Time To Take The Blame, Lord Smith!

It is, of course, a triumph of optimism over experience that we should expect a former Labour Minister to apologise for or even acknowledge their mistakes, for the Blairite/Brownite debacle was never one for taking the blame. But, it is especially rich of Lord Smith, head of the Environment Agency, to defend himself by pointing to the ‘hard work’ of his agency.

I have no doubt that many of those in the Environment Agency have indeed been working themselves to exhaustion dealing with the flooding in Somerset and elsewhere. Like the locals whose homes have been flooded due to the Agency’s negligence in failing to dredge rivers, the workers have been let down by their bosses. I doubt that some guy paid to operate a pump has any influence over the grand scheme of things, instead being dispatched to deal with the aftermath and doubtless bear the brunt of local animosity towards the agency’s failings. Indeed, there are probably many workers on the ground who deserve to be lauded for the efforts they have put in to help the people affected by the flooding.

But, had Lord Smith and his predecessors and advisers done their job properly, those workers are unlikely to have been needed to deal with such a crisis, certainly not on the scale to which it has been allowed to develop. The simple fact is that the agency has been led ineptly and it is time for Lord Smith to stop hiding behind hardworking people and take the blame he richly deserves. Someone who knows what they are doing needs to take the helm of the Environment Agency before further and worse disasters unfold.


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