ENVIRONMENTALISTS tell us that global warming is responsible for climate changes which, over the next few decades, will trigger cataclysmic swings in our weather. The consequences could be very serious for every species on Planet Earth, including, and most notably, the human race. To paraphrase Private Fraser from Dad’s Army, “We’re doomed. We’re all doomed”.

I don’t want to sound even more negative than usual, but you would have to be either seriously daft, or too involved with “The X Factor”, “Strictly Come Dancing”, “I’m a Celebrity” and the numerous soaps, all utterly inconsequential offerings, not to have been shaken to the core by newsreel pictures of stricken towns Cockermouth and Workington, and the utter devastation which struck Cumbria during the heaviest rainfall for 1,000 years.

If I can address people who think along lines much more serious than the happenings in televised pap, you are either in the “global warming is going to do for us all” camp, or the alternative, which scoffs at the warnings of environmentalists, dismisses dire predictions as scaremongering, and the events in Cumbria as an act of God. Well, for the latter theory to hold water (no pun intended), one can only assume that God must have been seriously ticked off at the inhabitants of that county to punish them so severely.

Some commentators and headline writers described the deluge as “biblical”, no doubt a reference to the downpour which led Noah to work overtime on his boat building. Could it be that we are heading down the same route? Well the speed with which the water rose before it poured into the affected parts of Cumbria, bringing down bridges, killing a policeman, flooding streets to a depth of 10 feet, leaving huge numbers of people homeless and businesses ruined, sent out a significant message. In the battle against Mother Nature, we are always going to finish a very poor second.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn was brutally honest in his assessment, saying the equivalent of two months’ rain in a single day would have overwhelmed whatever defences his agency had implemented. Referring to the ones installed after the floods of 2005, he said: “They were built to withstand a one-in-a-hundred years flood. This was more like one in a thousand. Even the very best defences can be over-topped if such a quantity of rain falls in so short a space of time”. In other words, “We’re all doomed”.

I was particularly upset by the destruction of great swathes of Cumbria, as I have always intended to spend whatever time I have left in the Lake District when the National Lottery and/or the football pools come good on their promise to reward my involvement with a large cheque. I adore that part of England and have long had designs on sloping off up the M6 to wait for Godot in a picturesque little town or hamlet, with a pub and betting shop within walking distance, even for someone with dodgy knees. Now it looks as if I’ll have to have a dinghy and oars handy, too, when I take up residence.