cushy lifestyles in the South East.

  17. We’re also rich enough to give record amounts to Syria to help their refugee [more than other EU countries and more than the US [per head]], but not to feed our poor nor to keep our floodplains flood-free. We’re so busy being charit
    able that we can’t help our own.

    • Indeed… but I have several Labour MP’s following me on Twitter, so if my blog helps them form their own arguments, it may not be totally wasted!

  18. “Now we know. The shrinking of the welfare state is ideological.”
    We have known all along. It only becomes apparent when it starts to affect the Tory heartlands.
    Another nail, I hope, in Cameron’s political coffin

  19. Very well said no Money for public services and now it looking like our county authority is getting rid of the youth service. Yes I do feel for those that have been hit by the floods and there should have been a quicker response by the gvnt. But hey money is no object and we are a wealthy country mr Cameron come on!

  20. I hear you!!! It’s surprising how Conservatives are the same the world over; our Republican party does the same over here in the US while thousands starve.

  21. I agree with nearly everything you’ve said. It angers me to see that the hard times the country faces seem to be getting the better of our ability to care for those who need it. Worse is the cabal of lobbyists, bankers and international businesspeople-cum-tax-fugitives that seems finally to be corrupting government beyond hope and recognition. The hypocrisy of the Cameron in stressing that we’re a wealthy country is stark – but of course it would quote-unquote irrational as a politician for him not to play up to the his voter-base. Maybe with actual proportional representation our government would be less tempted to look after some regions while letting others languish, but I digress. In a way he’s a victim of the culture he helps to perpetuate, in that operating in current politics with a code of ethics the average person would recongise seems to be an impossibility – even if the average politician wanted to. I wouldn’t bet on it.

    But the fact that we are a ‘wealthy country’ at the moment is an untruth that is dangerous, if highly convenient, to operate on. At present, we can’t really afford to dredge rivers as much as we can afford to pay carers because of how much both these expenditures depend on an increasingly shaky edifice of debt. The shortfall between what Britain brings in in tax and spends in public services is an enormous threat to even the mid-term survival of this country in a form we all recognise. Even if Osborne *does* eradicate the deficit by 2016, with no promises on how long we’ll run a surplus for, we’re still shouldered with debt which will at that point be above 100% of our GDP.

    In the context of a world that seems on a course to resource shortage and ecological meltdown, it’s not exactly a fantastic prognosis. The left (of which I am proud to consider myself a part of, albeit not a typical part) *could* get real on the need to cut in order to protect social spending, which in a caring society should come first. Not to is the vote-winning in the long rung, but probably ultimately catastrophic.

    If those on the left allow themselves to be placated by social spending fuelled by unsustainable borrowing again (by a theoretical Blair Mk. II, or ultra-Blair if you will) – problems will continue. Politicians will continue to pledge money that isn’t their to causes that ultimately serve their electoral interests, be it on the home counties or healthcare.

  22. Great article! Why are governments so reluctant to spend money on making this a great country. Forget HS2 and (cringe) the money so far spent on the surveys; who wants to get to Birmingham 15 minutes quicker anyway?! We have the money! I’m in the arts, don’t even get me started on that disgrace. Oh and my mum when she was 82 (she’s now 88) applied for a carer’s allowance while she was looking after my dad (full time), who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, she was awarded £0.01/week; so government statistics of carers on allowances are made up of people like my mum.
    The vast majority of the government are self satisfied crooks who only care about losing the next election. When will there be a government who spend money for the public good and damn the opinion poles, which ironically would probably increase in their favour.
    Maybe the problem is they are afraid of the Bank of England. Well that should stop now!

  23. I think this is one of those things that will never be seen eye to eye. I don’t think it’s just those areas that he’d give money willingly to, it’s anywhere prone to flooding. people are just focussing on this as another way to have a go. no matter who gets voted into the role after Cameron leaves, people will still not be happy and similar stories like this will still be around. at the end of the day money is limited and even if they gave money freely they still wouldn’t have enough to provide for everything people want the government to so that they can stop moaning. people like to moan and will always find something new to moan about unfortunately. even if taxes were increased there’d still be debt and it wouldnt affect those unemployed in a negative way (they’d just get more money despite doing nothing) and people who work six days a week for ten or twelve hour days will suffer and be punished and for what? working hard enough to be in the higher tax brackets. there never will be enough money to provide for EVERY SINGLE ISSUE/DISASTER and people have to accept that ad be grateful for what we have…healthcare, free education (until 18), hostels….living in this country is a damn site better than it could be in some other countries and we need to be grateful for that and accept that there are too many people on this planet for the government to keep everyone happy, and despite their best efforts there will always be someone somewhere that they just cant help at that time…

    • So where was all this “money’s no object” talk a fortnight ago, when Somerset was flooded? Back then the country barely had two pennies to rub together. Lucky that we happened to get this mystery gargantuan windfall just as some rich tory-voting people got their houses wet, isn’t it?

  24. No disrespect to those suffering in the floods…But Whilst people in the Labour heartlands use food banks, Cameron offers financial help to people with ruined carpets in the Tory heartlands.

  25. Very well said. I can only hope the current floods open a few (otherwise closed) eyes to the threat of climate change to us all, even the most privileged.

  26. Very well written, money for the middle classes again yet those like myself who are disabled and paid into the system for 40 years get our benefits stopped as they say we are fit to work. I would love to go to work again but can hardly walk due to a broken back. But they say I could only claim for 365 days. Social Services say I need a stairlift but cant get help with that as my husband works full time. So much for ‘hard working families’

  27. Well said Jane, I agree with everything you say. I have however been a little dismayed at some of the posts that say ,in effect, ‘we are the worst off,we don’t live in big houses’.Someone also stated that the Thames Valley is more important than Somerset because there it is mainly farmland and will eventually recover.What about the loss of income leading to loss of their housing? What about the livestock who may be starving? Some herds of cattle have taken years to build up. And will the people who think ‘it’s only farmland’ be so blasé when the price of grain goes up, and bread becomes more expensive? There are no winners or losers in this situation, apart from the people who are ALWAYS the losers – poor, disabled, unemployed AND flooded.

  28. Good work, excellent blog, well-articulated. Don’t let people who (I suspect) wilfully misread you; you’ve made your position very clear and anyone who says you don’t care obviously doesn’t want to know.

  29. I Blame a lot of this on the Water Companies they charge every household Money every year to carry away surface water either off our roofs or our roads, (So in effect we pay them to take our rainwater so they can sell it back to us lol) They do Nothing about replacing the antiquated drainage system we have in place many built by the Romans and stick all the money they collect from us in their Fat Cat shareholders pockets.

  30. With you on that one….I mean, if you don’t want flooding, why buy a house on a river / flood plane/ by the sea? It’s a situation you can control to a greater degree.

    If you can’t afford food / heating / basic care etc chances are that you didn’t have much choice in the matter.

    • I take your point to an extent, Chris, but we mustn’t forget that many of those who’ve experienced flooding are not rich and have few choices, in reality, in our fevered, over-hyped property market. This disaster will lay open the cruel impact of our ridiculous housing market on those who have the fewest choices. And if they’re reforming the planning laws, they need to think very carefully about where developers are permitted to build in the future. I do wonder whether any of our leaders have any common sense to speak of!!

  31. You are not the only one who noticed that nothing has been done until it reached ‘their’ people, others have suffered flooding since Christmas and have been largely ignored by the ConDemns.

    • Absolutely. Parts of Kent and the South West were devastated before Christmas. Some have been suffering a very, very long time and have largely been ignored, as you say. Pretty disgraceful, really 😦

  32. So, SO, SO angry and agree with what you write. Living in a place (OK, it’s just the North) which regularly suffers from flooding and the awfulness which follows for the residents and receives little (no) support from a cash-strapped council, I can’t believe that, as carers of an 11 year old son who died, we weren’t eligible for any benefits. OK, we’d always worked freelance or as business owners but, once we couldn’t work, the fact that we had to appeal for our 36p an hour says it all about our government.

  33. Thank you . .she wrote still growling…. this is 4 years on. We’ve lost everything. My son is the worst but we feel that we’re still being kicked in the teeth Rant over!

  34. the majority who can afford houses on the banks of the Thames are normally his bread and butter and who vote for him knowing there wealth will just get bigger and bigger, that’s why money is no object to him when a crisis like this happens, if he didn’t he would be out before the next election because they are the mass who fund his ill-gotten power and wealth (you scratch my back…lol).
    People in Britain are only aware of so much, so much else goes un-noticed and un-reported, if it doesn’t effect them they don’t care, my argument is anyone could become sick or classed as poor if they loose there path or way, they say the welfare state was not meant to be a safety-net then what is it supposed to be??? illness and life changing event happen at the worst of times and can effect anyone.

  35. What did u all want him to say ? Sorry no budget left for a natural disaster, it’s all been spent down benefit street! Surely his response is going to be slated either way! I’m all for the elderly , the disabled and even struggling working families, however how many of you saw a sign in your local job centre stating all able bodied people that are fit to work need to earn their 60 odd quid this week by pulling their weight and helping flood victims? Why should hand outs be given and expected for absolutely nothing in return! Just for the record it’s also his job and privilege to decide how money is spent and budgets distributed within the country!

    • You’re right, of course. However, the point is that Cameron has laid himself wide open to the charge of choosing whose and which kind of suffering is deserving of help. I didn’t hear him speak so expansively when many areas were flooded before Christmas!

      Most disabled people I know would love to work, even those who are clearly too ill to do so. If paid work is that easy to find, how come every seriously ill person who’s told they’re “fit for work” isn’t successful in getting a job they can do from their bed??

    • “What did u all want him to say ? Sorry no budget left for a natural disaster, it’s all been spent down benefit street!”

      Why would we want him to say something so ludicrous, petty, puerile, inane, nasty and patently untrue?

      “however how many of you saw a sign in your local job centre stating all able bodied people that are fit to work need to earn their 60 odd quid this week by pulling their weight and helping flood victims? Why should hand outs be given and expected for absolutely nothing in return!”

      There are 2.32 million officially unemployed people and just 569,000 vacancies. There are not enough jobs to go around. If every vacancy was filled tomorrow, there would still be nearly 2 million people left over. Do you think the people left over are to blame for that?

      Oh and by the way Lisa, jobseekers have to spend at least 35 hours a week searching for jobs on a government website riddled with fake jobs and scams and are already being forced to work unpaid for up to six months at a time under the threat of being left homeless and destitute, but I suppose they forgot to mention that in The Sun.

      “Just for the record it’s also his job and privilege to decide how money is spent and budgets distributed within the country!”

      Yes Lisa, we should all follow your obsequious example and tug our forelocks to Dave. Yes, let’s follow your example and get on our knees and grovel before him while he sits on his golden throne eating caviar and drinking fine wine while promising us austerity forever.

      You’re right Lisa, we should never question our Dear Leader’s corrupt and immoral decisions, because after all, he is our superior isn’t he and must know what’s best for us since he is nobility and we are just common peasants.

      • Another point about the governments job site of choice, the jobs are listed by job title, not by job skill. So if you want to be a software engineer with skills with the ‘C’ language, you have to search through dozens of job descriptions for ‘software engineer’ looking for the needle in the haystack and actually includes your job skills.

  36. Exactly how I felt hearing those words Jane sickened to my stomach! What with not being able to afford to heat & eat and afford my care package and afford to live I never asked to get so sick I never asked to become disabled this govt just want to kill us all off that’s apparent now but oh all the rich & middle class voters will be saved! brilliantly written Jane as always thanks for your tiresome work you do on our behalves. Joanne x

  37. Just want to add something to this. Last March the Environment Agency and Somerset County Council worked out a plan of action to prevent significant flooding of the Somerset Levels. The complete budget for the whole plan would have been 4 million pounds (barely the tax that should come from a dozen bankers bonuses). Central Government rules that the maximum the EA could spend was £300,000, the same for the County Council, and DEFRA were pledged to contribute £400,000. The other 3 million had to be raised from private funding. Naturally there hasn’t been any significant private funding so there has been no action to mitigate or prevent the floods.

    Inevitable the Environment Agency will be blamed and Chris Smith thrown to the wolves for decisions taken by the Treasury.

  38. Cornwall floods, nobody cares. Except it draws attention and a “whoops we forgot about that” moment, when the government realises a large percentage of children in Camborne and Redruth were already living well below the poverty line (as defined by the EU) pre-storm damage. The home counties flood and all of a sudden there is plenty of money. So basically if you are elderly and disabled, living in Cornwall, give up on life now. Your government clearly doesn’t care about you. For those that don’t know, there are many elderly and disabled people in Cornwall, as lots of you English come down to retire. Don’t forget about them!

  39. Thank you for for your excellent article.
    I am always saddened by comments which take up the scrounger rhetoric. If people from job centres are given jobs to help flood victims (and I have no doubt some flood victims are unemployed and are doing what they can to help, without being made to, in their communities ) then they should be paid at least the minimum wage and it should not be for their social security. They mostly have already done something for that, they have paid taxes and national insurance. If it is deemed right to vilify those who are given ‘handouts’ for nothing how about those landowners who own grouse shooting estates who receive some £37 million of public money every year, just a part of the ‘handouts’ which is called an agricultural subsidy is not based on farming (only 5% of income needs to be from farming, which is often via tenant farmers who pay for the right to farm and see none of this money) which is given to the largest landholders in Britain each year….just for owning the land. The grouse shooting estates slash and burn policy has directly contributed to this flooding as it denudes the land of trees and shrubs. Trees sinks water into the soil at 67 times the rate it does under grass, as the roots provide channels for water to go underground..
    Quite frankly those who are willing to live on £60 per week because they have no confidence in themselves, or are too lazy, or who have better things to do with their time, are far less damaging as those who are paid large sums to do a bad job. They also allow the majority of unemployed people who desperately want to work a better chance of getting another job. Like the 550 people the Environment Minister got rid off who worked on flood maintenance and preparation, or those staff working on prepping the UK for the impacts of climate change, such as flooding events, which he slashed from 38 to just 6 suddenly out of work.
    Instead of planting trees which helps prevent flooding, tree planting grants have stopped. One of the biggest farm subsidies, the single farm payment which is paid per hectare not results is dependent on land being free from “unwanted vegetation” such as trees. George Monbiot also believes the ignorance of land management by Paterson is only surpassed by his havoc wrecking record in river management. These two areas where he has ignored scientifically proven waves to massively reduce flooding in favour of brokering better deals for large landowners and private fishing rivers is grossly negligent. He won’t even listen to briefings by Sir Ian Boyd the Governments own Chief Scientific Advisor and has refused to take a briefing by Professor David MacKay from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
    I am not going to vilify someone who lives on £60 per week who will never harm my world. Those of you who do so ought to also be outraged at the largest handouts going to the super rich for doing nothing but owning large areas of land, in some cases handouts of six figures per week.
    I do strongly object to a well paid public servant who is too arrogant to listen to advise on how to prevent flooding and who wilfully refuses to implement any strategies which could have made these floods far less devastating does not have the people’s interest at heart.
    Please let us stop blaming the those in this country who are the least powerful to change anything in this failing global economy, or making out that there are armies of undeserving poor (they used to be branded with a V, and then hung for a second offence these vagabonds ) while the ‘deserving poor who had to prove they were too maimed or sick to work were the lucky ones allowed to beg or were sent to the poorhouse) We seem to be going back to those feudal times, when its not what you actually do which gets rewards, its how much you have and who you know…..and in this case who you might vote for.

  40. Pingback: We’re a wealthy country… money’s no object… | The Wayward Nana

  41. Brilliant blog post I am gonna post this all over my FB and twitter! Well said!x

  42. Jane if the world of politics weren’t such a dirty place tainted with the feathering of one’s very nice Thames side nest . . . . I’d say you should run for office. However as it is, and the abhorent choices that this government has made, I say to you. Keep championing this on. You have it spot on and I applaud you. Now to the other commentators we need to take up Jane’s baton and make this useless government hear her call.

  43. What an awesome blog and so sadly very true – the government is appalling so I moved to the other side of the hemisphere to be met with a similar government over here… iceland had the right idea – power to the people – love from New Zealand 🙂

  44. Even I, an American, found myself thinking, “If the floods get to Eton and Windsor, the politicians will start taking it seriously.” Not that it’s different here; that’s how I could be sure. Excellent post.

  45. Excellent blog – really well said. We need much more of this on social media to counteract the ‘blaming’ and ‘scapegoating’ going on at the moment.

  46. I agree with the majority of this post, however, my mum is most defiantely not “middle class” and is in fact struggling very much by the floods in the Thames Valley. Many of my school friends are also suffering (I happened to move away from the area quite some time ago).

    It still baffles me that someone who clearly has a lot of intelligence and insight to write a post like this still creates stereotypes and places labels on areas and people.

  47. Hi Jane I’m not normally a blog reading, but this came up on my FB wall, so had to read. There is nothing wrong with being angry over what has happened over the floods. Tories blaming everyone else but themselves until their core voters are hit. Reminds me of the Thatcher era, but then they did say they are Thatchers children. It’s amazing how there suddenly money with their core voters are hit, I and would bet it’ll come out of budgets that help the poor or disabled or disadantaged.

    keep up the good work and I guess I’ll be reading more

    Thanks

  48. That’s just about everything I wanted to say on the topic but couldn’t properly articulate! Well said.

  49. As I have learnt from experience with the riots, Cameron says one thing and the ‘process’ does an other. We were promised that the losses of the riots would be properly compensated. They weren’t. But him saying that took some of the pressure off him for a while. It’s the same with the floods – empty promises to the victims. Sadly most of this is about media sound bites. I agree that there are lots of problems that need attention in this country, and you make excellent points. There was zero welfare support for me when I lost my home in the riots – I was lucky to have enough support from friends and family to cope with being homeless and get back on my feet, but it’s terrifying how your situation can change literally overnight and there’s no help out there.

  50. very well said he decided t say he will help n theres plenty money now just coz its down south but wen it was up north he couldnt give a shite he wasnt bothered about us lot nhe dosnt care about the poor n disabled or elderly all he thinks about is himself n making the rich richer i wish i could work but i just had 2 brain tumors removed got 6 small ones left and now i have upto 16 siezures or blackouts per day i also have a condition called vocovagle synoscope which can b life threatening it causes my blood preasure t drop that quick it can stop my heart n i also have t look after my husband who is disabled he broke his back 20 year ago he is on disability but they say i am not ill enough t get anything yet there is drug abusers get extra help its all wrong if all the government gaveup there money 4 there 2nd n 3rd homes n alllllllllllllll there expenses 4 there cups of teas n sandwiches n £600 meals n nights in hotels coz they cant b bothered t travel home at night there would b plenty money sorry about the rant but they get me so fed up

  51. I thank you for the eloquence of your anger, for your compassion, and care. Let’s raise our Voices in all the ways there are, with our diverse knowledge and talents, and as we can, according to our life situations, resources and challenges. May we “awaken” ever to the truth of the oneness of Life, and may our Voices awaken the sleeping.

  52. Can I suggest we get a bit creative and when anyone puts in a DLA claim, or any other support they need, that they list the cause of their illness, poverty, lack of employment as ‘flooding on the Thames’. Thats where the money is obviously.

  53. You echo the thoughts and anger that have been plaguing me too. I have been ranting left, right and centre and have been encouraged by the range of people, from all ends of the political spectrum who agree with me. May I reblog on my own blog?

    P.S I have been flooded (though thankfully not this time) twice in rapid succession. So I can speak first hand of the dismay and helplessness that you feel as you watch filthy water pouring into your home.

  54. I completely agree with your sentiments on poverty, disability etc. However, not all of us who live in the home counties are wealthy and nor do we all vote Tory and live in beautiful homes. Casting stereotypes doesn’t help anyone, including flood victims.

  55. I am staggered by the number of commentators who have stated, quite correctly, that not everybody who lives in the Home Counties is middle class let alone a millionaire and that Jane has fallen for a stereotypical trick. Her point is not that there are not people suffering, of whatever financial situation. BUT that it is when flooding is affecting an area that is PREDOMINANTLY (not entirely) Tory and RELATIVELY (not 100%) wealthy that David Cameron is able to find funds to support them in their need. Meanwhile people who have also been in great need have been told that there is no money available to them. Yes, there is a difference between a natural disaster and ongoing need, But even if you take that out of the equation and look only at the flood victims the levels of support available in the Home Counties overnight compared to Cumbria and the West Country since Christmas is pitiful.

    • Thank you for that comment. I was thinking I needed to insert a bold comment to the effect that I live in Surrey, not far from some of the affected areas, and I know full well that not all, nor even the majority, of residents here are wealthy. Strangely enough, I’m not an idiot!! But I do know that for Cameron’s credibility, to promise unlimited support at the same time as the floods reached Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, has been deeply damaging and naturally prompts the observation that there’s a connection. This is primarily political….

    • I think that those commentators are responding to what others have posted as opposed to Janes original blog Gillie!

      • Sadly I think not Victoria, just look at the blog post above mine. I have read all the comments and there are several that specifically accuse Jane of stereotyping. Feelings run high but that makes it all the more important for clarity.

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  58. you may find this report of interest. i certainly haven’t heard anything about it on the news:

    ‘The Committee concludes that the situation in United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 12§1 of the Charter on the ground that:
    the minimum levels of short-term and long-term incapacity benefit is manifestly inadequate;
    the minimum level of state pension is manifestly inadequate;
    the minimum level of job seeker’s allowance is manifestly inadequate.’

    (January 2014, European Social Charter, European Committee of Social Rights, page 19, http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Conclusions/State/UKXX2_en.pdf )

  59. The young and the poor and the sick need to register to vote and then actually vote and we might rid ourselves from the scourge of the Tories. However there is something about the Tories, and don’t ask me what, which appeals to the working poor, a group of people despised by the Tories. Irony is not a strong enough word.

    We need more political options and fast and whilst we have less than half the population voting this is never going to happen. The problems you discuss are very real but no one is going to put there hand up to pay more tax and no party will ever be elected suggesting in their manifesto that tax rises are essential.

    Things like a ‘living wage’ are now essential but so too is the proper control of an over inflated property market, proper completion in the energy sector and efficiency savings within large public institutions like the NHS. These are the things the government should be focused on delivering but have you seen the cabinet? I’ve seen more talent in a chimps tea party and if the floods have highlighted anything it’s this.

  60. I’m a victim of floods in Cambridgeshire. The rain keeps us all awake at night and you will find neighbours getting together at 5-6 am in wellies, by the river, checking the levels, helping each other to move furniture upstairs. I think flooding can be distressing, but it brings people together. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important. What is really important is not being greedy, caring for the land, caring for others, fighting against poverty, helping the homeless in this crazy weather, helping the poor and vulnerable in our community, being there, by their side, supporting them and not letting them down when their government could not care less about them. The water levels will come down eventually. Poverty will remain. And in a so-called ‘wealthy country’, that is truly intolerable.

  61. Too right. Living in the South West – luckily on top of a hill and not on the levels – I was appalled at how quickly the PM appeared when the Thames flooded and London was threatened. It smacks of elitism (nothing to do with money but geography). As a non working adult TRYING to claim PIP, but probably won’t get anything as I can actually still breathe I whole-heartedly agree with you. If we are rich country show it, help those in need, ALL of us – and that include flood victims – and especially the vulnerable.

  62. Pingback: The flooding of feral middle england | Notes from a gay mentalist

  63. For those who’ve read this as a statement begrudging funding for flood victims – get a bloody grip. The article clearly highlights the hypocrisy of a government declaring poverty one minute and limitless resources the next. It’s heartfelt and sincere and does a great job of shining a moral light on an immoral practice. Hear! Hear! I say – and comment on the content, don’t impose your own distorted views! It’s hard to argue with the facts. I could show you several clips with Cameron and his cronies bleating on about the need for austerity, deficits, cuts, reductions in “unsustainable public spending”, which given his statement about our wealth and prosperity show him up for the lying, manipulative, shameful example of humanity he and his government are.

  64. I came across some satire suggesting that the government will only offer help to flood victims who don’t receive any benefits. Satire – but it would be no surprise if they really do come out with that line!

  65. I totally agree with all Jane has said ., I live in a county that has been hit hard by high surge tides, high winds and devastation caused by a combination of both, The people affected are going to be struggling for many years to come. Cameron did visit, but there was no mention of ‘ this Country having money ‘ . A few smirks and smiles was all the residents got. I am also trying to claim PIP which I also doubt if I will get. My DLA was taken away , even though it was an indefinate award. , I have had no money since, so where is all this money ?. My heart goes out to all victims of the floods etc. This Country is called Great Britain., where is the GREAT now. ??

  66. Good rant. But do consider this quote from a recent ODI blog

    “Severe as the hardship is, finance is the not the constraint on effective action. As the Prime Minister put it yesterday ‘money is no object’.
    This is partly because all governments make provision for emergencies. The Treasury has a contingency fund equivalent to around 2% of public spending. For purposes of comparison, the £11 billion aid budget takes 1.6% of spending.” http://www.odi.org.uk/opinion/8210-%E2%80%8Bafter-deluge-can-have-serious-debate-aid

    So it’s got NOTHING to do with swamped Tory heartlands or austerity measures hitting the poor, it’s a reasonable and correct pledge to help those in need through effective spending of the budget already set aside for emergencies.

  67. Reblogged this on My Counselling World and commented:
    Reblogging this post will probably upset some people I know who have opposing views. But, the comment made by David Cameron the other day that “My message to the country today is this. Money is no object in this relief effort, whatever money is needed for it will be spent. We will take whatever steps are necessary”. Also, insisting “we are a wealthy country and we have taken good care of our public finances”.
    So austerity over now David?

  68. Reblogged this on As It Is or As I Am – experiences of an LDS (Mormon) counsellor and commented:
    Reblogging this post will probably upset some people I know who have opposing views. But, the comment made by David Cameron the other day, regarding the UK floods, that “My message to the country today is this. Money is no object in this relief effort, whatever money is needed for it will be spent. We will take whatever steps are necessary”. Also, insisting “we are a wealthy country and we have taken good care of our public finances”.
    If you’ve taken such good care of the public finances does that mean austerity is over now David? Does that mean you no longer need to make the cuts you are planning? This all seems to be a contradiction.
    What has this to do with counselling? Maybe nothing directly – except the need for compassion for those in need.

  69. Pingback: We’re a wealthy country… money’s no object… | mikeinkwazi

  70. Amazing – and encouraging – how many people see through the politicians – not just through Cameron & co, whose policies are a mix of exploitation of a deliberately-created underclass, paternalism, and, frankly knee-jerk rather than proactive policy. So many politicians, even top ones, are, in effect, just thick about why they do things. It makes it even sadder that we cannot persuade the many non-voters that their sheer mass could stand a chance of changing things – maybe even change the shape of the Commons chamber (a bugbear of mine – sorry if it might seem irrelevant) , by spending some money on a semi- circular chamber, to make a physical statement about the shouting across a narrow gap in the current chamber – the latter could become just a heritage building, open for viewing as a relic of an aggressive past.
    Nuff said – thought & action needed – great original article, Jane, and so many thoughtful follow-ups to a very true set of statements.

    • Thank you, Vic. I know there will be those who don’t agree with me, but they should recognise that my original article (without the PS!) was written as I watched the TV news on Tuesday evening and was struck by the contrast between what Cameron said then about money and what he’s said in response to reports of other kinds of suffering, independent of floods. Whilst there are good arguments around the Government having reserves put aside for just this sort of disaster, those whose lives are falling apart due to unemployment, poverty or ill-health, compounded by the so-called benefits safety-net that’s riddled with holes, are entitled to ask why their suffering has not been taken seriously by this Government.

  71. Reblogged this on RillyRoos – The Whole RillyNess and commented:
    Well said Hun.
    It is sad for the people who’s homes have been ruined by the floods. My heart truely aches for them.
    My heart also aches for the thousands of people who have suffered for the last few years with silly sanctions, bedroom tax and other insufferable ideas thought up by the Nasty party.

    Well said hun. Rilly is with you.

  72. We have been fed the propaganda of scarcity for far too long & people have generally “nourished” themselves on it. It has fed their ability to scapegoat those who are so vulnerable and have no voice. Each time I travel to london I dont see a poor country unable to afford to help the worst off. I see office blocks springing up; I see new railway lines being put in & new ones planned for. I see people doing their weekly shop in m & s & at Christmas time I saw people doing their weekly shop in harrods food hall. That is not a sign of a country in the doldrums. Its the sign of complete inequality…….. I feel very very sad……..

  73. Well said, Jane. Don’t apologise for speaking out about what really matters. The world needs people like you.

  74. Firstly may I say that, I very much enjoyed your article. I wondered if you had watched any of the footage of the COBRA meeting broadcast on the BBC? If you did you may just have caught Mr Cameron saying something on the lines of “Especially the Thames”. I found it an odd phrase. But maybe your article has put it into context. Thank you. 🙂

  75. fare play I can not disagree with you, my thoughts exactly when the thames burst its banks and my do they have ‘posh water defences’ nice shinny metal barriers put up for the cameras, not sandbags like the rest…. still when the waters subside and they get back to life as they know it, what will happen to the great swathes of flooded land that should now be ready to grow food, wonder if it will be ‘money’s no object’ then, or as we are ‘a rich country’ will that stop the food prices going up, should be interesting times ahead.
    and yes I to feel really sorry for anyone who is caught up with these floods, and much respect for the workers helping out, although certain services tend not to be mentioned much by the BBC not that I’m suggesting that they are being gagged or controlled by the government, well ok they are

    • In response to C Davies – I’m not sure where around the Thames you are referring to, but here there are sandbags (where there are any defences at all) not metal barriers! And for the couple who lost their son as a result of the floods down the road, they will certainly not return to life as they knew it. Also, to everyone who thinks the floods in Surrey have only just happened, they’ve been going on since before Christmas. I realise this is not the point of the blog, and it detracts from its important points, but just a shame people have to resort to cheap shots and stereotypes.

  76. Paying to fix a one-off crisis is a lot cheaper than funding the feckless lifestyles of millions of jobless folk. Moot point.

    • I take exception to that comment. Seriously ill people who are desperate to work but are unsurprisingly not attractive to employers are not “feckless”, nor are those who have lost their job in the recession and are finding it difficult to get another. Don’t tar everyone with the same brush. Anyone whose life has started to spiral out of control due to a catastrophic illness or injury would find a comment such as yours unhelpful and probably insulting. Funnily enough, people who need benefits are no different from people who work; many of them have just experienced more difficulties than many who are still employed. In addition, recent research has shown the poverty is rising fastest among people who work but are on low wages – are they feckless too? I don’t think many would regard that as a moot point!!

      • Well said Jane. That clown needed putting in his place and I was about to reply, but you can put it far more eloquently and forcefully than I can. It is heartening to see that the overwhelming majority of decent people are wholeheartedly with you.

      • Blessed are they who are never bereaved for they shall be cushioned from heartbreak
        Blessed are those who are never mentally ill
        for they shall lack understanding & work
        Blessed are those who inherit millions
        for they shall be unaware of struggle
        Blessed are those who are spared
        physical pain
        for they shall be blissfully ignorant
        Blessed are the comfortable
        for one day pain, suffering, bereavement & heartache shall surely be theirs in the fullness of time and they SHALL hang their heads in shame.

  77. The liberal attitude is that all state spending is inherently virtuous, regardless of the level of waste or whether or not it ingrains dependency on those that receive it etc. Those that go out to work every day, work hard, worked hard to get an education and did not fall into dependency are treated as cash cows – even when half of their earnings go to the state, it is deemed not enough, unfair that they are in a position of financial security – the likes of White Dee on benefits street are seen as the victims, and any attempt at reform or rebalance is considered ‘nasty’. Consider the ‘bedroom tax’ – liberals up in arms about how unfair this is, failing to see that hypocrisy of a system of punitive taxes that sees the young (and often not-so-young) workers unable to afford housing that can accommodate them, living in smaller spaces and renting rooms in house shares. The tax they pay funding council houses with spare bedrooms.

    The victims are not the ones ‘suffering’ the ‘cuts’, but rather those that get to keep so little of their earnings and contribution because they are funding an idle, self-entitled mass of people that either made the wrong choices, were profligate, or in a minority of cases – through no fault of their own left physically or mentally unable to work. The same mass of people who fail to see, and appreciate that they are the beneficiaries of one of the most generous systems of hand outs in the world – rather, they bemoan a 2% cut in their hand outs.

    It’s time to grow up and see the bigger picture – the Labour hand out legacy is unsustainable, unfair on those that work hard, that made difficult decisions, that chose delayed gratification over getting what they want in the moment.

    People are waking up to the idiocy of socialism, they see what is happening elsewhere in Europe – in France, Greece, Spain – where socialism is out of control and bringing people to their knees. The tide of opinion is hardening and moving towards a conservative future – and this is the correct choice. I think time will show the ‘silent majority’ is on the side of David Cameron.

    • Yes, there are some who have been the authors of their own predicament, but there are many for whom life has not gone as expected and who could not predict catastrophic illness, injury or unemployment. As a taxpayer myself, previously working but now paying tax on my pension, I do not begrudge making my contribution towards the safety net that used to be there for us all but is becoming increasingly threadbare under this regime.

      And please don’t forget that much of the benefits budget goes to those who are working. Housing benefit is needed because even those who are working cannot afford a normal market rent. Tax credits are needed because the minimum wage is nowhere near sufficient to live on. The tax threshold has been increased significantly, but neither the cost of living nor the cost of renting have gone down, so low paid workers are still struggling. This isn’t about the “shirkers and the strivers” – it’s a lot more nuanced than that.

      I’d like to understand why you think it is more cost-effective for the State to look after a young, severely disabled man in an institution, at a cost of about £5,000 per week, than to allow him and his grandparents to live in the home that was built specially for him but has a small extra room for the occasional overnight carer and storage of moving and handling equipment – without charging those hard-working, disabled grandparents £14 out of their benefits for the privilege. See http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/bedroom-tax-rutherford I would love to hear why you think £5,000pw for institutional care is a better option than £14pw for care by a family in their own home.

      And that isn’t the only example of such idiocy – see http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/its-disgraceful-carer-must-pay-1713742, about Jayson and Jacqueline Carmichael; it would cost (and did cost, when Jacqueline was living in residential care) a lot more for Jacqueline to be cared for by the State than for Jayson to care for her at home – with full housing benefit. £11.90pw might not be much to you, but to someone on benefits because they’re fully occupied caring for a family member it’s a huge amount of money.

      And consider this quote: “Last week, the PIP assessor complained that it was too cold in my house to write her report, I said you have only been here for 20 minutes, but I have to live like this with arthritis and a serious heart condition. She asked “Well what do you spend ALL your money on?” I showed her bank statements and receipts = £55 pw in benefits is spent on £34pw straight back to the council in bedroom tax, contribution to rent and contribution to council tax, £5pw maintenance even though my daughter is with me 150+ days per year, and with the other £11pw I have to pay TV, Electric, Water, telephone, household shopping i.e loo rolls wash powder, shampoo, soap and toothpaste and of course Food and Gas is a luxury. I asked her for some money /budgeting advice, she just scratched her head and looked dumb.” I’m sure as a sensible employer you’d employer this claimant (Robert) with arthritis and a heart condition, but many others would deem it more sensible to employ someone without those conditions….

      Are you really telling me that this destruction of the safety net is positive progress? Many disabled people work very hard just living and looking after their health and many families work very hard caring for each other. And many people who lose their jobs find it difficult to find another. Strangely enough, starvation isn’t normally a shoe-in for a job – you usually have to compete with others to be appointed!!

  78. I said the same thing not quite as well as you have but the same meaning to my husband when i saw the Thames was rising and then burst it’s banks.

  79. Jane, your blog has provoked a dose of mass hysteria. You have to read a long way down to get a sense of balance from the ordinary people who live in the more recently affected areas. Argue as you like about your preferences for spending but the fact is that very few in the UK live in poverty in global comparison.
    I feel sorry for those affected by the floods wherever they live. If government had promised the funding when Somerset first flooded, there would have been accusations that they were buying the votes of the farmers and wealthy landowners – and now that it is predominantly houses rather than fields that are being destroyed can people not accept that the people living in these houses are not all wealthy and privileged?
    There is no proposal to disadvantage those who have not insured their properties, for whatever reason – including failure to take advantage of the schemes to moderate premiums in flood areas, or inability to pay. I am fortunate that my home is not flooded. I pay for insurance. I am not squawking about my taxes being used to bail out people who don’t insure their homes whether they be affluent or not.
    This should not be a matter for point scoring. If we had a Labour government would it be less unfair to accuse them of trying to buy Tory votes if they were to make the same promises? Or would it be better if they were not to make the money available because those affected were mostly “wealthy”? I respect peoples passion but I don’t understand some of the responses – compassion is about being and doing, not about screeching sarcasm and wishing people ill.

    • I wish no-one ill. I was simply reacting to the sudden change of heart when flooding started to affect the Thames valley. To me, it smacks of hypocrisy. You may read the politics differently; that is absolutely your right. However, as someone who supports individuals all over the country who are struggling to get enough to live on, the declaration that “money is no object” struck a nerve. That’s all. I’m not forcing people to read my blog or agree with me. We still have free speech in the UK, even though we’re not sure how civilised and compassionate a country we can afford to be!

      For the Nth time, can I say again, I do NOT begrudge anyone getting help to recover from flooding. I haven’t been flooded and it strikes me as the most horrible thing to happen to anyone. I want those who are flooded to be helped. I just think Cameron’s comments on Tuesday evening were both rash and hypocritical. Others, as I said, will take a different view.

  80. The ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor in this rich country of ours tells its own story. A biased media which often seems to be more interested in sensationalist headlines, rather than presenting a balanced view of the relevant facts, does not inspire confidence or respect for this important tool of communication. Short termism politics and self serving politicians, who all too often fail to deliver on their promises, result in apathy at the polls when there seems to be little to choose between the main parties and no-one really believes that smaller parties have any real power. One final point – how will this rich country cope with a pensions’ crisis when older people are still in work (at 68+ years old) and younger people cannot get the full-time jobs to enable them to fund their own pensions in years to come? Back to the flooding – as a flood victim myself (many years ago and nothing much has changed) who is married to a man who is half-Dutch – politicians get a grip and learn from those who can cope with excess water and put the money needed into implementing the necessary measures NOW, not at some indeterminate point in the future.

    • Totally agree with all you’ve said. If the Netherlands can cope, surely we can. This isn’t the focus of my blog, but all our politicians appear to be guilty of staggering incompetence 😦 And people’s homes are being destroyed as a result!

  81. It’s sad. As some people either have it all at birth, or conversely, are given gross handouts from the government for their ten kids and cigarette packets (which is not poverty, but greed and apathy), there are elderly who pay tax their whole lives and have nothing. I see charities struggling to take care of elderly, of children, of animals that live on next to nothing. I wish that would change.

  82. I’m closing the comments on this article because I think most perspectives have been aired… in 179 comments so far! I’ve repeated all my assurances that I wish no-one ill, that the blog is political, that I do want flood victims to be supported etc etc etc, over and over. And I’ve just heard the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction saying it’s not appropriate to compare suffering between countries. So, enjoy reading, but you’ll have to find another outlet to vent your spleen if you disagree with me – which many of you will.

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