Andrew Allison

Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Does anyone have any sandbags?

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2007 at 6:59 pm

…because I don’t. Most of you would be amazed to hear how difficult it can be to get hold of them. When the water was rising on Monday I telephoned Hull City Council and they said they would send me some, however if I started flooding, I should contact the emergency services. I did start to flood as you know and there was no sign of any sandbags, and when I contacted the emergency services I got the reply I expected. ‘Is there any risk to life?’ Well, there wasn’t and therefore there was nothing they could do.

Yesterday, after the Met Office issued an advanced severe weather warning (and still waiting for the sandbags to arrive from Monday) I contacted Hull City Council again and asked where the collection point was for sandbags. I was told I didn’t need to collect them as they were delivering them and as I live in a high-risk area, they would be delivered to me as a matter of priority, probably that very afternoon. When they did not arrive I thought they would be delivered today. Surprise, surprise; no sandbags. Another call to the council half an hour ago told me I would not be receiving them as the priority was to hospitals, care homes, etc. I then asked the question, ‘Why have I been promised them twice and why have they not been delivered? I received the reply, ‘You shouldn’t have been promised them on a certain date and the rules for who is the priority has changed today.’

This is the state of affairs in Hull. Over ten thousand homes have suffered flood damage in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Most of this damage could have been avoided if Hull City Council had made sure the gullies were cleaned and the drains were properly dredged. Carl Minns, the Liberal Democrat leader of Hull City Council, has promised a full review and can be seen in the local press posing for the camera filling up sandbags, but as he doesn’t even live in the Kingswood ward he represents, doesn’t hold any ward surgeries, and hasn’t any reason to visit his ward, contacting him for any help will be fruitless.

My house at the moment smells like a health hazard. I was there a few hours ago and within two minutes I had a headache. I am still waiting for an insurance assessor to contact me and I do not expect anything soon. There are simply too many claims I am told. There is also another twist to this story. None of my neighbours or myself were told by the builders we were buying houses on a flood plain and built on marsh land. Basically we have been sold down the river by developers making a quick buck and by a council who risks peoples’ homes to save £120,000 a year by not cleaning the gullies and drains. Questions are being asked and will continue to be asked. I am considering legal action against the builder of my house and against Hull City Council and will be taking legal advice over the weekend. I will keep you up-to-date.

Why Hull flooded

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2007 at 4:28 pm

This is the lead story on the front page of the Hull Daily Mail. If this story is true it is shameful that the people of this area are suffering misery, inconvenience and distress so Hull City Council can save a measly £120,000.

The gross mismanagement of Hull City Council continues whether it is Labour or the Liberal Democrats in power. Neither party can get to grips with the city’s problems, although in fairness to the Lib Dems, Labour’s gross mismanagement for so many years has made their task much more difficult. My local councillor Carl Minns, who is the Lib Dem leader, has promised a full review. This is too little, too late. Saving £120,000 seems so silly compared with the estimated clean-up bill of £50 million

The Floods in Hull

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Many of you will have heard about the floods that have besieged Hull and surrounding areas during the past couple of days. Unfortunately I have fallen victim to the floodwater. Yesterday afternoon at around 4.00pm the water came through the floorboards and soaked the downstairs carpets and flooded the kitchen floor. Becky and her son were held hostage with me, as getting out of Kingswood was an impossibility. We simply had to retreat to the upstairs and hibernate up there.

This morning there was the usual smell you associate from this sort of this thing. I also have drainage problems and can’t have a bath or flush one of my toilets without the risk of it overflowing. Thankfully I will not have to live there until things are sorted out, as Becky’s mum had kindly allowed me to stay with them.

So watch this space and I will keep you up-to-date with all the latest developments as they occur. I do feel lucky however. There are many people whose homes have been flooded with two to three feet of water and they will find it difficult to find another place to stay if their insurance companies will not oblige them with a hotel room. Out of adversity, everyone is pulling together and that ‘wartime spirit’ is very evident and visible.

Gute Nacht Mr Blair

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2007 at 10:08 pm

So the end of the of the Tony Blair era is nigh. Can we expect anything different from Gordon Brown? Not really. He will put a different spin on things but it will be business as usual, although it will be business slightly further to the left. What Brown cannot do is distance himself from the Blair years too much. He has been the most senior member of the government – apart from Mr Blair – for just over over ten years and he agreed in cabinet to the decisions Blair made. I’m looking forward to a Brown administration. It will be good news for the Conservative Party.

My life has changed – for the better

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2007 at 10:26 am

I have always tried to avoid personal issues on my blog. I started out blogging on politics and current affairs, as this is of huge interest to me. I know it is not every one’s ‘cup of tea’, however considering the amount of people checking out what I have to say, it must interest many people.

In the last few weeks though my life and priorities have changed, and for this reason I don’t think I will be blogging as much as I have in the past. I will continue, as I enjoy it, and I have always enjoyed writing. Playing the piano and the organ and writing have always allowed me to explore my creative side and they have opened up so many doors over the years, I don’t know what my life would be like without them.

For the past few months I have been teaching Becky to drive. We hit it off right from the start and our lessons have always been enjoyable. There is nothing worse from a driving instructor’s point of view than having a pupil who says nothing for an hour. When lessons are like that, they seem more like two hours. Just after the elections I asked Becky out on a date – I know that sounds old-fashioned – and the rest, as they say, is history. I know I have found my soul-mate and I have never felt like this before. A friend said to me a couple of days ago that you have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince. Well, I have certainly found my princess and I couldn’t be any happier if I tried. Today I am clearing out junk from my house and trying to make the place acceptable for human habitation. This is the first weekend her eight-year-old son in staying. I get on well with him and enjoy doing things with him and he is really looking forward to spending time here.

So, as you can see, I have my hands full in the nicest and best possible way. I have a certain spring in my step and an optimism I haven’t had in a very long time. I will keep you all updated and will also blog on the weighty issues of the day, although I think the blog will be changing to cover some personal things too. Thank you all for allowing me this indulgence.

Sana Ali – Reflections

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2007 at 8:33 am

The tragic story of Sana Ali has touched a nerve around the country and certainly here on my blog. There have only been two comments I have deleted; the most recent this morning, as they were – in my opinion – abusing the right of free speech and starting to incite racial hatred. I swear like most people. If I drop something heavy in my foot, somehow ‘oh dear me’ does not get rid of the frustration, however some of the language was so abusive, I did not want to be associated with it.

The most recent comment I published was from a close family member of Sana; I think a parent, and that has touched me. The one thing a parent should never have to do is bury a child, and it has to be the hardest thing imaginable. My heart goes out to Sana’s family and especially her parents and I wish them peace in the future as they come to terms with the loss of a daughter.