Tory MP for Reading West Alok Sharma was filmed yesterday laying in to Ed Miliband who had turned up in his constituency to show concern for the floods. Or should that be: to seem as if he was showing concern for the floods? Lest the author seem unfairly partisan, Matthew Norman has a trenchant piece in the Indy hammering Cameron for failing to spring in to action until the flood waters hit Eton’s Weights Room. No one seems to be bothering to attack Clegg which may be an indicator of how his political cookie has crumbled, but Farage, too, is under fire for using the floods to break new policy initiatives. It is a sad barometer of the state of political discourse that party leaders are being assessed through the lens of how well or badly they seem to be doing in the face of the flooding crisis as opposed to what they are actually doing. The press may as well drop the pretence and publish a floods league table of political winners and losers: “Lord Smith drops two places to Paterson, who’s level with Farage, but three places above Pickles, who is languishing at the bottom of the table with the Environment Agency while Cameron towers above the lot of them, and doesn’t he look good in a pair of wellies?” Politicians are criticised consistently for being motivated by the superficialities of image and spin, but as long as the tenor of reporting focuses on the petty sociology of Westminster while peoples’ houses sink ever further in to the water, the press are as much to blame as MPs.
Luke de Pulford