Corbyn shows solidarity with flood-hit areas while Johnson is nowhere to be seen

Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson
Support us and go ad-free

Jeremy Corbyn has been on the ground showing solidarity with communities recently affected by flooding. Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has faced criticism for not visiting these areas.

Corbyn also said Johnson was showing his “true colours” by not convening the government’s emergency committee COBRA.

There’s no election on, so Johnson’s nowhere to be seen

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi argued that Johnson’s absence was because he was trying to avoid “a jamboree of media” and “keep his ministers focused on delivery”. But as Sky News reported:

This is in contrast to last year’s general election campaign, during which the prime minister visited flood-affected areas and held COBRA meetings in response to severe flooding in Yorkshire and the East Midlands in November.

Corbyn picked up on this apparent hypocrisy too, tweeting:

Others also noticed this:

Johnson has reportedly spent “much of the week” at a “115-room lakeside mansion in the Kent countryside” instead of visiting flood-hit areas. And environment secretary George Eustice accused Corbyn of “trying to politicise the floods”.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) also slammed Johnson’s response, however, highlighting government cuts in England in recent years which include “a £3.2m cut to the services covering areas with severe “risk to life” flood warnings”. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said:

This Prime Minister has shown absolutely zero leadership as flooding devastates our communities. …

our ability to tackle its consequences has been utterly undermined by a lack of long-term planning from this shambles of a government.

The Tories have slashed fire and rescue funding, bungled flood defences, and refused to recognise in law the role of firefighters and control staff in responding to these emergencies.

Tory government “fails to grasp the scale of this crisis”

Corbyn, meanwhile, visited South Wales on 20 February, meeting residents and volunteers in communities affected by Storm Dennis:

Ahead of the visit, Corbyn said areas most vulnerable to flooding had been “badly let down time and time again”. He also called the government’s response to recent flooding “wholly inadequate” and accused ministers of failing to grasp the scale of the climate crisis, stressing:

In refusing to visit flood-hit communities, nowhere-to-be-seen Boris Johnson is showing his true colours by his absence…

Failing to convene Cobra to support flood-hit communities sends a very clear message: if the Prime Minister is not campaigning for votes in a general election he simply does not care about helping communities affected by flooding, especially communities that have repeatedly been flooded in recent years.

I want to thank our emergency services, the Welsh Labour government, local authorities and volunteers who have come together and worked around the clock to protect homes and businesses from flooding.

As the climate crisis deepens, extreme weather conditions will become more frequent and severe.

The Government’s response has been wholly inadequate and fails to grasp the scale of this crisis.

Flooding in Nantgarw, Wales
Flooding in Nantgarw, Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Everyday solidarity

While Johnson has faced accusations of only turning up on the ground when he wants something (i.e. to win an election), Corbyn has recently been showing that solidarity is simply part of who he is.

In the last few weeks, for example, he has backed striking workers:

He has also supported communities helping homeless people:

And he has stood alongside minority communities against rising racism:

Voters deserve to have politicians who support us day in and day out – not just when they need our votes. Corbyn has been a shining light on that front.

Featured image via Sophie Brown and BBC News, with additional content via Press Association

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us