I see you out and about in Ironbridge, walking the soggy line, tutting and pointing at all the awful mess. It’s an absolute nuisance, all this flooding, isn’t it? So much so that after two weeks they’ve finally sent someone to tut and point at all of it. Everyone knows that prying a government minister away from Johnson’s newly-dictated anonymity means it’s got to be serious. He’s been very clear he wants you to lead on all this, hasn’t he? He told you so in his bravest voice from behind Carrie Symond’s wine-stained sofa.

You’re here now, shaking hands and inviting a sea of whispering voices wondering who you even are. It’s only been a few weeks for this government and we’re already more likely to catch a sighting of the Beast of Bodmin than a minister out in public. Boris and Cummings have got everybody locked down tighter than a gnat’s chuff, the cabinet now forming a set of Schrödinger’s twats that threaten to cease to exist altogether should they ever be exposed to proper scrutiny. Priti Patel seems to be the only one allowed above the parapet, absorbing all the incoming fire for the backlash against her own intractability with her complete indifference to criticism. After Rutnam’s public 180 on the bullying allegations she now has another huge storm of controversy to weather. I’m starting to think racism and misogyny might not be the only reasons people dislike her.

You’ve not got the easy job, George Eustice, so I’m willing to bet you’re welcoming the distraction. Everyone else gets to puff up their chest and carry on with the pantomime of Brexit hardball, threatening to walk away from the piss easy oven-ready deal they lied through their teeth about and trying their best to look dead hard and impressive. Apart from Rishi Sunak of course, who hasn’t seemed to realise yet that he’s not the literal tea boy any more. You’ve got an actual job to do, a genuine crisis with the most terrifying underlying causes of all – ones the government can’t stamp their feet about before blaming them on Michel Barnier or some hapless civil servant. The flooding crisis is messy and complicated, with sympathetic victims and no easy answers. If it was up to Boris you’d blame it all on Remainers pissing in the woods but he’s not here, is he? He’s a backseat driver and it just so happens the car is a stretched limousine. Nobody in the front can actually see or hear him, with the driver relying on Dominic Cummings in the passenger seat to pass on his Chinese whispers.

There is no magical fix-all solution to the currently apocalyptic conditions breaching so many flood defences, the misery for those affected compounded year on year by weather that keeps getting worse. What’s telling is that when faced with a crisis with no cheap or easy solutions, rather than offering any succour or even showing his face, the Prime Minister instead chooses to ignore it entirely. We all saw that footage of him pushing a mop around like he’d never seen one before in his life – he looked more confused than a Labrador contemplating string theory. His team know he’d be an utter liability when faced with a community like Ironbridge. Better then to keep him locked away in carbonite, only wheeling him out when necessary. Like when Ursula von der Leyen says something he needs to shake a fist at, or there’s a massive controversy that suddenly justifies declaring his engagement, despite the fact that his private life was none of our business when we were choosing whether or not to elect him.

So we get you instead, don’t we, George Eustice? A man with a crap voting record on climate action, left to wander around like a lost dog now he’s the bloke in charge of officially fixing the mess his own brand of inaction causes. You’re so instantly forgettable that you couldn’t cause genuine controversy if you tried, a man whose idea of demonstrating passion is a bunch of limp flowers and a Twix from a motorway services. You’re here to play along and keep shtum, your only job to nod sympathetically and avoid talking about the chlorinated chicken coming our way soon. George Useless, they’ll call you, same as always, as you mutter your way through platitudes about a robust response.

What a perfect metaphor you find yourself wading through, George Eustice, knee-deep in muddied water that rises with every second. In a few years when everything has been washed away and we’re left in a cold, lonely house that stinks of rot, we’ll be able to point at the tide mark on the walls and remind ourselves that this was the level we all voted for.

Better plant some trees on those sunlit uplands to hold some of it back, George Eustice, or the wave of shit will take you with it when it finally hits.

I see you, George Eustice. I fucking see you.

I See You

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