Fierce storms continue to wreak havoc on farmland

My goodness me and we thought the worst was behind us! It was so calm and sunny on Sunday; primroses out in the woods and yet on the road to Petworth is a small gap to negotiate the car through a huge fir tree across the road following Friday night’s storms and 24 hr power cut.

One of our AD roofs is still flat, injured after the combined attack of a power cut and high winds, and the new roof on the big new tank is also flat, flapping uselessly in the wind.

There is water again on the site everywhere, and our new backing gate does not work, and an engineer spent all day Saturday fixing the dairy and the parlour where the power surge destroyed various soft-wear bits and pieces which provide a lifeline between electricity and milking.

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A bit of a disaster which closely mimicked Christmas Eve struck before we had put the lessons learned from that experience to practice.

Once again the poor old cows had to wait for a milking parlour to be fixed before they could be milked, and the lads had a miserable day but stoically persevered with the tasks in hand.

Gwenan had flying branches land on her electric fences and the prize paddock which we had kept for grazing which would last until March, has had the heifers run all over it in their excitement of breaking free. They will now have to graze it anyway behind the wire and it will not be so good; a real shame.

This pale’s by comparison, indeed is of no comparison to what has been happening in the Thames Valley and in Somerset and many other places. The television coverage showing the devastation is incredible and the storms on the coast were biblical in their ferocity causing severe damage everywhere.

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As politicians have been elbowing each other to get on our screens with new wellies, hard hats, ‘hi viz’ jackets, David Cameron has astounded many with the fact that his jacket does not have empty pockets!

‘We are a rich country’ he said and something along the lines that there was unlimited money available now to fix all this. I’m not sure if he meant it to sound like that but that’s how many of us understood it.

We are now getting some indication of what the public think of all this and it seems that although 41% of people do not blame the government for the floods, in Somerset 27% certainly do and 23% blame the Environment Agency; overall 47% believe that the stormy weather is a result of Climate Change.

However, 60% believe that David Cameron has responded badly to the flooding and 63% believe the Environment Agency has responded badly too, which certainly will play out next year at the ballot box given that the EA is an agency of government.

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57% believe that there should be a ban on building new houses on flood plains and a staggering 72% believe funds for overseas aid should be switched to pay for flood prevention here in this country.

I find that rather sad and I certainly believe that if indeed we are a rich country, we should be able to do both.

The problem is that over the years successive governments have been afraid of powerful environmentalist groups and charities, this has swung the balance away from people and their property, which government are elected to defend.

This will be a salutary lesson and I think that from all this misery, change might come as the silent majority which have either been affected or have family or friends who are affected, insist on some common sense and will not be willing to listen to the nonsense which we were all plied for years.

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Many different people from all walks of life have been interviewed and they all say the same thing, country people in Somerset who have lived there as families for generations were ignored over the years, which is shameful.

Too little was done too late, and the cynics were well fed when the Thames Valley had all sorts of action from the army and politicians last week, which made others feel far less important in the scheme of things. I don’t actually believe that, but I can see why others do.

When we have what appears to be the heaviest winter rainfall in 250 years, many are going to suffer. Planning, preparation, maintenance and reaction time is critical to all these people, and on most counts they have been failed.

Whilst the people on the ground working for the environmental Agency have been heroic, and eventually as the army, experts, Dutch know-how and pumps were deployed, generous donations from businesses and others, last week it did look as if everything was being done, but it was too late for most and of little consolation to those who were flooded outside the Thames Valley.

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Now how do politicians who are under the cosh vent their spleen? What could possibly bring all of the leaders together from all parties; united?

Let’s attack that irritating little Scot from Edinburgh who thinks he can have independence and keep the pound.

Three of the unlikeliest individuals made the team, Osborne who would not win a popularity contest north of Watford, Alexander who is not seen as the most loyal Scot, and Balls who is not seen north of the border as someone to take financial advice from, stood united against Salmond and the SDP. ‘No’ they cried, you cannot have independence and the pound.

Talk about playing into his hands. Whilst everyone thought for a full ten minutes that this was the death knell for independence, I firmly believe that a yes vote is now much closer than before.

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Alex Salmond will use this to show the Scots how the bullies of Westminster are trying to take away their right to decide what is right for Scotland, furthermore he has come right back with the cost to British business of some millions of transactional costs.

Sensible people believe that the Scots will decide on independence based on economics and the economy. I rather doubt that myself and a better campaign might have been fought by attempting to make them feel wanted as part of the UK and important partners in its future; after all they profited handsomely from the Union over the centuries in so many ways.

Spare a thought for the Australians who once again are facing bush fires with some losing their homes and their farms.

There are bush fires in South Australia, New South Wales and in Victoria, all driven by the hot weather and winds.

One bush fire has caused one of the open cast coal mines to catch fire and it is difficult to see how one puts that out.

Extreme weather is always very bad news.