Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some Places are More Equal than Others

Although all parts of Great Britain are supposed to be of equal importance, it's not the case: some parts are more equal than others.

When we first moved in to this house, in 1959, when you turned the taps on the water would rush out with a merry Pshhhhhh! sound.

Over the years the water pressure has decreased tremendously - a combination of new houses being built and old pipes leaking, is my best guess.

At the moment, no doubt because of burst pipes all over Yorkshire, the pressure's really low - our shower is more like a trickle. But at least we HAVE water.

Over in Northern Ireland, the prolonged freezing weather has caused very many burst pipes - you can read more about it here. Forty-two thousand people, many of them in Belfast, are currently without mains water and some have been without it for over a week.

Northern Ireland Water have a somewhat defensive piece about it on their website. When giving an explanation as to why there's not more water in the reservoirs, they have a sudden outbreak of block capitals so as to dump the blame elsewhere:

This story has not really featured in the news until today. Why? Because it's in distant Northern Ireland, way across the sea, a lot of miles to the left, and we don't hear much about it in the Media really, now there aren't Troubles like there used to be.

If more than forty thousand people had been left without water in London, then a state of national emergency would have been declared. Politicians would have been visiting all over the place and trying to look compassionate, and Santa Claus would be recalled from Lapland and asked to do his whole present-run again after everything's back to normal.

It reminds me of an incident that happened in the 1980s. The coastal town of Ravenglass in Cumbria is near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant. The sand and silt from the beach in Ravenglass was somewhat radioactive because of the plant, though it was fine for little Cumbrian children to play in it, of course, and nobody in Parliament minded at all about that.

So some protesters got a bucket of the stuff and took it to Whitehall in London, and then explained what it was and where it had come from. Suddenly half of London was sealed off and the mud was treated as low-level radioactive waste. Double standard or what?

Here, up North in Leeds we often feel that the country is run in a very London-centred way. But that's nothing to how things are further away from London. Sorry, Northern Ireland.


Blogger Jennyta said...

You've hit the nail on the head, Daphne. We often feel the same here in Wales. 'If it ain't happening in Cardiff, it ain't happening.'

9:23 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Given the huge amount of investment that English tax payers have put in to Northern Ireland over the last forty years, it is amazing that they haven't all simply skedaddled to their second homes by the Mediterranean. What else has the money been spent on?

Nonetheless, of course I take your point about Londoncentricity and the bias we see each day in our media. Being without water for a few days is definitely NO JOKE!

9:38 pm  
Anonymous Milo said...

I live in London and grew up in the SE but totally agree with you on the bias. Had those leaks taken place somewhere in the south-east it would be 24 hour breaking news on the big news channels and across all of the front pages, heads would roll, etc.

11:33 pm  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

it was the same with the snow. hardly any coverage untill the SE got dumped on.

12:00 pm  

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