"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

For Richer, For Poorer ....

Travelling around the country last week gave lots of 'thinking and discussion time'. Listening to the news and commentaries on the car radio, quickly turning off if the Environment Secretary or Michael Gove started to stutter out their excuses - and believe me excuses they were - led to discussions. Looking at scenery we have known and watched change - not always for the better - for fifty plus years led to discussions. Looking at housing estates built on what were previously known as flood plains led to discussions. Not being able to drive across usual routes on the Somerset Levels due to the extreme flooding, roads and houses that have been flooded for up to a month now, led to discussions. Observing derelict local schools which we knew to have been happy, community orientated places of learning but now replaced by the school bus which took young people to larger anonymous buildings miles away where youngsters became the equivalent of numbers rather than names and were growing up to feel much less community minded - especially when local amenities like their libraries, shops, doctors surgeries and more had been removed and travel to a larger 'centre' became a necessity led to discussions.

Of course, we were also reminded courtesy of the car radio that times were bad [due to the last government of course] and there is not the money to spend on luxuries. No mention of the damage done to the areas of S.Wales where we spent some time, by Maggie Thatcher in the eighties. The mines that closed there [and in other parts of England and Wales] and had all traces obliterated in a fit of spite - recently released Government papers have revealed that which many of us suspected. And of course the closures brought with them the loss of so many other jobs tied to other local businesses including shops. In one small valley this could have been the only local food store until the villagers themselves took over. You see, in these areas there has always been the sense of community referred to in the last paragraph, something those in Whitehall will never understand.

Moving on to Somerset there was a sense of bewilderment in the communities there who feel completely forsaken by their elected officials. Discussions reported in the media as to whether it would be better to spend money on flood defences for the countryside or the town are truly irrelevant - in much of the countryside river dredgers have been sold off so that flooding becomes inevitable and additionally clearance of trees in upland areas and building on the flood plains has created a [excuse the pun] 'perfect storm'. However the excuse that there is not enough money to go around to help everyone becomes ironic if one considers that there is always enough money for military campaigns and hardware...... Still Prince Charles is visiting today, so that's all good....

Michael Gove's ideas to change the Head of Ofsted are documented here and in other parts of the media. Putting politics aside, I would prefer an experienced person like Lady Morgan to an inexperienced individual whose only qualifications maybe his/her political allegiance. A story to watch.

And just to plug a blog that is about last night's Channel 5 'The Big Benefit's Row' programme, and its up to you, dear reader, to decide who you prefer, Jack Monroe or Edwina Currie. I am sure you will understand who gets my vote!

Just to leave you all with a picture of the River Parrett in Bridgwater on Saturday evening. It may look photogenic, but the water level is frighteningly high.

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