Look At It This Way - December 11, 2015

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I can see it now. The Garden of Eden – flooded, no compost collections, and fracking about to start under the serpent’s favourite tree.

I can see it now. The Garden of Eden – flooded, no compost collections, and fracking about to start under the serpent’s favourite tree.

Would you Adam and Eve it? We really are turning this green and pleasant land into hell on earth.

Well, to be more precise, the Northern ‘half’ of it. The bit with the best scenery, the nicest people, the finest food – and the worst funding.

The North East rose up the other day and protested at the press coverage accorded to flooding in the North West – in Lancashire and Cumbria in particular. We got flooded too, they said.

Well, pet, we’re all in it together in this so called Northern Powerhouse – even with the power off in many homes and evil smelling sludge where Santa’s gifts once stood under the Christmas tree.

We need serious investment. We certainly don’t need in-fighting or platitudes. Social media has been inundated with them. ‘Cumbria, our thoughts are with you’.

A caustic columnist from Yorkshire, now working in Cumbria, barked back: “It’s going to take a lot more than thoughts.” Quite.

Of course, what happens north of Watford Abyss tends to stay north of Watford Abyss. Sorry, Gap.

Tell southerners St Michael’s has flooded and they are more likely to panic buy at Marks and Sparks than rally to a northern flood fund.

Flood the North could almost be a new Government policy – along with Frack the North (if not George Osborne’s part of it).

Flood risks need to be considered as part of any environmental impact assessment for the fracking that could be forced upon us – as any pretence of democracy is swept aside.

We also need to determine what, if any, impact the latest floods (and pumping back of that floodwater into drains, rivers and sea) could have on our ground and drinking water supply – given that some still blame a dead pheasant for causing weeks of contaminated water chaos back in summer although we’ve yet (why not?) to get a proper explanation.

Northern floods barely cause a ripple in the South’s collective consciousness – or the conscience of politicians playing water polo with claims the flood defence budget was effectively cut.

Oh, no, it wasn’t. Oh yes, it was. Panto season has come early. Stop trying to dig yourself out of a hole and dig in to shore up our sea and waterway defences instead.

End this economic civil war.

It may be nice to see the PM get his designer wellies wet on a photo opportunity fact finding mission north but further cutbacks – austerity on a northern weighting-scale – could cost the earth.

My home in Norbreck flooded twice in almost as many years as a result of ‘once in a hundred years’ summer storms.

Cumbria has seen two ‘once in a thousand years’ storms in recent years.

It doesn’t add up. Many of the ditches and waterways that crisscross the Fylde are overgrown, clogged, blocked – thanks to cutbacks.

I don’t know how often drains are cleared, but when waters rose the other night I shone a torch down two nearby and saw one full of old grass cuttings and another full of debris.

And that’s under a road we once saw rise under the pressure of flood waters because the sluice gates hadn’t been opened out to the sea.

It’s hard to sleep through heavy rain when you’ve seen something like that. In recent days I’ve made sure the torches are all working, mobile phones are charged, insurance documents are handy, and wellies are standing by, along with a supply of my mum’s meds – just in case we have to jump ship.

Sadly, the contents of the sandbags I bought last year have washed away, probably down holes I punched in the soil to pour sand down months ago to prevent the lawn getting waterlogged. Stick that advice where the sun doesn’t shine.