Something I cannot watch on the news without my stomach churning. I can even see the smoke from where I live in South East London.
Having worked in housing land for 30 years now I know people all over and I know folk who are personally involved in this farrago who are telling me tales of people already printing off emails and covering their backs, even while the building was still alight.
You can’t ignore the election either and in our world the disappearance of old Hamster face himself, Gavin Barwell, dispossessed Croydon MP and previous housing minister into a senior adviser role.
Who is responsible?
The Huff Post reporting on previous the housing minister’s new appointment in Theresa May’s desperate car crash cabinet forming a coalition with (ALLEGEDLY) loyalist paramilitary sympathisers against same sex marriage and other 19th century views set to unravel the painfully constructed peace process and wipe us back to 1969…that in his tenure as housing minister had failed to review tower block fire regulations.
The article pointing us back to a 2009 tower block fire in Camberwell, half a mile down the road from where I live, where Barwell’s predecessor Brandon Lewis said it was not the responsibility of government to pass such laws.
Well if government cant pass laws who can you muppet?
More alarmingly the Huff Post piece tells us:
“And we understand that there are around 4,000 tower blocks that don’t have fire sprinklers fitted into them”
And my favourite quote:
“Successive ministers since 2013 have said they are still looking at it”
Thank god for meetings eh?
A Zeitgeist moment?
While my on the ground sources tell me about the Olympic standard back-covering that is already being hastily put in place might deal with stage two of the public’s outrage, after the emotional shock and awe of stage one on what happened where is all this ultimately leading us?
I was pondering on whether or not this is one of those Zeitgeist moments. A seemingly isolated incident that somehow sums up the concerns of our times.
Is the head of the TMO responsible? That check-shirted idiot who made a huge mistake in appearing on BBC news on Wednesday to show a human face of the block management organisation whilst clumsily nailing his colours to the mast of the good ship “HMS This is regrettable but nothing to do with us It’s the firm who put up the cladding wot did it”.
A TV appearance that made Dianne Abbot’s recent forays look like a slick, Saatchi ad campaign. [Diane Abbott has nothing to worry about – she has a majority of 35,000!! – Ed]
Maybe the bosses have stage 2 Diabetes as well. The excuse works for Ms Abbott, lets all do it. My brother in law has stage 2 diabetes and is perfectly able to answer a question involving numbers and facts. He’s just not great with chocolate.
Is the council responsible? Kensington and Chelsea being one of the richest boroughs in the land? Spending a paltry £10 mil sprinkling glitter on a turd filled with people the council would rather relocate out of London so that gentrification can continue? Westfield being but a stone’s throw from Latimer Road and attracting well heeled tourists like a moth to a candle.
Or is it really the inevitable outcome of austerity? Where the emphasis is so rooted in a cuts culture that safety takes second place to excel spreadsheets, DCLG guidelines and shareholder profits?
An unequal society
The Law Society Gazette are already on the case informing the public that legal help is available for claims.
The article telling us:
“Pilgrim Tucker, who has worked with the Grenfell Action Group, told BBC’s Newsnight last night that residents, who had raised safety issues, were threatened with legal action when they called for certain work to take place.”
And even more depressingly:
‘This is a very unequal area, these are poor residents, or they are ordinary residents. They are not the wealthy… they can’t afford private schools, they can’t afford lawyers. They tried to get lawyers but because of the legal aid cuts they couldn’t get lawyers.’
Again, is this a Zeitgeist moment?
Sick of Austerity
People are sick of austerity. Government treating the national budget of the 4th or 5th largest economy in the world as a child’s piggy bank, telling us all to be responsible and draw in our belts while the big boys still sup on Chateau Margot and fillet Mignon?
Its not just the UK either, Trump in the US, Duterte in Indonesia, the Pirate Party in Iceland, the 5 star groups in Italy, all signs that ordinary people, those referred to by Pilgrim Tucker above, have become sick of authority figures crapping on them from a great height and covering their backs when the Merde hits the Ventilateur.
The finger of blame
Grenfell house couldn’t have come at a more prescient time but I don’t think the finger of blame should stop with the Head of the TMO, the head of the cladding firm or even the head of the council, although all have a cross to bear there.
We need to grasp that this is where austerity and cuts have pinnacled for us as a nation. The mindsets of people like Gove, the human spelling error that is Jeremy Hunt and the increasingly desperate Theresa May.
What made me smile this week
See ya in a fortnight.