Monday, February 17, 2014

A mammoth national disaster

Thus PM David Cameron described the current wide-spread flooding throughout southern England and Wales. This is the rainiest winter in Britain since 1776, and you know what happened then. Things must be bad since he announced at a special press conference that "money is no object, what needs to be spent to bring flood relief will be spent." But, his government has been criticized for moving too slowly to prepare flood barriers and increase river dredging before the floods came.

The whole British south and east coasts are under attack from a series of very strong storms with hurricane winds, and the whole Thames Valley is inundated. The main train line that links London with Devon and Cornwall, that runs directly along the south coast, has been swept away and many towns and villages are isolated. Scotland has not escaped with a series of storms bringing record snowfalls. Similarly the east coast of the USA has had a series of very cold storms that has blanketed the whole region from Atlanta to Boston with snow and ice, causing traffic accidents and grounding flignts. The western world has been brought to a standstill by the weather.

Now its time for an ad from our sponsor, Israel. Yes, Israel has been experiencing balmy weather, today was a little cooler and rainy, but up to Thursday we had brilliant warm weather, with cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the high 70's F (20s C). Wonderful for retired people, the only thing to do is stroll to the town center and sit and have a cup of tea or coffee with a nice cake and some friends. Of course, we need more rain, but who would prefer too much rain and snow to having a little drought this winter.

Another national disaster is looming in Britain, Scotland is due to have its vote for independence from the United Kingdom next week. David Cameron has not been very effective in arguing against it, but as people point out, since there are no Conservative MPs from Scotland in the British Parliament in London (none!), he is probably not the best person to speak against separation. Those who want to keep the Union are mainly in southern Scotland in the cities (Glasgow and Edinburgh) and their arguments are mainly economic. The UK Government has announced that if Scotland votes for independence then it will have to float its own currency or join the Euro Zone, since it will not be able to use the British pound. This could be disastrous for Scotland, but those who support independence are not put off by what they consider a minor temporary inconvenience.

David Cameron had to put off a trip to the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestine Authority, to deal with the emergency at home. Let him put his own house in order first, certainly he has enough problems, rather than coming here and giving us the benefit of his advice. Since Scotland would be a country of ca. 5 million people, maybe they can learn from Israel, which is larger in population (8 million) and is a relatively successful economy. Maybe we should send PM Netanyahu to Scotland and England to give them the benefit of our advice.


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