Sunday, 16 February 2014

Up to ankles in water does PM no good.

It appears from the opinion polls that the prime minister has misjudged the handling of the floods. All that donning of Wellington boots wading around and looking serious has done little to assuage the mood that too little has been done too late.

I usually find it silly that politicians have to be 'seen to be doing something'. This is why they end up paddling in water and 'coming to see' for themselves the enormity of it all when in truth it provides little they couldn't already understand. Being 'seen' in a crisis is all important. Being 'seen' to be indifferent to people's suffering is highly damaging.

Curiously Miliband's paddling and being 'seen' has been more effective than Cameron's. Voter's minds tend to be made rather early and Cameron was fighting a losing battle with public perception. He just looked like a man out of his depth.

All this is probably distinctly unfair. But it is the nature of politics. I  am sure the Prime Minister handles things with skill when he chairs Cobra meetings.

Chairing cobra meetings has also become a feature of being 'seen' to do something. Taking charge. Politicians have to be  'seen to take charge' or as it is so often said 'get a grip'. It is a euphemism that is most often used when politicians have little 'grip' to grip with. Events take more control than any politician could do.

Politicians are slaves to events, and the biggest 'event' is environmental change and certainly the weather. I would put my money on the weather winning. Politicians cannot control the rain and wind - at least not yet. Maybe some bright spark in a Cobra meeting is suggesting this be done.

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