For the past fortnight we’ve been watching the news in horror as the worst extreme temperatures in Europe set off huge and devastating wild fires in country after country in Europe, and then spread to the UK to bring the highest recorded temperatures in history.
In the UK an entire village east of London was left in ruins as a fire, which reportedly started in dry grass in an open compost heap, spread from house to house, and 41 were lost. Over the country, houses, shops and at least one factory was fire damaged and fire services were stretched to breaking point. And the extreme heat, 40.2C, it is believed, tipped many elderly and frail people to die prematurely. And the same is reported all over Europe, where deaths are in their thousands.
There’s nothing trivial or pleasant about temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s. In Spain we’re more used to it with homes shuttered against the heat and many with air conditioning. And when you venture outside you are hit by a wall of heat.
People in Britain are not so lucky, with homes built to cope with cold rather than heat, and air con has not been on many people’s needed list.
The Met Office forecast the extreme temperatures more than a week before it happened. They predicted, totally accurately, how hot it would be and when it would happen. Weather forecasting has come a long, long way from the time when most people, told it would be a sunny day, took their umbrellas and raincoats because they didn’t believe the forecast would be right.
Along with the forecast came serious warnings from the UK health agencies over the risks to elderly people and the very young, and gave a list of advice of how to cope – such as wearing light cotton clothes, not exerting themselves, not going out in the sun, working from home etc etc.
I was foolish enough to switch onto one of the new UK TV stations where the most stupid of people appear to be invited to give their views on current topics. A panel of the deranged were banging on about why the public have to be treated like children and be given advice. “It’s a summer day, go out and enjoy it”, a whole department is employed to hand out advice we don’t need” The country is becoming more of a nanny state every day” were just a few of the stupid comments.
Well, I hope the deranged so-called panellists have eaten their words. The problem is such comments, on TV and in the press, mostly from the right wing in politics, are listened to and acted upon by the more gullible, and when it comes to such ill-informed comments there are dire consequences.
People who stand up to these ill-informed characters are often ridiculed and abused. Like that little cracker of a girl Greta Thunberg who has been warning for years of the dangers of global warming. Remember how Trump reacted against Greta when she took the stage?
It was exactly the same nonsense with Trump and his ridiculous advice as to how to combat Covid – advice which could have killed. His idea of running the country was to throw all existing norms up in the air and start again.
Hang on, isn’t that the message from right winger Liz Truss in the Tory leadership campaign? Don’t listen to the financial advice of the past do something new. That was the message over Brexit – and look what a mess that has brought to Britain.
Can you believe that Truss while at Oxford University was president of Oxford University’s Liberal Democrat society. Later she switched to the Tories. She voted Remain, but now is a Leaver. Now I know that is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind – but to make such important U turns is excessive. How many U turns would there be if she was PM?
On that tack I predict Truss getting the top job – the Tory membership will back her because she will put mega bucks into the pockets of the rich in tax cuts, which the country cannot afford. With her the UK will go through two years of financial hell, because un-funded tax cuts will drive the pound down, raise interest rates and make the poor poorer. Not keen on Sunak either, but he is talking some sense.
And as I finish writing I have just heard that the UK’s Brexit divorce bill from leaving the EU could rise to £42.5bn, potentially adding billions to payments, the government says.
Treasury minister Simon Clarke said inflation meant the bill could be up to £7.5bn higher than initially estimated.
What a disaster Boris and Farage have inflicted on Britain – disaster at the ports when we want to go on holiday, disaster to trade with Europe, the UK’s biggest customer and over driving licences for British ex-pats. And all for what – Sovereignty – which actually means the UK government being able to do what it wants without someone else telling them no! What a con perpetrated on the UK public.