Then the Witch Hunt........ oh, think we've found her.

Well done Baroness Young, that's one hell of a bird sanctuary!

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. 

Things got markedly worse after 2002 when the Baroness Young of Old Scone, a Labour peeress, became the agency’s new chief executive. Dredging virtually ceased altogether. The rivers began dangerously to silt up. The Baroness, who had previously run the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England, talked obsessively about the need to promote the interests of wildlife. She was famously heard to say that she wanted to see ‘a limpet mine put on every pumping station’. The experts I was talking to had no doubt that this apparent wish to put the cause of nature over that of keeping the Levels properly drained was eventually going to create precisely the kind of disaster we are seeing today.
— Christopher Booker
Baroness Young; Pretty clear where her sympathies lie then

Baroness Young; Pretty clear where her sympathies lie then

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.