Leading Article: Harbingers of doom

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The Independent Online
TALK ABOUT apocalypse now. It's has been a busy Easter for the four horsemen. First there was flood (in Stratford-upon-Avon) and now ... termites have been reported invading southern England. In these fin- de-siecle circumstances, it is perhaps surprising there is not more sign of millenarian panic. The last time round in 999 holy men and cultists made a good living predicting the end of civilisation as they then knew it.

Rationalists are, fortunately, nowadays on hand to spoil the party. What is striking about the floods is how local they were. Inundation in Leamington and Banbury says a lot more about the peculiarities of drainage off the Midlands heights than divine intent - what has God got against the Vale of Evesham anyway?

As for the termites: it's amazing how slow, despite the growth of international travel and trade, despite acknowledged evidence of warming, the sub-tropicalisation of Torquay and adjacent spots has been. That termites have arrived on these shores is less surprising than that, having been here for months, they have found English domestic architecture so little to their taste.