A regional daily editor has blasted politicians for using the flooding in the West Country for photo opportunities and to “inflate their own egos”.
Tim Dixon, , left, editor of the Western Daily Press, said the region seemed to have become a magnet for politicians, who have visited the flooding on the Somerset Levels in their droves.
He said there had been “plenty of hand-wringing” by those who had visited the area but “precious little in the way of concrete promises of genuine action” from them.
Tim added that many of the visitors seemed to be “boosting their profiles in advance of the General Election” and flood victims did not want to be used to illustrate party manifestos or in promotional films.
In his comment piece, he wrote that for weeks, people in the region had complained that those in power had stayed away but now it had gone to the other extreme.
Tim wrote: “One of the latest to visit was Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. His aides said on Sunday that it would be a ‘private visit’, before detailing the times and places for the inevitable photo opportunity. We think we see a pattern emerging here.
“Are the visitors – especially the political ones – coming with anything concrete and useful to say, or are they busy boosting their profiles in advance of the General Election?
“Neglect is bad. But using victims of the floods and the storms as a useful backdrop to what will, we suspect, become campaign pictures to be used to illustrate party manifestos in the months to come, is most definitely worse.
“The farmers of the Somerset Levels, watching their fields, their barns and their homes fill up with fetid water, do not want parts as extras in any kind of promotional electioneering film designed to show how ‘caring’ Mr Clegg or Mr Cameron might be. They want action.
“When Owen Paterson led the political charge to the Somerset Levels last month we warned that the first rule of visiting a disaster zone was to come with some good news for those affected.
“So far we have had plenty of hand-wringing from all concerned but precious little in the way of concrete promises of genuine action from anyone. All politicians are, of course, welcome in our region, but not to inflate their own egos.”