It’s not only holiday-makers who are suffering from the recent discharges of effluent. Remember when Rees-Mogg claimed that fish were ‘better and happier now they are British”? I wonder how they are feeling now, as they swim in waters which are full of shit.
There was a Twitter shit storm over the weekend, and it continues today. My feed was taken over by pictures of Tory MPs, each of whom had voted to allow the discharge of effluent into our waterways, posted by constituents. I devoted an hour or so to re-tweeting these name-and-shame posts, particularly those who had posed for their portrait in front of beautiful beaches or river banks which contribute significantly to the economy of their constituencies.
Just two weeks before Britain hosted COP26, the environment summit, the Lords - bless them - proposed an amendment to the Environment Bill which would have placed legal restraints on the discharge of effluent. But back in the Commons, 265 Tories voted against.
Few of them had any specific reason for their vote. They were merely lobby fodder. They had been whipped to vote the way they did, and they are still keeping quiet about their vote.
But some knew what they were doing. When questioned, they justified their action in a number of ways.
Some, including Maria Caulfield, claimed that the amendment called for “an immediate end to sewage outflows” which would have “led to sewage leaking into people’s homes”.
The majority talked about the cost, which is too much for the hard-pressed water companies. There is some truth in this. Water companies have already been forced to pay out billions to investors and millions each year to their CEOs.
But that was then. Now, when the predictions of those who supported the amendment have proved frighteningly and disgustingly accurate, some are taking to Twitter to claim that the actions of water companies are “appalling”. As someone on my Twitter feed pointed out, if you are a member of the face-eating weasel party, you can’t complain when face-eating weasels do what they do.
What is appalling is that the actions of the water companies were enabled by a Government majority. What is appalling is that we no longer have the protection of the EU regulations.
The Twitter storm had an effect. Those named-and-shamed are apparently asking Tory HQ how they can defend themselves. And on the opposite side, the Labour front bench has so far made no official statement. Thirty odd Labour MPs abstained on the night, and although abstention has become commonplace from Labour, they must have had some reason for letting the Tories and the water companies off the hook.
Who knows what that might be?
Today from the everysmith vaults: Yesterday’s Radio 4 programme, How to Play, featured Marin Alsop and Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. So that’s what’s playin’ today.