As a daily reader of your blog and occasional 18 Doughty Street viewer, I was pleased to see you appearing on Sky News this evening. With regards to the discussion held by yourself and Michael Brown, I was also pleased to see my home city of Hull receiving some attention for the recent flooding we’ve had, and you both speaking compassionately about our stricken city.
Large swathes of Hull lie below sea level, and are protected from regular tidal flooding by the tidal barrier that lies on the River Hull where it meets the Humber Estuary. This guards us faithfully and has done all my life, however two weeks ago we saw weather totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Hour upon hour of torrential rain battered the city, and the defences just could not cope.
Virtually everyone in one of the dozen largest cities in England is either flooded out, or knows someone who is. Everyone is affected. A friend of mine called in some distress a while ago delivering the quite shattering news that they won’t be able to go home for a year. I can’t conceive of what that must be like. Now, this rather long-winded preface is meant to give a flavour of the situation, worsened by the fact that
many are reportedly unable to actually get insurance because of Hull’s low-lying
status, and that most of East Yorkshire lies on a flood plain.
I quite agree that people are responsible for their own actions. As a Conservative
myself, I am absolutely loathe to see the Government bailing out people who have
chosen not to safeguard themselves. Huge handouts of public money make me
instinctively anxious. But as I survey the wreckage of a permanently damaged city, my resolve wavers, and may dissolve further if it is true that some properties cannot obtain insurance – and yes, I accept that one should acknowledge the risks inherent in buying a house on a flood plain. But the situation is grave and the suffering is real. There’s no easy answer to this, and I find my principles warring with the scenes of ruin. I’m glad it’s a decision I don’t have to make. I’m even more glad I was spared anything more severe than a flooded garden and some damaged footwear.
Once again, thank you for a sympathetic voice on the television.
A truly terrible situation for all those affected. I suspect those who say if this had happened in Kensington & Chelsea much more would have been done, have a point. Wouldn't you have thought that the fact that Hull boasts Alan Johnson and John Prescott as two of its three MPs would make a bit of a difference to the government's responsiveness? Apparently not.