LAST weekend our taps started spluttering on Saturday night and on Sunday morning we woke up with no water.When you have no water you suddenly feel like you are living in the Third World. You can’t wash, flush the toilet, clean the dog or fill a kettle. Getty - Contributor Swathes of the...
LAST weekend our taps started spluttering on Saturday night and on Sunday morning we woke up with no water.
When you have no water you suddenly feel like you are living in the Third World. You can’t wash, flush the toilet, clean the dog or fill a kettle.
There were many more like us — 25,000 homes in London and the South-East, some without water for days, while Wales, the Midlands, Scotland and the South West also ran dry.
In a country that doles out more than £13billion a year in foreign aid, people were asked to form an orderly queue for bottled water.
Not enough to flush the toilet, but enough to stop them dying of dehydration. This should not be happening in a developed country.
And don’t let anyone fob you off with the fib that this was the unavoidable result of extreme weather conditions.
The privatised water companies whined that thousands of burst pipes were caused by the big thaw.
But why were so many pipes so pathetically ready to disintegrate?
Because the water firms cocked it up big time. Their infrastructure sucks.
These foreign-owned monopolies have cared far too much about chucking cash at their shareholders (the nine largest water companies paid out £18.1billion in dividends between 2007 and 2016) and their fat-cat executives.
But nowhere near enough in providing water pipes that are fit for purpose.
The lack of water in thousands of homes was the systemic failure of the industry — a closed-shop racket run by money-grabbing, tax-dodging firms that do not give a flying fig about some young mum in South London with five kids and no way of keeping them clean.
The water firms have failed the people of this country.
They can’t be allowed to fail so spectacularly again.
My family were among the lucky ones. I found a café where the toilet was still working.
The dog was a bit grubbier than usual. My wife dabbed her lovely face with mineral water.
I skipped shaving for a few days.
But there were home-bound elderly folk who had no way of getting to one of those eerily Third World water collection points.
There were mothers with babies and no way of wiping their poo-stained bottoms. There were households without water for days.
It was a wretched experience for countless thousands.
I felt sorry for the exhausted Thames Water engineers I saw trying to get the water back on.
None of this was their fault. Blame their bosses. Blame the tax dodging, money grabbing, laughably incompetent water firms.
And blame industry regulator Ofwat, which said the water firms have “fallen well short”, but did no regulating themselves to actually avert this crisis.
The water firms have no competition. Why not? Beyond embarrassing headlines, they have no incentive to improve their infrastructure if it means reducing the huge pay-outs to their shareholders and the absurdly bloated salaries of their useless fat-cat executives, such as the £960,000-a-year trousered by the chief of Thames Water.
The water racket is all sewn up and they can charge you whatever they like for their lousy service. But nothing is more of an essential service than the provision of clean water.
IN A HOLE
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Use Brexit billions to make like Donald Trump and slash tax, Phil
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MUM’S MISSING CHEF PLEA
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It should not be treated like a cash cow by foreign-owned, corporation tax-dodging water firms that don’t give a damn if you can flush your toilet, bathe your child and take a shower — or not.
Grovelling apologies and a free bottle of water are not enough.
We are told that nationalising the water firms does not make financial sense. But letting them treat us like mugs is surely madness.
EVERY time Donald Tusk, Michel Barnier or Jean-Claude Juncker open their great sneering cakeholes, it seems horribly obvious that the EU has zero interest in a mutually beneficial trade deal.
These ideologues wish to humiliate and punish the UK.
Economic damage to EU citizens does not trouble them. They are zealots.
How can the UK negotiate with men who wish this country nothing but harm?
HARRY UP AND CALL A BOYCOTT
WE learn that Prince William and Prince Harry will not be attending the World Cup in Russia.
Ooh, I bet that has them quaking in their furry boots in the Kremlin.
“Comrades, Prince Harry will not be coming to the World Cup – better cease all chemical warfare assassinations on foreign soil immediately.”
It is far from certain that the nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia was sanctioned by Vladimir Putin.
Skripal sounds like a man who has accumulated plenty of enemies over the years.
Perhaps the attack on him came from some rogue element high enough to have access to a chemical weapon.
But what matters most is that British Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey is recovering after a chemical weapon was used on British soil.
And that is an act of terrorism.
If this attack originated in Russia, then we should not go to the World Cup.
The Russians will not notice if Harry doesn’t turn up. But they will definitely notice if Harry Kane, above, is not there.
Russia can stick their World Cup right up their babushka.
IT is a bit rich for Labour to bleat about the Saudi Arabian abuse of human rights when Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has a plaque commemorating the IRA on his office wall.
What happened to the human rights of the men, women and children crippled and killed and scarred by your chums in the IRA, John?
Why didn’t THEIR human rights matter, you nauseating old hypocrite?
MELANIE IS GREAT UP FRONT
MELANIE SYKES is the voice behind the revamped Blind Date.
And that is all very well but the producers are missing a trick by not having Mel in front of the cameras alongside the great Paul O’Grady
Every one of the men who appears on Blind Date, and perhaps quite a few of the women, will be dreaming of finding a long, meaningful relationship – or even wild, meaningless sex – with someone who looks half as good as Melanie Sykes.
God did not make Melanie Sykes to do voiceovers.
WHEN David Beckham sits next to a great beauty, the photographers can’t get enough.
Becks, 42, sat next to Bella Hadid, 21, when Paris Saint-Germain played Real Madrid and the photos went around the world, invariably accompanied by a smaller picture of Victoria Beckham with a face like a slapped bottom.
Maybe the best way to keep the photographers at bay is to sit with Gary Neville on one side and Phil Neville on the other.
NOEL GALLAGHER picked on the wrong city when he called Hull a “s***hole”.
Hull was home to poet Philip Larkin, musicians Mick Ronson and The Housemartins, actress Maureen Lipman and entrepreneur and presenter Michelle Dewberry.
I understand Noel’s frustration when confronted with chanting yobs who happen to hail from Hull.
But we would all be better off if we realised that nowhere is a “s***hole” if you call it home.
MUCH mockery for David Cameron, who is reported to be advising Theresa May on Brexit. But there is an historic role for Cameron if he has the guts to accept it.
He was the Prime Minister who swore to us that the decision of the people in the EU referendum was final.
Cameron should find the moral courage to say publicly that he actually meant it.
WINSTON CHURCHILL is routinely derided as an imperialist, colonialist and racist by the ignorant snowflakes who spend all day long on Twitter.
But now that Gary Oldman has won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Churchill in Darkest Hour, the voice of reason is finally starting to be heard on the social media platform.
“If you think Winston Churchill is a racist,” one wag informed the Twitter snowflakes, “then wait until you hear about the bloke he beat.”
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