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28 July 2021

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London floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

Flooding in Newham, east London Photo: Niall Mulholland

Flooding in Newham, east London Photo: Niall Mulholland   (Click to enlarge)

Lee Hawksbee, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Just days after the images of floods devastating whole areas of Germany and Belgium filled our screens (see 'Flood devastation in Europe - Capitalism responsible for climate change and lack of protection'), the skies opened on 25 July, and the rain came crashing down across London and other parts of the UK. The capital was brought to a standstill - hospitals flooded, tube stations filled with water over a metre deep, roads became rivers, streets and houses were ruined.

Understandably, the discussion quickly focused on climate change, and this is an important factor shaping the unpredictability and severity of the weather. However, global warming doesn't entirely explain how a few hours of heavy rain could wreak havoc like this.

No rivers burst their banks here, the problem was surface run-off and inadequate drainage. The reason for this can be found in the chaos of capitalism.

The privatisation of all the old utilities, construction, highways maintenance, and almost all major services has led to devastating consequences. Firstly, services performed by private companies are cut in pursuit of profit.

Secondly, governance and standards that could improve the quality of work are removed in a hail of Tory euphoria eliminating 'red tape'. Finally, funding to all services is cut to the bone.

The evidence is all around us. As a kid growing up on a suburban estate in Essex, I remember vividly the huge noisy trucks that came regularly with their enormous vacuums to suck the silt and debris from the drains. I have lived in Walthamstow, east London, for a decade, and have never seen one.

Every facet of our lives has been privatised, which is why these flooding problems are linked to the lack of adequate housing, potholes in the roads, endless traffic, and the lack of health services.

We say bring back all the utilities, construction projects and services into public ownership with democratic workers' control and oversight. Bring back the standards and governance that ensure the quality of the work undertaken for the long term, not for private individual interests in the short term.

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In The Socialist 28 July 2021:


News

Labour expulsions confirm need for new mass workers' party

'Pingdemic' exemptions

Tories and Labour fail on child poverty

Nationality and borders bill

London floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

Jobs and homes for all


International

Cuban protests - what do they represent?

Flood devastation in Europe

Israel: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

In brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI


Public sector pay

Public sector pay - Prepare for action!

Unite to fight Tory pay insults

New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

Government departments move to impose pay cuts

Further education set for industrial action over pay


Trade union

Sheffield Uni UCU fights archaeological dept closure

Bexley bin workers strike for better pay

Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights


Campaigns

Thousands march to Reclaim Pride

Tower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

East London resident fighting eviction again

Barnsley 'Big Green Space' protest

Youth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched

Selling the Socialist

Scottish socialist breaks running record


Readers' Opinion

TV Review: Stateless blames mismanagement rather than system


 

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Related links:

London:

triangleSave jobs and services - nationalise rail

triangleBexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the unions can win a decent pay rise for health and other public sector workers

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Report back from the Socialist Party national council

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: World relations

Privatisation:

triangleFight the health and care bill

triangleGreat British Railways shake-up offers no end to profiteering

triangleHaringey: Hands off our GP practices

triangleFighting NHS privatisation

Construction:

triangleStop press: Sparks walk out

triangleGateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

triangleProtesting in Enfield, London, in support of electricians sacked by contractor SIS Systems at Amazon's warehouse under construction at Follingsby Park, Gateshead. 21.6.21

Global warming:

triangleTV Review: Apocalypse Cow

triangleTories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Flooding:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Flooding, homelessness, cuts... Walthamstow needs a re-set - what's the socialist plan?

Banks:

triangle10 years since Occupy

Article dated 28 July 2021

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CWI rally, Sunday 26 September 2021, 14-00. Youtube.com/CWImedia

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