Hurricane Politics 2014

It’s been compared to the Blitz by some victims, but to me, the Typhoon season of 2014  seems more like the Big Freeze of 1963, only with rain. And while the turbo-charged Jet-stream has brought a series of warm systems from the south this year, with a slight change of direction at source, next winter could bring two months of snow. One year hurricanes, the next, blizzards. Either would be consistent with a climate struggling to convert energy. Our traditional British seasons seem to be coming to an end.
Most intriguing of all is the fact that after two months, Britain still hasn’t thrown up a national charity to help the victims. In spite of such a thing never having been easier, and the obviously vast degree of sympathy, the predominant national response has been either fear, blame, or mean-spirited penny-pinching from those even worse off in the shape of demands to divert foreign aid to the stockbroker belt.
During emergencies it is natural and proper to expect support from the state, and even those ghastly people in Brussels. But how can this government now continue the farce of dogmatic opposition in principle to the role of the state, when it is plain to everyone that the banks and corporations aren’t going to help, either with the current national disaster, or with radical, expensive planning for an all too predictable future. I hear no tories demanding that the free market be allowed to solve the problem (yet) or that the taxpayer should not be required to pay the price. The Unseen Hand of the Market isn’t so all-knowing now, is it? And since good old Victorian philanthropy has also failed, and Global Warming Denialism lies in tatters, as does petty nationalism in the wake of the European aid on its way to devastated areas, what fig-leaf excuses for ideology do reactionaries have left? The steam age economics of climate change are obviously running out of steam.
When the chips are down, it seems all tories are socialists. Nevertheless, it won’t be surprising to see some Spectator nerd penning a column berating the government for rescuing flooded areas, and for planning for global warming, proposing instead that the fittest areas (and wisest market choices) be rewarded and the losers be thrown to the waves as a deterrent to folly and false bargains. The market will be the best protection against climate change. The solution and the cause of all life’s problems, as Homer Simpson says of beer.

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