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Thread: NSA, hope you can swim

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    NSA, hope you can swim

    Are the floods reaching as far south as you yet? Have you gathered two of every animal?
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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Nah mate, no flooding actually in Manchester. It would have to get pretty ridiculous to get into the City itself, maybe a after a 2 degree global temperature rise or something.

    All that flooding is happening out in the towns and villages in the countryside really. Most of those places are actually built in flood plains or next to nice picturesque rivers.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    I heard Manchester mentioned in the news this morning but was still too snoozy to catch the details. I guess they were probably just talking about the general area.

    I think most of it's happening up in Cumbria - they're getting absolutely drowned up there.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    One of the Rivers (the River Irwell) was quite high in Manchester, but no actual flooding, Lancashire and Yorkshire have been hit quite bad and Cumbria has has been stuffed again.

    The flooding has been pretty bad, i feel sorry for all those affected and living only on the top floors of there houses, but its what you get when you continually cut the flood defence budget when every bit of evidence says there will be more an more flooding. They should have been a lot more preventative work done then there has been, but the Tories don't seem to believe in flooding until maybe it happens down south !!!
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    To be fair, they did step the budget back up again after the last floods but it was too little too late and we're still losing the race. I don't think even those of us who were pessimistic about it expected rains on this scale, though.

    If the North of England does wash away, at least the Scots will get their independence.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    To be fair, they did step the budget back up again after the last floods
    And then cut it again immediately afterwards, that money was just for the cleanup of the last flood. The funding has been cut in real terms and is about to be cut again.

    I don't think even those of us who were pessimistic about it expected rains on this scale, though.
    I would dispute that, it was predicted... in fact all the evidence we have says that flooding is only going to get worse in the UK. The Tories just ignore the evidence in the pursuit of ever more cuts. Oh and Owen Paterson was in charge of the environment agency for a quite a few years and he didn't believe in flooding or the cause of flooding.

    The thing is hardly anyone in the the north votes for them anyway so it wont harm them that much, but when Somerset or somewhere else down south floods again it will be interesting to see the response, and i will bet large amounts of money it will flood again in the next few years! In fact i might go down to the bookies now

    If the North of England does wash away, at least the Scots will get their independence.
    ....or the North washes away to the sea along with Scotland and we create the new country of Scotland and Greater Mancunia
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    So, here's what you do:

    Go out to the ocean and mine it for the ocean's most common resource: Plastic bottles. Once you have a goodly number, fill them with all that rainwater and send them C.O.D. to Los Angeles, CA. Not only do they need the rain, they also probably provided the bottles (well, probably not in the Atlantic, but perhaps you can harvest the Pacific, too), and the shipping would be cheaper than the alternatives they are contemplating (conservation would be even cheaper, but we're only talking about alternatives they are contemplating).
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    We seem to have missed a second soaking, got our water on the 5th of the month. Not as biblical as 2009 (300mm rainfall in 24hr) but still rather damp. Rather be here than Syria.

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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Ooh, just noticed your location, Milk. You're pretty much at the epicentre.
    You can depend upon the Americans to do the right thing. But only after they have exhausted every other possibility - Winston Churchill

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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedSomeAnswers View Post
    I would dispute that, it was predicted... in fact all the evidence we have says that flooding is only going to get worse in the UK. The Tories just ignore the evidence in the pursuit of ever more cuts. Oh and Owen Paterson was in charge of the environment agency for a quite a few years and he didn't believe in flooding or the cause of flooding.

    The thing is hardly anyone in the the north votes for them anyway so it wont harm them that much, but when Somerset or somewhere else down south floods again it will be interesting to see the response, and i will bet large amounts of money it will flood again in the next few years! In fact i might go down to the bookies now
    As far as I recall, it was generally agreed that those floods were once-in-a-generation, and very few people thought that anything similar would happen again so soon.

    Anyway, I know that it's the done thing to slate the Tories for their (tiny) spending cuts, but quite honestly the staggering amounts of money that the government spends - this one as well as the previous Labour ones - are completely unsustainable. We're currently spending over 1 billion per week on interest payments to service the massive debts that have been run up by successive governments, particularly since the Blair/Brown era. How many flood defences would that have paid for?

    Incidentally, that's not to say that I don't think the government should spend more on flood defences - my sister lives in Tadcaster, where the bridge on the main road through the town has just been washed away - but do I think they need to be more sensible about how they spend it. One of the biggest problems is that the land doesn't retain as much water as it used to because it's been deforested. A report I read recently (it's a couple of years old and on the Guardian website) pointed out that water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate at which it sinks into the soil under grass. That's 67 times, not 67%. Unfortunately, EU subsidies, heavily pushed by your friend Owen Paterson, insist on unwanted vegetation being cleared. As a result, there's far more run-off than ever before.

    Personally, I think we should spend a little more time determining the best way to do things rather than a knee-jerk "Let's throw more money at everything" approach. That way, we'd all be better off.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleDuncan View Post
    As far as I recall, it was generally agreed that those floods were once-in-a-generation, and very few people thought that anything similar would happen again so soon. <snip>
    Not sure about that, we have been hearing predictions of warmer wetter winters for years now. There have been 15 floods recorded in Cockermouth over the last 250 years, 4 of those 15 have happened in the last decade. Amusingly the flood we had in 2005 was referred to as a 1 in a 100 year event, the flood of 2009, a 1 in a 1000 year event.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Quote Originally Posted by Milk View Post
    Not sure about that, we have been hearing predictions of warmer wetter winters for years now. There have been 15 floods recorded in Cockermouth over the last 250 years, 4 of those 15 have happened in the last decade. Amusingly the flood we had in 2005 was referred to as a 1 in a 100 year event, the flood of 2009, a 1 in a 1000 year event.
    Unfortunately the people who were warning that it's getting progressively worse were derided as doom and gloom merchants, hence the 1 in 100 followed by 1 in 1000 claims. I think the Environment Agency have now woken up to the fact that those people were actually right.

    I think the problem was that they were looking at the rainfall charts, and the rainfall volume hasn't really been getting worse - all we've been seeing are the usual occasional spikes. I think this month is almost certainly much higher than normal (the figures aren't published yet, obviously), but I'm guessing that it's still probably not the highest recorded. The biggest problem is poor land and river management, and changing that should be the priority over building bigger flood defences everywhere. Quite honestly, once the water has got to the rivers in those volumes the battle is pretty much lost. They should be concentrating on stopping it from running off into the rivers to start with.

    Anyway, I hope you're keeping your head above water.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    I feel the Environment Agency have been good around here. The flood alert system is good and we have access live river data. The defences here although they ultimately overflowed vastly reduced the force of the water, which incidentally, was largely the result of two new UK rainfall records link (341mm in 24hr in Honister on the 4th December and 405mm in 48hr in Thirlmere on the 5th). Our home was not affected but both of my brother in laws were. H was stranded upstairs for 3 days, J and his family came to stay with us. They are all back in their homes now. I would say over half the affected businesses are up and running in some form or other. The bridges being out is awkward, I now have to drive to work.

    I agree about poor land management although we are perhaps an interesting case here as the local rivers are fed entirely from the national park which has not dramatically changed for a long time. The trees went from the fells a long time ago.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    As far as I recall, it was generally agreed that those floods were once-in-a-generation, and very few people thought that anything similar would happen again so soon.
    It amazes me how this line keeps on getting peddled, maybe because people just want to believe it, but flooding is only getting more frequent, and the met office data shows it only increasing over the coming years.

    Anyway, I know that it's the done thing to slate the Tories for their (tiny) spending cuts, but quite honestly the staggering amounts of money that the government spends - this one as well as the previous Labour ones - are completely unsustainable.
    I completely disagree with that, firstly the cuts are far from tiny, and when they are complete the UK will spend less than any other western country as a percentage of GDP on its government. I am not actually against cuts in order to get the debt levels down just the pace and level of them.

    Also the idea that government spending has been unsustainable is a myth it was perfectly sustainable before the banking crash, and it was only the crash that made it unsustainable.

    We're currently spending over 1 billion per week on interest payments to service the massive debts that have been run up by successive governments, particularly since the Blair/Brown era.
    While its true under the blair & brown governments the national debt went up, it actually went up more during the John major government between 1990-1997.

    I would agree it would have been desirable to have had a lower debt as % of GDP, but before the crash it was manageable. It was the banking crash alone that changed that.

    One of the biggest problems is that the land doesn't retain as much water as it used to because it's been deforested.
    Unfortunately the people who were warning that it's getting progressively worse were derided as doom and gloom merchants, hence the 1 in 100 followed by 1 in 1000 claims. I think the Environment Agency have now woken up to the fact that those people were actually right.
    I'm fully behind an evidence base approach to flood defenses whether that's planting more trees or something else, but whatever the approaches are we should be spending more money on them. It a false economy to cut the flood defenses budget as the clean up costs far out weigh the money we would spend preventing it.
    Last edited by NeedSomeAnswers; Jan 4th, 2016 at 05:40 AM.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Hey Milk,

    glad to hear you weren't effected, do you live on top of a hill by any chance ?

    My cousin lives in York and he lives up a hill and he was fine but it was flooding not 200 meters away from his house.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    Floods certainly are increasing and all the credible forecasts seem to say that they will continue to do so. However I do think this year still represents an exceptional spike in that trend. Nationwide we've just had the wettest December on record. I honestly don't thing any government would have budgeted enough to avoid the floods we've experienced this year. Whether we're budgeting enough to avoid flooding in years that are more "on trend" is another matter. I guess we don't really know but I suspect we're not.

    While its true under the blair & brown governments the national debt went up, it actually went up more during the John major government between 1990-1997.
    That's true but is also a bit miss-leading. The trouble with assigning debt level increases or decreases to the contemporary national governments is that it takes no account of the effects of international economics and events over which those national governments have little or no control. Debts inevitably go up in periods of decline and should go down in periods of growth.

    Thatcher shouldn't get the praise for the recovering UK economy in the eighties - that was primarily down to North Sea Oil. Equally, Major's and Cameron's governments shouldn't get the blame for increasing deficits - both were victims of international recessions. Blair and Browns tenure is a bit more interesting: they don't really deserve credit for the recovering UK economy through the nineties, which was a period of huge international growth, but I do think they both deserve some blame for not strengthening our reserves during that period.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    I honestly don't thing any government would have budgeted enough to avoid the floods we've experienced this year.
    It not just about avoiding flooding in a specific year, all indications point to more regular flooding, what worries me is there appears to be a lack of an overriding plan.

    Whether we're budgeting enough to avoid flooding in years that are more "on trend" is another matter. I guess we don't really know but I suspect we're not.
    We do know, and your right we are not

    That's true but is also a bit miss-leading.
    Not at all, my point was just that the idea that Blair and Brown were somehow responsible for a huge increase in the National Debt which in turn is responsible for the current debt issues we have is misleading. Yes i agree they could and maybe should have reduced it while the sun was shining, it but they didn't increase it by a great amount relatively speaking and it was far less than many other governments around the world were borrowing.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    what worries me is there appears to be a lack of an overriding plan
    Yeah, I'd agree with that and I think the problem there is the short cycle of politics. Flooding is a long term problem so it's not surprising that short term governments fail to address it properly. It sucks but the alternative would be to double the parliamentary term from 5 to 10 years - I think the side effects of that would be worse.

    I don't know what the best way of addressing problems like this are. Individual governments are never going to take responsibility for them and yet they're probably the most important issues to deal with.

    but they didn't increase it by a great amount
    It's not so much that they increased the debt while they were in but rather that they sold off huge swathes of our public infrastructure. Failing to replenish the public housing stock, private finance initiatives in the NHS, Schools, the London Underground, the Post Office... New
    labour didn't sell us out to the loan sharks but they did run all the furniture down to cash converters.
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    Re: NSA, hope you can swim

    It sucks but the alternative would be to double the parliamentary term from 5 to 10 years
    Or for Politicians to think about the greater good rather than themselves for a minute. More seriously though there are ways currently to do longer term projects and that is by cross party select committees where you have a consensus between all the major parties, the problem is we don't have a consensus on this issue.

    It's not so much that they increased the debt while they were in but rather that they sold off huge swathes of our public infrastructure. Failing to replenish the public housing stock, private finance initiatives in the NHS, Schools, the London Underground, the Post Office... New
    labour didn't sell us out to the loan sharks but they did run all the furniture down to cash converters.
    Did you mis-remember a bit there FD? the Post Office was sold by the current government, most of the Social Housing was sold by first the Thatcher government and now the rest by the current government, surely they are far more to blame for a lack of social housing?

    rather that they sold off huge swathes of our public infrastructure
    Private Finance Initiatives in the NHS & Schools were a disgrace and should never have gone ahead and were one of the big issues i have with the New Labour era, although i would say they mortgaged them off rather than sold them which admittedly isn't much better, and i am all for Public Transport being publically owned so i agree about the London Underground.

    Privatisation of public infrastructure has always been a Tory policy and far far more selling off of public assets happened under Thatcher and Major namely -

    British Rail, Buses outside of London, British Aerospace, Cable & Wireless, Jaguar, British Telecom, Britoil and British Gas, British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce, British Airways, water and electricity, British Coal, Powergen and National Power.

    Now you could maybe argue a good case for privatising some of them, namely the Telecoms companies, British Airways and Jaguar & Rolls Royce, however i fail to see what we gained as a country from the privatisation of the others apart from to make some individuals very wealthy.

    There is a hard held belief amongst some that a private company will always run something better than a public one, and yet a number of our energy companies and Rail franchises are run / owned by foreign state owned companies and we are fine with that!
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