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Floods return to West Country as Ukip embroiled in gay marriage storm

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 20, 2014

  • A lone cow stand forlornly on the edge of floods near Langport, Somerset; floods between Street and Glastonbury, as viewed from the top of the Tor; Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, surrounded by flood water; riders on a road on the submerged Somerset Levels

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The West was on "biblical" flood alert yet again last night after heavy weekend rain poured into already-swollen rivers.

The floods and storms which have ravaged the region since before Christmas were bizarrely blamed on the Prime Minister – for provoking the wrath of God by allowing gay marriage – by a Ukip councillor, who was promptly suspended from his party for making the strange claim.

Ukip councillor David Silvester said he had warned David Cameron that Britain would be beset by natural disasters like storms, disease and pestilence back in April 2012 after the same-sex marriage bill was brought to parliament.

In a recent letter to the Henley Standard the local paper in his home town of Henley-on-Thames, which has been badly hit by the floods, Mr Silvester said his prophecy had come to pass as Mr Cameron had acted "arrogantly against the Gospel".

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He wrote: "The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."

Yesterday Mr Silvester was suspended from the party by its leadership, as Nigel Farage said in an interview with the Sun on Sunday, that he wanted a "clear out" of "extremist, nasty or barmy" Ukip members of polls in May.

Ukip's south east chairman Roger Bird said: "We cannot have any individual using the Ukip banner to promote their controversial personal beliefs which are not shared by the party.

"Everyone is entitled to their own religious ideology which is central to a free and fair society. Councillor Silvester's views are his own and in no way reflect the party's position."

Away from Ukip, there appeared to be no end to God's apparent wrath for the flood-hit communities in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset over the weekend, with up to an inch of rain falling in some parts of the region.

The main route from London to the South West, the A303, was blocked again by rising waters near its junction with the A36 at Deptford on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, with Highways Agency officials estimating that even with no more rain it would still be affected by flooding until at least noon tomorrow.

And flooding is still affecting huge areas of the Somerset Levels, with villages under water or cut off still, and roads blocked.

In Herefordshire more flooding appeared likely as the upper reaches of the River Wye rose quickly overnight on Saturday with a large amount of rainfall in the Welsh hills running quickly into the river.

But Dave Throup, from the Environment Agency, said the river levels had dropped sufficiently during the relatively dry spell at the end of last week for Saturday's rainfall to be initially contained.

He said the river levels peaked early on Sunday, but were still just under a metre lower than the peak at Christmas time, which led to widespread flooding along the banks of the Wye and the Severn.

Downstream in Gloucestershire, large areas to the north and west of Gloucester are still little more than a marsh, and the weekend peak was expected to reach those areas in the early hours of this morning.

The fear from the Environment Agency and for flood-hit residents is that any more winter Atlantic storms sweeping across the West will push those peak levels even higher, and bring an unwanted return of the scenes of late December and early January.

In Malmesbury, one of the first communities to be hit by the flooding before Christmas, there was better news – the last of the residents of the medieval properties around St John's Bridge have returned, thanks to changes to the properties made last year following the floods of late 2012.

Elsewhere in Wiltshire, a huge lake is still surrounding the ancient Silbury Hill monument, pictured above right by Mandie Hollingworth, giving greater credence to one particular theory, previously dismissed, about its construction.

Corsham author Loether Respondek did not get much of a response when he suggested six years ago that the mound at Silbury Hill was merely a byproduct of the creation of an artificial lake to preserve the water supply on the Wiltshire Downs, which was rapidly drying up due to a change in the climate thousands of years ago.

He said the landmark left behind, which is the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe, was simply a result of those works. He added it may have been used later for ceremonial purposes, but the digging to find water had been the main reason for its construction.

For the past three weeks, the hill has been surrounded by a vast lake, prompting others to wonder if the Scandinavian-born researcher was right all along.

Last week the Government announced it was providing an additional £6.7 million to help local councils deal with the damage caused by the recent flooding and severe weather.

The announcement came after the Local Government Association called on the Government for help in meeting repair bills to roads, coastal defences and other infrastructure which is running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

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  • Margenpie  |  January 21 2014, 9:58AM

    It's interesting. Our country has a legal system that staunchly defends the right to have whatever god one chooses, to make carved images and worship them, to take the name of Lord in vain, to work on the Sabbath and, within certain parameters, to kill. Legally we are free too to covet our neighbour's spouse, commit adultery with said spouse, get a divorce and remarry and so on. And yet apparently it is legalising gay marriage that really gets God's goat. Human, all too human.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 21 2014, 9:39AM

    So you know religious bigots do you Mangosta007? . Or is this all just part of your usual practice of insulting anyone who doesn't agree with your beliefs? The hard truth is what you can't or won't face. . You cannot cannot 'Marry'; be joined together in Holy Matrimony with your mother or father or your brother or sister either. Now take some advice and keep a civil tongue.

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  • Mangosta007  |  January 21 2014, 9:10AM

    Funny how religious bigots always assume that almighty deities share their own petty personal prejudices. I say we perform sacrifices to the Somerset worm gods lest we incur their wrath and they punish us with sleet.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 21 2014, 8:06AM

    The hard truth is what you can't or won't face. . You cannot cannot 'marry'; be joined together in Holy Matrimony with your mother or father or brother or sister either.

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  • Imp-Act  |  January 20 2014, 10:36PM

    To marry is just a man made thing that's not been around for that long! The word (marry) is "to join together' be it wood, brick, men, wome, men/women....AND has jack to do with ANY man made riligious HS! SO! What gives another person the right to say WHAT, WHO shall or shall not join together?????? Oh! Yes! The complete morons of the world ....David (the Moron) Silvester and ALL that agree with him!!!! OMG it's still chucking raining!!!!!

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  • Dominic_T  |  January 20 2014, 10:17PM

    OK, I won't, but I'll simply think of it as 'the land of hard truths that UKIP can't deal with'. I'll let you continue having 'no problem with gays' while wishing to deny them the right to marry who they love. I guess people might consider your 'problem' with them that you wish to deny them some of the rights you feel you should have yourself.

  • Charlespk  |  January 20 2014, 10:01PM

    There is a place for you Dominic, but please don't ask me where it is.

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  • Dominic_T  |  January 20 2014, 9:38PM

    Anyone who signs-up to UKIP is by definition an 'extremist' in that they deny basic science. They are in the same group as flat Earthers, Creationists, 'chem trail' nuts and people who think the moon landings were faked. As for Christianity in politics, Christians of the Right either don't understand their own religion or ignore it. You can't be a decent Christian in UKIP. Or the Conservatives. Jesus was a radical socialist and Right-wing politics are the opposite of what he preached.

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  • Charlespk  |  January 20 2014, 9:18PM

    I am a West Country Christian who supports UKIP and have absolutely no problem with Gays Moe; only them trying to call their legal partnerships a 'marriage'. . Have you always been so slow? Have you ordered my book yet?

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  • MoeXXX  |  January 20 2014, 9:03PM

    Stay on topic Charles. Are you defending UKIP, Christianity, or West Country Folk; or are you denigrating gays, atheists, badgers, Muslims and Lib Dems? I sometimes find it hard to follow such fast-paced right-wing brain-spurting.

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