Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/883/21963
From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2016
Profit system exacerbates flooding
Iain Dalton, Leeds
The flooding over Christmas has been some of the worst in recent memory. Fingers are rightly being pointed to the cuts the Tory government has made to flood defence spending, as well as to the emergency services.
Spending was cut by 8% - around £540 million since 2011 - including planned defences around Leeds and York. Yet back in 2009 the Environment Agency was asking for an extra £500 million over 25 years to deal with the effects of climate change, a request rejected by the then Labour government.
The flooding crisis is also being intensified by capitalism's thirst for profit. Between 2001 and 2011 around 200,000 new homes were built on flood plains.
Another linked issue is agricultural policy. The clearing of uplands for sheep grazing has reduced its capacity to absorb water.
A study cited by George Monbiot in the Guardian suggests that the infiltration rate of rainwater is 67 times higher under trees than sheep pasture. Yet the EU Common Agricultural Policy gives farmers subsidies for clearing 'unproductive' land.
The same is the case with owners of grouse moors, who drain and burn blanket bog and moorland heather which holds back water. These landowners do so to maximise profit from grouse hunting. They also receive subsidies from the government to do so.
This mismanagement of UK peat bogs is also contributing 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, adding to global warming and thereby increasing the risk of extreme weather events such as flooding.
While further flood defences will undoubtedly be welcomed by those ruined by flooding, if our environment is continually degraded they will only offer a temporary relief.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 6 January 2016:
What we think
2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
No retreat on resisting council cuts!
Socialist Party news and analysis
Fight the flood of cuts
Support junior doctors' and student nurses' action
Another black man shot dead by the police
UK's private rail fares six times public rates
Birmingham Labour to axe at least 1,200 jobs in £165m cuts onslaught
UK wage growth will be lowest since 1920s
NHS England chiefs block hospitals from publicising emergencies
What we saw: Sadiq Khan's promises on London transport
Them & Us
Socialist Party feature
Floods, climate change and capitalism
Carlisle Socialist Party's action plan on floods
Profit system exacerbates flooding
Tories' hypocritical green policies pledge
Renationalise the water industry
International socialist news and analysis
No government majority as Podemos partially recovers
Workplace news and analysis
Union action needed to defeat attack on student nurses
Nationalise rail now! Rail workers strike around the country
Steel: public ownership needed as private buyers threaten pay and pensions
Condescending Tories savage Yorkshire fire service
Workplace news in brief
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Dark comic book fantasy throws light on abusive relationships
"I chose to be involved in politics, Michael Crick"
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
A 'People's Budget' to defeat cruel cuts
Stop the closure of Calderstones hospital!
2015 marks best fighting fund total this century!
Eleanor Marx: celebrate a life of struggle for socialism
The Socialist 6 January 2016 |
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