Interviewer: The Minister for Housing and Planning joins us today to discuss the Prime Minister’s claim earlier this week that there are more people living at or above sea level now than ever before in recent memory. Minister, would you like to expand on that for us?
Minister: Yes, well, it’s quite clear when you look at the numbers, the fact is the number of people living above the drowning line is the highest it has been in eleven years, and we have the Prime Minister’s strong, decisive leadership on drowning-mitigation schemes to thank for it.
Interviewer: But, Minister, is it not also true that an increasing number of those above sea level remain there by dint of insecure flotation devices like dinghies and makeshift rafts cobbled together with plywood and gaffer tape?
Minister: Now, this really is the problem as I see it, people have somehow got it into their heads that they are entitled to live on dry land or in some kind of solid, permanent structure, as if it’s some sort of birthright. I’m afraid that way of thinking is simply unrealistic and betrays the kind of self-centred, entitled kind of society we risk becoming. Why are we lamenting these people floating on what used to be their front-doors in the North Sea taking their dryness into their own hands? We should be applauding these hard-working British families! That self-starting, go-getting, can-do, Blitz-spirit attitude and ingenuity is exactly what made this country great, and it’s what we need more of now. What we don’t want is people getting too comfortable just being put up in old oil rigs at the taxpayer’s expense.
Interviewer: And what do you say to those who claim that the government’s lack of action to provide adequate support and housing for those displaced by rising sea levels belies a fundamental lack of concern for Britain’s seaborne? Do you think a cabinet made up entirely of those based on dry land can truly have the interests of those at risk of drowning at heart?
Minister: I entirely disagree, the quality of life of those just-about-staying-afloat is of utmost concern to the cabinet – some of my own constituents in what was formally Kent are seaborne. Their welfare is a high priority to all of us, and to suggest otherwise simply because many of us own land that has greatly increased in value due to relative scarcity is simply cynical and unfair.
Interviewer: Well, Minister, thank you for your time. Join us later when we discuss the Chancellor’s budget, proposing cuts to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and the privatisation of 80% of the British coastline…