That’s quite a parliamentary trick, to get it so that the Environment Agency’s workforce can’t be criticized.
To do so is to make “silly party political points”, to engage in “petty politics”, or “pointless procedural bickering”. It’s to play “the Blame Game”.
You’d think that would be quite a good game to play just now.
But I’m not sure we’d win.
The state agency responsible has flooding as its avowed policy. Many of its staff are incorrigible, clock-watching, arse-covering, time-thieving, tree-hugging, data-driven, screen-based, indolent, overpaid, unsupervised vole fanciers.
Or so a blogsite run by Agency workers maintains (insidetheenvironmentagency.co.uk).
Far from putting these arms-length public service defectives through the mill race of parliamentary opinion the Commons cosseted them as valiant servants of humanity. They were working “long hours” said John MacDonnell, “and I pay tribute to them.”
Yes, and something even more appreciated than “tribute” – overtime.
The whole House is implicated in the failure of the Environment Agency. The thing was created by politicians so politicians couldn’t be blamed. And now that the whole corporate disaster is starting to reveal itself, all we can expect is apologies.
“That’s why I apologized to the people of Somerset,” the big blubbery block of Keighley cheese kept saying, as he buttered up the Agency’s workers “risking their lives” (at Tesco’s buying up hoardable quantities of chocolate pots for their children in case of shortages owing to the floods).
No, Eric Pickles refused to criticise anyone except the Labour party, and denied ever having done so. Not the wretch Smith, nor the Environment Agency, certainly not the Secretary of State.
He and Owen Detached-Retina were as one, “two peas in a pod, two brothers from a different mother”. Yes, and a different father by the look of them. In fact, they aren’t brothers at all.
They are team players in the premier league of the Blame Game.
They were wrong, but it wasn’t their fault. They were right at the time. They will learn the lesson. And the lesson is – if you say you’re sorry you can’t be blamed.
So, for all the monitoring and minuting, all the strictures and structures, all the Flood Ambassadors and Local Resilience Councils – the whole damn shooting match is essentially out of democratic control.