Flooding and fracking
It seems that, having lost the arguments on the safety aspects and huge financial benefits, the anti-fracking brigade have now in desperation turned to localism and global warming.
Let’s take localism first. The fact is that, in matters of national interest, and let’s make no bones about it, energy is of national interest, the greater good of the whole country should, and always will, take precedent over the interest of a local community, be it fracking, HS-2 or the new runways at Gatwick or Heathrow.
If localism was allowed to prevail in all the above, then absolutely no progress would be made on anything.
The country would be gridlocked by nimbys and we would still be living in caves.
Turning to global warming, the recent floods have provided some useful fodder for antis, which they are using to full effect.
However, it was very interesting watching Sky News on Boxing Day reporting from the villages that had been hit.
A Sky reporter in Whalley spoke to an elderly resident and asked him: “Had he seen anything like this in his lifetime?” “Oh yes,” said the resident. “I’ve got pictures of my father years ago delivering milk by ladder to homeowners who were stuck on the first floor of their homes for days.”
So, as we enter the New Year, I would remind those against fracking of that great line from Gladiator, when Quintus said to Maximus “people should know when they are conquered”.
David Haythornthwaite via email
Think of the helpers too
I see that several hundred squaddies are being drafted in for flood relief work.
I hope the facilities for their off-duty periods, being provided by the local communities, is a little better than that provided during the Great Firemen’s Strike of 1977.
Folding camp-beds in cold schoolrooms and draughty drill-halls was the order of the day.
A few fared better.
One memory stands out, the hundred or so squaddies in the Leicester Drill Hall had to clear away all their camp- beds from the main area to allow the local ladies badminton class to continue twice weekly. It turned out many of the ladies were firemen’s wives!
Just remember that these guys, shipped in to help out, will not be going home each day at the end of their shifts, to be with their families. Hopefully, they will be well catered for and sincerely appreciated by the populace.
Divert three months of aid
Most of us want to do our bit to help others who are struggling.
As a country, this generous inclination results in us giving away £1bn in foreign aid every month.
You might argue the merits or otherwise of doing this in good times but when we now have serious flooding affecting many thousands of people, it’s surely right that we look after our own first?
The Government is talking about spending £2.6bn over the next six years on flood defences, money that has to be found amongst tight budgets.
All that’s really needed is the political will to divert just three months of that foreign aid to pay for the whole thing and enable us to get on with it tomorrow.