This post is likely to cause consternation for some folk.
I live about 20 miles from Whaley Bridge, I used to live much closer and spent my formative years walking around there, spending a lot of time on the canal there, drinking there and socialising there.
I have friends that live there who I may not keep in touch with enough, but do love and respect.
The village, for its not a big place compared to other towns locally, is beautiful and very friendly. It is not as well known as say Buxton or Castleton but it is quirky and historic.
The memories I carry of Whaley are with me always.
What is happening now is horrific for not only the residents but for all that know Whaley. The thought of it being submerged and possibly wiped away is beyond scary. It saddens me that it may be due in no small part to attempts to save money and some misguided or worse failing of merging the authorities responsible for waterways and resovoirs. Any inquest into the crisis will clarify blame and the cause, I am sure (maybe).
The reason this is however a contentious post is that I am just going to briefly make a comparrason between this and the truly devastating incident which included a huge loss of life at Grenfell Tower, the block of flats destroyed by fire, which killed so many people due to a Tory council making dangerous decisions, based upon cost cutting.
Since the incident hit the headlines the oafish Prime Minister has flown down to make promises of rehousing everyone who may lose their homes if the dam truly breaks. Now absolutely this should and must happen. It seems Johnson not only has said something positive and reassuring, but managed to grab some headlines in an attempt to increase his waning popularity. It has helped him in so much as Whaley is a wealthy predominantly Conservative area, with a majority of residents being white, middle class and even land owners.
I am absolutely sure that in the event of true disaster most of his promise will be kept. I doubt the most economically vulnerable in the area will see the fruits of his assurance but the more well off certainly will.
Now its clear that at Grenfell similar promises were eventually made by the then prime minister Theresa May. She did not react anywhere near as quickly and sadly it seems her promises were for the majority (pretty much all) the residents false. It is also worth noting that Boris Johnson, previous Mayor of London made cuts to the fire service and ignored warnings that did likely result in the death toll at Grenfell being so huge.
Now again I reiterate anyone in Britain who falls foul of disaster should have their crucial needs met by the government. We need a protective infrastructure that comes into effect in times of crisis. However, this needs to happen for all in any crisis, it should not be conditional upon economic worth, colour of skin, immigration status, religion, or who you likely will vote for. Human life is human life. It needs protection from the beginning to end of any crisis. If people lose everything then we as a country need to give them hope of rebuilding their lives. Whoever they are.
I do not want to take anything that has been promised away from those human beings in Whaley Bridge, not anything, but I want promises to count, those making the promises held to account across the board. Everyone to be given protection, security and humane consideration.
So yes provide emergency accommodation (I already have offered my home and my parents motorhome if needed to shelter folk), provide a means of rebuilding lives, invest in the future of this community, but, invest in the future of every community, every family, every person hit by any disaster. That is humanity. That should be our morality. That must be our way.