It has been raining for quite a while now, and Albion isn’t just misty but submerged.
This causes every manner of acute discomfort and sheer annoyance. And of course it’s in our nature to look for culprits whenever there’s something we don’t like.
In this instance we turn to environmental scientists for an explanation. When it turns out they’re stuck for one – or else come up with conflicting stories – we can’t help blaming them for the floods, which, one is sad to admit, isn’t a charge that would stick in court.
David Silvester, UKIP councilman at Henley-on-Thames, came up with his own explanation last week. Writing to the local paper, he opined that we were being “beset by storms” because the Prime Minister had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel” and “more than half of his parliamentary party” by passing same-sex marriage laws.
Since this view is insufficiently supported by environmental science, Mr Silvester has been suspended by his party. Other parties, especially the Tories whose seats are directly threatened by UKIP, see the event as a political opportunity, and why should they not?
Everything these days is a political opportunity: low economic growth, high economic growth, too much rain, too little rain, Mrs Poindexter dropping her cup in a chintzy tearoom, the waitress being rude to Mrs Poindexter – you name it.
Acting in that spirit, Michael Fallon, the Conservative Business Minister, said the Silvester affair showed that “there clearly are one or two fruitcakes still around there”.
Fair enough. We’re now agreed that a) anyone is a fruitcake who ascribes the floods to a cause that’s not scientifically proven and b) if they happen to be politicians, such fruitcakes ought to be suspended by their parties.
Since our legal thinking is defined by the concept of precedent, one such has been established. All perfectly English, that, first prize in the lottery of life.
Now if suspension is the sauce and Mr Silvester is the goose, then clearly Dave Cameron must be the gander. For he too explained the floods in a way that contravened environmental science.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath, Dave declared that he “very much” suspected that the floods had been caused by anthropogenic climate change.
Yet the Met Office said there was no evidence that the winter floods had been caused by man-made global warming, and even Dave’s own Environment Secretary Owen Paterson refused to endorse his views.
Now I have every respect for man-made global warming because it’s the first discovery in the history of science made not by scientists but by a political organisation, in this instance the UN.
The groundbreaking implication is that science is too important to be left to scientists. Enter UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, speaking out of the burning bush and dispelling every doubt on the meaning of life.
Lest some residual doubts remain, the august Panel brib… sorry, I mean engaged, a few environmental scientists to add gravitas to its rather eccentric declarations. There’s nothing like a grant or two to make scientists see the truth, but in this case even they demurred.
Climate-change scientists, including those brib…, I mean engaged, by the Panel, stated as unequivocally as scientists ever state anything that: “The linkages between enhanced greenhouse forcing and flood phenomena are highly complex and it has not been possible to describe the connections well, either by empirical analysis or by the use of models.”
Allow me to translate from the scientific into English: Dave was talking… what’s the polite word?… oh yes, unscientific nonsense. The words ‘goose’ and ‘gander’ spring to mind yet again. Dave must be immediately suspended by his party for being an unreconstructed and incurable fruitcake.
Actually, I don’t think he should be suspended – much as I would toss my hat up in the air and cheer if that were to happen. Neither do I think Mr Silvester should have been punished.
Both men expressed views wholly consistent with the intellectual, spiritual and moral systems within which they operate. If we accept each man’s system, we may still disagree with his conclusions, but we can’t regard them as implausible enough to warrant an accusation of emotional instability.
As a Christian, Mr Silvester accepts the veracity of scriptural sources, in this instance what he erroneously refers to as ‘the Gospel’. As I recall, none of the Gospels contains an injunction against homosexuality – these come across in the Old Testament and the Epistles. But this is a minor, pedantic quibble: homosexuality is explicitly proscribed in Scripture.
Moreover, both Testaments leave believers in no doubt that going against God’s will may incur punishment. The good denizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example, got punished for exactly the kind of carnal lassitude to which Mr Silvester objects.
Operating within his system of thought, he predicted back in 2012 that God would punish us for passing the homomarriage law. Now he feels justified, which is a sign of intellectual consistency, not madness.
The only way to declare Mr Silvester’s views to be beyond the pale is to disavow the whole philosophical system within which the belief is possible, that we can indeed be punished for defying God. In other words, we can think Mr Silvester’s view is mad only if we think Christianity is.
Now the provenance of our Dave’s take on the matter can also be found within his system of thought. This is wholly described by powerlust and eagerness to do or say anything that would appeal to enough potential voters for Dave to gain or hang on to power.
Since his focus groups doubtless show that more voters believe in anthropogenic global warming than in God, Dave knows what his heartfelt convictions must be. Hence he is being as consistent in his own way as Mr Silvester is in his.
They simply worship different Gods: David Silvester, our Trinitarian Lord; David Cameron, the God of Global Warming. Since we must on pain of punishment believe in religious fairness, suspend neither man – or both.
Only one question remains: I have a fairly reliable idea of how Mr Silvester prays to his God. But how does Mr Cameron pray to his?