Flood crisis needs a police or fire officer to take charge

IT WAS tragic this week to watch news of the floods in the south of England and see the destruction of people's lives, homes and possessions.

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The Short Track Speed Skating Ladies' 500m Final provided what I wanted...competitors falling
The Short Track Speed Skating Ladies' 500m Final provided what I wanted...competitors falling

The UK Government looked hopelessly out of touch and their "treacle like" response was sadly familiar.

It reminded me of the heavy snow that Scotland experienced in winter 2010.

I recall sitting on the motorway for eight hours waiting to get home, listening to the then Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, telling us that all was well and that the response from his department had been "first class".

In events such as these, the Government convenes meetings.

These meetings, involving all relevant parties in the crisis, are a complete waste of time.

They allow politicians and civil servants to say they are doing all that they can, but they achieve nothing.

Civil servants do not understand the first thing about tasking and coordinating resources in an emergency.

With the best will in the world, they have no experience of command and control and their efforts to manage these events always end disastrously.

In my opinion, and based upon my experience of many major events, they should put a uniformed fire officer or police officer in charge, that way they might avoid turning a manageable crisis, into a disaster.

THIS week has seen a ramping up of the referendum debate and an attack on the SNP's proposal to keep the pound.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, inset, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, all united to reject a sterling zone, post independence.

In turn, the SNP have accused the Westminster politicians of "ganging up" on them.

In fairness to the SNP, the outcry does look more than a little rehearsed, and personally I think hugely exaggerated by the other parties, yet it will strike a chord with many.

The SNP's Treasury spokesman in Westminster, Stewart Hosie, got it horribly wrong when he claimed that if an Independent Scotland was refused entry to a sterling zone, it would renege on its share of UK debt.

Big mistake.

A new country not paying its way is a bad start, and I think not.

Mr Hosie said: "This is pure politics and George Osborne has got it wrong".

We can only therefore deduce that the decision to hold a referendum is "impure politics."

Notwithstanding its purity, this issue is one the SNP wish would just go away.

People in Scotland are very wedded to the pound and would vote against independence if only to keep it.

The SNP look a little stuttering and hesitant on this issue and badly need a Plan B.

If it is true that "He who controls the currency, controls the country," then this issue may yet prove to be the Achilles heel of the Yes campaign.

AT A cost of some £30billion, the current Winter Olympics must rank as one of the world's most expensive follies.

The Russian city of Sochi is being paraded as the next big, must see, destination.

Where else could we witness an event, where all the cold countries get together, in winter, to find new ways of playing in snow and ice?

Sadly, all the African and South American countries couldn't make it. I tried watching, but quickly reached for the remote control. It's boring and pointless.

These are hobbies, not sports. The crowd are made up of families and friends, and cross-country skiing while shooting a gun should be illegal.

We will doubtless do well in that most Scottish of sports, curling.

All the people who do curling in Scotland are in Sochi, so we really don't need to watch.

I also should confess to harbouring the secret hope, that in many of the hobbies on display, I watch with fingers crossed that someone might fall.

I even switched off the bobsleigh when I realised that Jamaica weren't competing.

So let's all get enthused by the " things you can do in the snow" Olympics and try to be happy, but definitely not gay, in Sochi.

Local government

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