Last week saw widespread flooding in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Johnson showed up late for a photo opportunity and was met with hostility. This event shows the contempt held by the Tories towards the working class.
Last week, large areas of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire were devastated by flooding after heavy rainfall. The floods have wreaked havoc. Some villages have been completely consumed by water, leading to their entire evacuation. At least one person was killed after being dragged away by the flooding.
Boris Johnson turned up a few days later for a cynical photo opportunity. In one photo, the PM was shown mopping the floor (well, trying to at least) of a shop in Matlock. Truly, a hard-working, salt-of-the-earth character.
Outside of the carefully stage-managed campaign, however, real people told him what they truly thought of him. Coming to flooded villages around Doncaster, a hostile environment awaited him. When he eventually turned up, only offering empty platitudes, people rightly told him where to stick it.
Walking around flooded areas, most notably Stainforth, people heckled him: “You took your time Boris”. One man shouted that it was a joke and everyone is living in poverty; there are kids on the street yet nothing is or has been done about it.
Afterwards, Johnson went to meet with members of the community, but they were also having none of it. Asked what he’d done, Boris stammered that people had been working around the clock to help people there. One local resident replied: “Yeah, we are, but where have you been?”
Boris couldn’t answer who had helped from his government, because they had done nothing at all. Instead, it was the community that had pulled together, donated much-needed items, and worked “around the clock” to stop the flooding.
“I’m not very happy about talking to you, you’ve not helped us up to now”
Flood victims in South Yorkshire line up to tell Boris Johnson how useless his response has been pic.twitter.com/9fJs4xh8cg
— dave ❄️ ? (@davemacladd) November 13, 2019
Back in 2007, virtually the exact same areas were flooded. Only £1 million was spent on building flood defences to protect these communities from a similar disaster. This clearly prevented nothing. Why was more not spent on protecting these communities? Because it is not profitable.
This disaster could have been avoided, just as the Grenfell tragedy was avoidable. The Grenfell inquiry, for example, revealed that Kensington & Chelsea Council had hoarded £129 million in property sales, while at the same time instituting cost-cutting measures for Grenfell tower and other social housing.
It is always the working class who suffer from these preventable disasters. The rich rarely suffer from disasters like fires or flooding, because they can afford the best homes on the best land in the best areas.
The ruling class like to act as though these disasters were unavoidable. Yet in both cases there was advanced warning of what could happen. The cladding was well-known to have been inadequate in protecting the Grenfell tower. Likewise, working-class areas of South Yorkshire have already been massively flooded before – and yet very little was done to prevent it again.
It is no surprise that the people in these communities have had enough of these lies. The majority of these communities were poor, working-class areas. These communities have already been devastated by decades of cuts to local services and a complete lack of any opportunities.
For instance, the villages that were flooded, like Stainforth, are ex-pit villages which have experienced nothing but worsening poverty for years. Working-class communities completely left behind by Tory and New Labour governments.
These are the places destroyed by flooding. Areas that already had little now have had the only thing they had left destroyed – countless items of personal value. Their homes are equally damaged.
For many working-class people, this flooding is the breaking point. Their communities had been decimated for years and years. And when they are most in need, this Tory government ignores them. The lack of any real government response clearly shows how out-of-touch Johnson and his Conservative chums are.
The Tories do not offer anything to help these communities, precisely because they do not care. If this had happened in the rich suburbs of Surrey, then we can be certain that there would be an outpouring of sympathy from the Tories and their press. For example, the Tory-Lib-Dem coalition offered £30m during the 2013-14 Somerset Levels floods – an affluent, ardent Tory area. But here is a rabble of the unwashed masses – and they can’t make any money out of them!
Working-class communities will always be made to pay for these disasters – both personally and financially. The flooded areas had their lives destroyed, and it was the surrounding community that helped to bring them aid. The ruling class have nothing to offer them.
As long as we live under a system based upon inequality and exploitation, the working class will continue to burden the cost of this crisis-ridden system.
We need to fundamentally change society so that working-class communities are the ones who decide their own future. We need nationalisation and a socialist planned economy, in order that the working class – the majority in society – can rationally plan production and decide where projects are funded, what is funded, and how much is allocated.
We are the ones who produce the wealth in society. So it is about time that this wealth was reclaimed from the dodgy landlords, exploitative bosses, and billionaires, and put back into our communities.