What’s the political fall-out from the flooding?

What’s the political fall-out from the flooding?

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    How are Gord and Dave doing as the crisis continues?

As was seen in the US in 2005 the way that governments respond to natural disasters such as flooding can have a significant and lasting political impact. The manner of the Bush administration’s response Hurricane Katrina was cited by many as a major reason why the Republicans did so badly in the US mid-term elections last November.

Clearly what we have had in the UK in the past few weeks is not on that scale but there’s a similar expectation that governments should be there to help when things like this happen and inevitably it’s going to be hard to satisfy everybody.

Already recent events have brought into focus the levels of spending on flood defences and an issue is now coming to the fore about the numbers of new homes that have been built in areas more susceptible to problems. This is likely to develop this week.

Gordon Brown has visited some of the earlier areas to be affected and is to make new visits today. How will this go down?

    For David Cameron the rising waters in his own constituency in Oxfordshire gave him lots of coverage yesterday easing some of the pressure that was being created following last week’s by elections. But is today’s trip to Rwanda to focus on global poverty a wise move when there are so many problems at home?

Looking at the list of target seats on UK Polling Report there do not seem to be many LAB-CON marginals in the affected areas. Even if there were there’s always the blame game that can go on between central and local government.

We might get some sense of the political impact in two key polls where the fieldwork started on Friday and finished yesterday. These are the regular ICM survey for the Guardian and the Communicate Research poll for the Independent which should appear in the next few days.

Mike Smithson

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