John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
  The failure of government
It could be seen as a symptom of moving more things into the private domain that the public squalor that can come with private affluence also appears as an inability to react in circumstances where only government can sensibly react.

The US Government's failure to react to Katrina in part relates to the expectation that the State would handle it, but in part it appears that they did not think it was their responsibility at all.

The UK Government does not appear to be handling these things well either.

There is also a problem in that when there is not "a plan" then governments have a big problem. The delays after the Tsunami when action was needed on the ground were actually worse than the delays in New Orleans and environs. Admittedly they were international delays when one would always expect that to some extent.

It is also interesting how government is almost incapable of cooperating with the new medias. Ideally the Foreign Office would work with weblogs and online databases to make life easier for people. This, however, does not seem to be possible.

Government in the UK has spent some time making things more complicated and difficult. This is an area that needs to change.
 
Comments:
"Ideally the Foreign Office would work" says it all really.
 
Often it is the fear of Civil Servants of doing something that could be criticised and the preference to do nothing.
 
I know what you mean John. There were major criticisms on the same lines about Birmingham City Council's failure to respond quickly enough to a disaster on a much smaller scale.
 
Not from the people affected. I met two other councillors in the area about 1 hour after it happened and we were liaising with the emergency control room.

All families who needed emergency housing had it that night.

The only debate is what to do about private houses without insurance.
 
Not sure how accurate reports are of the wealthier amongst the New Orleans being airlifted to safety, on the first day of the disaster.
 
Just some of the comments in the Evening Mail from people John Hemming describes as "unaffected".

Traders who have lost thousands of pounds in the fall-out from Thursday's tornado said last night they had been neglected by the city council.

Restaurateurs, grocers and newsagents on the usually bustling Ladypool Road in Sparkbrook and Moseley criticised city leaders who they claimed would have acted with more urgency if the city centre's entertainment zones had been hit by the twister.

The frustrated shopkeepers were yesterday left standing behind barriers on the edge of Newport Road assessing the damage caused to their shops.

Mohammed Yaqubali, owner of the two Lahore Karahi restaurants on Ladypool Road and nearby Highgate Road, said he had not been given any information from the council.

Mr Yaqubali, who is also chairman of Ladypool Road Traders Association, said he was losing thousands of pounds a day with the closure of the two restaurants.

"I have not been able to get to my Ladypool Road restaurant because the damage is so bad, but I may be able to open the other restaurant soon," he said.

"I have had absolutely no information from the council which I think is very bad. I know it is a natural disaster but they should have set up some sort of advice line which could help us.

"If this sort of thing had happened at Broad Street in the city centre the damage would have been cleared up by now, but we have been neglected."

Zaman Khan, owner of Frontier Stores convenience store on Ladypool Road, said he was sick of the policy of "tax, talk and no action" from the local authority.

"This tornado has devastated much of the road and all we ask is that we are told what is going on," he said.

"There are people out clearing the trees, but how do we know what is going to happen to our properties."

Akram Ulhaq, owner of Amaniti Ali Halaf butchers and grocers, said he had had to lay off his employees and did not know when they would be able to return to work.

"I have got six members of staff and they rely on the business for their wages," he said.

"What am I supposed to say to them, because I do not know when I will re-open."

Rafiq Khalid, who runs the Royal Sweets store on the Ladypool Road, said: "I have not seen anything being done to help sort out the buildings.

"My business will be totally ruined. I was evacuated from the shop when I had just arrived with a food delivery from London.
 
You have to take the later comments as well.

These were positive from the people affected.
 
Zaman Khan? Lib Dem candidate for Moseley isn't he?
 
Indeed Zaman was candidate. And the day after said in the Evening Mail:

Zaman Khan, aged 36, has run Frontiers Stores grocers for 10 years in Ladypool Road. "My shop only suffered minor damage in the tornado, but now customers aren't coming.

"The council have been really helpful fixing up the Tornado Information Bureau but we need customers to come back. This area needs money for redevelopment."

The bureau itself is run from portable buildings by the side of Ladypool Road, from where council staff are directing the clean-up, disposing of hazardous asbestos ripped off roofs and offering advice on possible business rates relief.

Despite the damage, traders are determined to return the street to its vibrant best.

Boarding up the damaged front of Ladypool Wine Cellar, Malkat Singh, aged 60, said: "It will take a long time to recover, but we will."
 
I wrote "There were major criticisms on the same lines about Birmingham City Council's failure..."


John wrote "Not from the people affected."

I listed quotes from people affected who were clearly unhappy about the City Council's response. You cannot deny that, nor cover it up with some gibberish about "later comments." I'm sure in time Dubya will find someone to say how well he has done, but that won't mask the anger of earlier comments.

And is that right? Are the Zaman Khan who said he was sick of the policy of "tax, talk and no action" from the local authority by any chance related to the Lib Dem candidate for Moseley... where J. Hemming lives. I think we should be told!
 
The arguments have been about who pays for what and "people not being told".

These are not the same in any way as the issues in New Orleans.

The substantial issues: security, caring for those made homeless, safety were handled quickly.
 
Nice bit of subject changing. Now we know why you're an MP.
For Bobs benefit, it is the same Zaman Khan. I've seen the photo on the leaflet and the gentleman on Central News. Unless, of course, he has a twin brother with the same name.
 
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