Always check the small print. When the Environment Agency described the 2005 floods as “the worst in a lifetime”, the government would have done well to make sure just whose lifetime it was referring to: a human or a ferret. These things, like ferrets when they are alive, come back to bite you.
It was sod’s law that on the very day the prime minister had summoned the media to a school in Burton upon Trent to boast about how well his government was delivering on its responsibilities, he was forced into a reverse-ferret over flood defences. “We set out in the autumn statement a historic six-year funding deal with record sums going into flood defences,” he said gamely, as if the mere fact that he had planned to spend all this money should have been enough to stop the flood waters rising.Yet again, Cameron fails to understand the difference between an announcement and an achievement.