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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Seasonable Weather

It is 07.10am on Christmas Day: a day when I was determined not to enter this site at all.

However, a couple of minutes ago my attention was drawn to the window by the noise of exceptionally heavy rain: and that distraction was immediately followed by the rattling of the windows under a strong gust of wind. The morning is unusually mild for late December. The streets of Wapping, like fields in most of the island of Britain, have large areas of standing water which have no exit via the sodden land or the clogged drainage system.

It is hard to remember that the first months of this year confronted the  nation - especially in Southeast England - with a threat of acute water shortages due to an unprecedented succession of dry winters. Since then there has been no wholly dry day. Summer was a washout; and the winter has come in with unprecedented flooding.

This unusual climatological conjugation has refreshed the debate on global warming; with the 'pros' saying that they always predicted extreme climatic events, and the 'antis' responding that there is a long history of incidents of exceptional weather and anyway temperatures in the UK are lower than a decade ago.

The already-impoverished economy is being taxed heavily [both through state taxation and through energy bills] for the construction of inefficient windmills that will shortly experience metal fatigue, concrete cancer and other highly-predictable evidence of the harebrained concept of relying on such a source. Meanwhile the authorities - the Department for the Environment, OFWAT the economic regulator of the water industry and the Environment Agency that controls water abstraction for human use - have all stood firm against more funds being taken from 'hard-pressed families' to build reservoirs, desalination plant and other new net sources of water supply. The current flooding - a monumental, unusable surplus of water - will eventually drain away; but in the next drought it will be remembered; as will politicians' assurances that there will be no future threat of standpipes in the streets of London.

In the days when most people went to church and to Sunday School every child knew the Old Testament story of Joseph and his prophesy that seven good harvests would be followed by seven years of crop failure. So convincing was he that Pharaoh put him in charge of a scheme to collect surplus crops from all over Egypt and store them for distribution in the lean years, which duly followed.

Britain did not use its [past generations of affluence adequately to develop the infrastructure: roads, railways, water services, telecommunications, nuclear power, flood defences and the other essential components of a stable advanced economy. The present tragic flooding is a prophetic signal, a clear marker of the extreme events to come, for which the country is not prepared. The cause of some significant events may - or may not - be global climate change; but that is immaterial to the key fact that a past of profligate consumerism based on borrowing, benefits-for-all, unlimited immigration and the replacement of home-made commodities by imports has left the country almost totally exposed to whatever Nature may throw against it.

Well done, the 'Economics Profession'!!

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