In the to-be-hoped-for public inquiry to follow the calamitous floods, the first witness on the stand should, on the basis of a cracking Spectator article in the Spectator by Christopher Booker, be one Baroness Young of Scone.
In it, he alludes to generations of local knowledge on water management being passed over in favour of fashionable green and wildlife lobbies. Coincidentally, my cab driver last night was very eloquent in making the same point. He himself is much involved in the TE2100 project for flood management in the Thames Estuary. Local man, local knowledge; along with the estuary fishing skippers, farmers and other locals with inherited knowledge. I've heard much the same from many river keepers up and down the country over the last ten years. So, how did water management come to be so combative?
Mr Booker believes the Baroness, (Lord Smith's predecessor at the EA), like some Wicked Witch of the West, is to a large degree culpable.
I'm not going to rewrite Mr Booker's article except to echo one of the concluding points he makes; that the very animals and birds the Baroness and her misguided acolytes set out to promote have lost their habitats to a much greater extent as a result of her meddling. Oddly, in her answers to the House of Commons Report on Flooding 2007-8 she didn't much mention birds. You do though get a pretty good insight of how someone who has spent a lifetime as a government administrator in one form or another looks at problems. One other point, the second person on the stand at the inquiry should be the individual responsible for her appointment. Just where do these people come from who enjoy generational patronage from government departments with no obvious ability or experience to do the tasks set before them?
It's way beyond time to call time on this tacky and questionable practice of taking average people and promoting them from failure into quangos and EU positions. It's not the taxpayers problem if politicians don't have the moral courage to fire and forget.