Country mouse on defences

The rain shows no mercy. The floods across Britain are devastating lives, many people’s homes are wrecked, farmers are watching their crops rot just as they were about to start the harvest, and now I learn that the Game Fair has been cancelled for the first time in 49 years.

The fair, which managed to beat foot-and-mouth in 2001, could not cope with the deluge. The economic impact of the fair alone will be in the region of £50million. The cancellation is likely to ruin many small businesses.

For a decade, Country Life’s columnist Agromenes has been predicting flood chaos, but the Government, and especially Gordon Brown as Chancellor, didn’t heed those warnings. In fact, he cut flood defence spending as Chancellor. Much of the suffering can be placed firmly at the door of his new residence in Downing Street. Of course, amid the chaos, there are tales of courage and the old Blitz spirit that this nation prides itself on has once again been called on. We can all be proud of that, but we should also be ashamed of our Government for its culpability in turning what would have been a flood crisis into a flood disaster