Arthur Koestler wrote a book once about uncanny coincidences. Late last night we were witness to an extraordinary conjunction of events: three right-wing newspapers, the Mail, the Telegraph and the Express, all decided, within a couple of hours of each other, to link the lack of flood prevention to the foreign aid budget. This argument is so strange that it seems difficult to account for it by rational explanation. The floods have been going on for some time, so the synchronicity is even more unsettling. One might almost think they’d got together to decide to do it.
I’m not at all sure that the papers are in tune with their readers. Some of us might imagine that the distressing and sometimes horrific experience of flooding might make us more sympathetic to the plight of vulnerable people abroad, who suffer floods in even worse state. The papers got it wrong about the plight of refugees in the Mediterranean; they may well be wrong about this, too.