Michael Fabricant raised the urgent matter of the leaking dam which holds back the waters of the Chasewater Reservoir today with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. For questions like this, it is common to brief Number Ten in advance, so at least the PM knows that an MP is not raising a partisan political matter, but is looking for a helpful reply. But rather than get a concerned answer, Fabricant received a brief and 'insensitive and flip' response despite Gordon Brown being briefed fully in advance that the leak endangers life and could have a lasting effect on the whole of the Midlands. Lichfield District Council officials have told Michael Fabricant that unless the dam is repaired soon, it could have "catastrophic consequences" with loss of life and property and the Midlands canal system running dry.
Michael Fabricant: The 200 year old earthworks dam in my constituency which contains the Chasewater reservoir has started to leak. A recent engineers report stated that if it collapses, scores of lives will be lost and there will be a lasting effect in the midlands. The small district of Lichfield does not have the funds to make the urgent repairs. Will the Prime Minister please use his best endeavours to ensure that the financial burden is spread over the region as a whole?"And that was it.
The Prime Minister: Of course I will be happy to consider his point although I see that he is making the case for public expenditure.
Michael Fabricant tells me: "This is one of the briefest, crass, insensitive and flip replies that I have ever heard from a Prime Minister to such a serious question. I spoke to his office the previous day so they were fully briefed in advance. Whatever I might think of Tony Blair, he always tried to give detailed and helpful replies to constituency problems especially if he had been briefed and no party political points were being made. I did not make a party-political point and I did brief in advance. Gordon Brown's reply was just plain crass. I will, however, now be writing to the Prime Minister regarding these matters and hope the substantial cost of urgent repairs to the dam won't all have to be born by the 40,000 householders in Lichfield District. I am also seeking further information from the Council regarding the dam's immediate safety."
Gordon Brown had better hope that the dam remains intact, don't you think?
Is anyone surprised? I doubt that Gordon Brown has a decent bone in his body; the more I hear this 'person' spout his tractor stats and diving lines, the more I hate him.
Not his finest hour...
I thought Brown had tried to score a cheap political point out of a very serious issue at the time. It juts goes to show just how much he has lost his grip on reality.
Iain... I do vote Labour (this, of itself does not make me a war criminal) - but I was astonished and shocked at Brown's reply.
As you say... let us hope that no-one dies. Surely this matter cannot possibly be partisan? If it is.. then we really do have a 'rotten parliament'.
With the adverse publicity this is generating the residents of Lichfield better hope that 'Jonah' Brown doesn't decide to visit the area.
The man is thoroughly disordered; on that famous pre-election night when Tony Blair allegedly performed his last public-spirited act and locked Brown in the loo, perhaps it was because people had told him "we need to talk about Gordon".
To be honest I actually couldn't believe what I'd just heard from Brown. I wondered if this had been sprung or if he had been briefed.
If there was a previous briefing, Brown should be utterly ashamed of this. If the Dam does fail, then this will haunt him for the rest of his days. Not just as PM, but for the rest of his life I think.
Brown is a total and desperate moron. This has to be the most useless answer in all the history of PMQs.
Still at least he did not volunteer to visit the dam, something which would almost certainly guarantee it 'busts'.
Shocking. He just doesn't care. I can only imagine how alarmed Fabricant's constituents will be when they hear Brown's comments. They needed assurance from the government not cheap party politics.
I live in the Lichfield constituency and I'm pretty annoyed with Brown's answer.
Labour was already going to do extremely badly in this part of Staffordshire before this - they certainly will do now. They almost won the seat in 1997 (coming within 238 votes). Michael Fabricant's majority will probably go up to something like 15,000 in May.
The Prime Minister's idiotic answer to a serious question was totally unacceptable.
He should be forced to come before the house apologise to the member for Lichfield and give a proper answer to that gentleman's question.
Another worrying aspect of this replay is just how stupid it is. It would not have been difficult to give a sensible reponse, not in any way politically damaging. Were the dam to go, bearing in mind we are in the wet season, it would be even more stupid.
Sorry to go of at at tangent, but why does Lichfield District Council own Chasewater Reservoir? Does it serve only the people of Lichfield? Does the council get revenue from it? If not, why is it not the responsibility of a water company or, if it is integral to the canal system, the waterways authority?
For the avoidance of doubt this is not a rhetorical question, I would really like to know.
With Brown it is always self above party and party above country.
Foe him everything is party political so he assumes for everybody else only party and self matters
No district council chairman would be so crass.
They are Tory voters in a Tory seat!
Why would Gordon Brown be interested in English voters in an English seat where they will never vote for Gordon Brown?
Problem - what problem? Some reds laughed, clapped and jeered, it's a constituency which voted for the Conservatives and therefore qualifies as "bashing the toffs". Boxes are ticked, red meat is thrown to the comrades. Job done. Next please.
I hope to see that answer emblazoned on all the election campaign leaflets for Staffordshire!
Just shows what a small man he is; always partisan – thinking that this earns him political advantage whereas in fact it exposes all too well his unsuitability for anything like the high office has spent years scheming to achieve only to be shown (thank you Peter Watt, just the latest but very interesting) to be at a complete loss as to what to do. His social ineptitude alone would have told a more self-aware man that he would be horribly exposed as Prime Minister.
I do wish Cameron and Osborne would hit these people where it hurts – the disgusting damage they have done to the economy and to civil liberties, to social mobility and many other areas. Why did Cameron not hit Brown with the silly Ashton woman’s pathetically inadequate and stumbling response to the Haiti situation if he had to go on that? I hope to hell they are saving it all for the campaign proper once they know Brown cannot be ditched!
Why should the PM worry about a few score of the little people drowning in the Midlands. They are outside the M25 and Edinburgh commuter belt so are unter-mensch.
Brown also tried to score a cheap point about Cameron not raising any questions about the economy.
I know it was clear that Brown was unhappy that he couldn't use his pre-prepared lines, but was it necessary for this jibe at Cameron, considering that he had been asked questions about the tragic case of the children in Doncaster?
Here 23:45 in:
“It is interesting that the leader of the opposition is not asking me about the economy today”
Brown just can’t help his partisan politics regardless of the circumstances or indeed the delicate subject of the abuse of children.
Last week he was talking about giving free laptop computers to the needy. At least the guy has his priorities right. How an anyone justify spending money on public safety when there are people out there in desperate need of free laptops they can take to cash converters and hock for beer money.
Iain: Get hansard for tonight 6:55pm, John Mcdonnel (Hayes) gives Brown a thinly veiled kicking at the end of that loke Fiscal responsibility bill.
It's a characteristic of people with Brown's particular mental problems that they are profoundly insensitive and lacking in empathy.
To anyone who's watched Brown these past few years, there really is nothing surprising in this response.
No emotional intelligence whatsoever. Asbergers has been mentioned before - is this yet more evidence?
Michael should suggest the next regional Cabinet meeting be held downstream of the dam.
Perhaps it would be for the best that Gordon doesn't do anything about the dam, the moment he touches it the thing will probably fall apart.
Brown is evil, deranged. His instinct is to join in a possible cover-up about the doncaster scandal, raised by Cameron.
I think Cameron should boycott PMQs...Brown never answers any questions so what is the point? Clegg and other (non Labour) MPs would follow and it would be revealed for the sham it is....
For gods sake don't let Brown anywhere near that dam. I've live about three miles away.
No doubt this stupid man has forgotten that 40,000 householders in Lichfield District also have insurance policies.
Looks good doesn't it! This failure/cowardice/disinterest to address the question will be a nightmare for the people who will now have longer memories that this useless idiot.
And he'll be blamed - of yes!
This was Brown at his worst Iain. Mr Fabricant had followed the correct procedure in submitting this non political question to No 19 the day before. Paul Waugh reckons that the PMs briefing notes had the info about this question so absolutely no need for his poor response. Out of the 22 words uttered by Brown only 10 referred to the question directly but that's Brown for you, he has to bring politics into lterally everything - it's in his DNA.
Off topic but when we have the great leadership debates will Cameron and Clegg demand that Brown is frisked for Nokias?
Amazingly, this passed right over the head of Labour quisling Nick Robinson. Beggars belief doesn't it?
Brown has always shown himself to be particularly careless when dealing with other people's lives - witness his scandalous refusal to fund and equip our armed services properly, and to then send them into grave danger. Why should we expect his treatment of the civil population be any different?
Where there's no political mileage in it, Brown is not interested. If, God forbid, the dam breaks and the resultant inundation leads to death and injury we can guarantee that within hours Brown will be in the midst of the chaos, standing four-square in front of the massed TV cameras, grandstanding.
Today, apart from confirmation of his laissez faire attitude by his response to Fabricant, his replies to Cameron showed exactly the same irresponsibility and lack of concern. His obdurate hiding behind a Summary and his reluctance to take any action in the intervening period, has done nothing to resolve the clear and present danger to other children in the continuing shambles that is Doncaster - and elsewhere.
As always, his personal and party politics come before everything else - including the lives and limbs of the electorate.
It was a shade insensitive, even for Gordon. I wonder what Kevin McBrown would have said about it.
I'm wondering what Kevin McBrown said to Peter Watt on Sunday during the Marr show
A dam buster performance ... from the man in the bunker on a war footing. I'm sure the Labour party in Luchfield will be happy - not.
Chasewater Reservoir is being drained to permit repair work on the dam. The Chasewater Country Park is a recreation and wildlife centre owned and run by Lichfield Council. British Waterways uses the water from the reservoir to top up the local canal network. So it should pay for the work. Better still, send the bill to Timothy West the barge fan and Labour luvvie.
That feels like I've been personally shat on by Brown. Does anyone know where I can find out who is the intended PPC for this constituency? I intend to seek an explanation of Browns behaviour.
By the way the reservoir adjoins Aldridge and Brownhills and Cannock Chase constituencies. Lichfield is somewhat further away, Burntwood (Chasetown) would take the brunt, this is a somewhat less Tory part of the constituency being old coal mining territory.
I have said in the past that Staffordshire should change its name to Sod-Offshire.
Further to Q’s comment. A qualified psychiatrist told me today, as we watched PMQ’S together, that Brown’s body language during the roll call of dead soldier names said a lot about Browns mental state.
The answer about the Dam is typical of a Psychopath, who has a lack of social skills & true empathy, in fact he has a very dangerous temperament >Feels the word is against him< on something potentially devastating, if it were to break it would mean grandstanding about the local Tory council than the deaths of many hundreds..
His immediate bunker mentality supposed the Tory, who put the question, was his mortal enemy, so he hit back in the only way he knows by striking out. Mr Fabricant was lucky there were no Mobile phones around.
I have it on record that he took Obama’s defeat yesterday in Massachusetts very badly; once again, he took it as a personal defeat of his own because he believes Obama is an extension of himself and his policies. The great Krugman fiscal spending stimulus was Brown’s strategy, Obama, followed so in his mind he believes Obama is joined to him at the hip.
I tell you it was a fascinating unprovoked assessment by a person I respect.
This is appalling, but par for the course when it comes to Brown. Do you all remember when David Cameron asked a question about Baby P and Brown accused him of making a party-political point. The man has no shame.
"I see that he is making the case for public expenditure."
Were it the case that the Tories were a staunch libertarian party that opposed all public expenditure I could see the point iof thios reply. But they are not. Okay inidviidual members seem to be - Hannan for instance - but thats not the view of the party leadership nor Fabricant (from what I know of him).
Comments like this by Brown make me want a Labour defeat as much to humiliate Brown as anything else. Not the right attitude I guess but the guy can be so odious at times.
There is a British Bridges Board that looks after all the bridges in the country - inspects them regularly and organises repair and maintenance when necessary. I don't want to spoil a good story but I was under the impression that there was something similar for dams?
@ Desperate Dan
You may or may not be right. But if such a body exists why did Brown not mention this and suggest that he would ask them to take action etc etc? Does he not know? Or does he not care?
In any event, inspection is not the issue. Maybe repair is being considered. Fabricant's question was also about funding - and Brown showed complete disinterest in all of these aspects.
"There is a British Bridges Board that looks after all the bridges in the country"
The will 'loo after' the ones solely in England, the Scottish, Welsh and N Irish ones will have their 'own' boards, the 'British' one will just have a say over England and England alone, a bit like Broon and the 'British' Government.
Brown seems to be technically right but to lack political grasp to an almost tragic extent. He should have made all the right noises about concern for the people of the Midlands, we will look into it, etc, etc.
All of which would of course have been piffle.
It sounds like many of you would prefer a government of spin and lies to hard facts, hence the adoration of Blair and Cameron we often see in these pages?
You're absolutely right. I'm not making excuses for Brown's lunatic performance at PMQs. Presumably No. 10 staff are all so busy straining to think up pathetic one-liners for Gordon to mangle that they've got no time left for anything else.
I'm on my way over with PE charges as we speak!
I bet Labour folk are so very proud.
If Brown dropped dead today, how many people would miss him?
Would you need more than ten fingers to count them?
I think not.
@Blogger DeeDee99 said...
// No emotional intelligence whatsoever. Asbergers has been mentioned before - is this yet more evidence?//
Brown is not anywhere on the autistic scale. Why? Because one aspect of autism is the utter inability to lie. And that, we know, is not a characteristic of Brown.
Nope. He's a Sociopath. Blair a Narcissist, Brown a Sociopath. What a lucky country, to have two leaders with severe personality disorders, for the best part of 14 years.
It's not just this dam
Gasper dam in Somerset is suffering as well. However, as no-one in Somerset votes Labour (actually, no-one in the South West bar a few fools in Bristol), one does not expect any action to be taken by the government.
@Tuscan Tony said...
Michael should suggest the next regional Cabinet meeting be held downstream of the dam.
Yes - but it won't happen. By some odd coincidence, all the out of town cabinet meetings have taken place, at no little expense to the taxpayer (so what?) in marginal Labour constituencies.
Such a coincidence, eh?
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