TAKE a stroll along Portland’s sea defences, Weymouth Esplanade or Preston Beach Road and you see something which mirrors many of the storm problems being faced nationally.
Televisions have been full of excavators and bulldozers frantically trying to push back pebbles to the higher half of Chesil Beach while there have been more grim-faced television presenters talking about waves sweeping up and over Weymouth’s golden sands.
Still more presenters lecture us about Preston Beach Road being closed, painting a seething scenario of half the Channel cascading over the sea wall to obliterate Lodmoor nature reserve….well nearly.
The fact is that the British are obsessed by the weather and like nothing better than a good moan about death, doom and destruction caused by rain, storms, snow, landslides, anything will do.
All this is extremely bad news for the politicians who are on a hiding to nothing when this happens.
Not only are they pilloried for lack of action, lack of investment which could have prevented the damage and lack of foresight in making proper arrangements to deal with the bad weather when it arrived but they suffer something far worse which they really hate. They look even worse than usual in the public spotlight.
Being upstaged by several trillion gallons of floodwater must be galling enough but, to stand any chance of regaining the television centre stage, they must actually be pictured wading out into said floodwater and be smiling when they do it.
On top of that it is very difficult for a politician to claim they are responsible for saving everyone from Armageddon and even harder for them to deny they are not to blame in some way for people’s misery.
This leaves them only one choice. Their mouthpiece must be some MP who has a riverside mansion with a fair sized puddle in its garden to evoke maximum sympathy and the “we’re all in this together” spirit.
Fortunately for everyone’s sanity we also see the reality of Environment Ministers and Environment Agency bosses getting the sharp edge of a few tongues when they literally wade into the debate surrounding worst hit areas.
Naturally no-one is to blame unless you heard the Government saying it was the Environment Agency’s fault for bad advice or the Environment Agency saying it was the Government’s fault for restrictions which limited what it could do.
Now, of course, everyone is suddenly all friends together with the Prime Minister praising the Environment Agency and the Environment Agency saying it is doing its best.
But this instant friendship may owe everything to withering public opinion directed at both sides for their “schoolboy” slanging match over responsibility which actually saw MPs swear.
Mr Cameron has apparently urged his more fiery Ministers to “rein it back a bit”, particularly after the Environment Agency fought its corner and refused to be a whipping boy for the Government.
The bottom line now is that half Somerset is underwater while anyone with a house near the River Thames is rapidly moving furniture upstairs.
Not to be upstaged, poor residents in Worcester now have a county cricket ground which looks like an outdoor swimming pool and a city centre which looks like, well, an outdoor swimming pool.
Weathermen are now starting to say that we are having the wettest winter for more than 200 years and they won’t get too many arguments about that.
Holland, which knows a thing or two about floods, has allowed some of its super pumps to be brought over to England where they are now spouting floodwater into rivers so it can be carried downstream to flood other areas so the misery can be shared about a bit.
All in all, the best place to be is an armchair by a nice fire in a house on ground which is high enough to avoid flooding and low enough to avoid being smashed to smithereens by hurricane-force winds.
Anyone ready for Spring and a few April showers yet?