A lasting effect on government

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The events of the last few weeks may prove to have had a lasting effect on the main parties fortunes long after the flood waters subside.

The sodden tragedy of the south west proved a slow wake up call to government.

But when areas like the Thames Valley flooded, affecting the travel to work area of many civil servants and the media, the government’s response became more urgent.

The response of local people has been remarkable. But the Big Society – communities doing things for themselves – seemed exhausted by the sheer scale and duration of the challenge.

Then came the demand that the state deploy it’s resources. The police, fire service, council workers, environment agency staff and armed forces were called to help.

The coalition cry for cuts and for a smaller state, at least for now, were drowned by the demands of communities. Who would have thought in these austere times we would have heard the prime minister say money is no object?

Inside Parliament the Children and Families Bill paved the way for a ban on smoking in cars with children.

In my constituency the local state – the council – took a further step in regeneration by buying a number of abandoned seafront properties – the market had clearly failed to deliver.

I recognise the need to limit the state in people’s lives. I accept the need to save money. But this week showed the state has a role to play – but it has to be more responsive to people’s needs.