Grenfell Tower – where lies are stronger than bricks and mortar

The best comment on the ongoing Grenfell Tower cladding scandal came from one of the survivors a few days ago.

This person was quoted as saying, perhaps they would get more attention if they lived in Northern Ireland.

It is a remark that has the ring of truth to it. After all, Theresa May had no trouble finding £1 billion with which to bribe the DUP into supporting her – creating a public backlash against her ‘bung Parliament’ as a consequence.

But it took her five days to find £5 million for the victims of Grenfell.

And the minority government’s response to the situation continues to be woeful.

This Writer was away for a few days – co-running a very successful music/art/culture festival in Llandrindod Wells – but I have been watching the reports very carefully. Look how matters have progressed (and even these reports are now being superceded, so another article will follow):

June 22

(Click on the link and it’ll say 11 tower blocks have failed – that number has also been superceded.) Downing Street was quoted as follows: “A Downing Street spokeswoman said no-one would be left to live in unsafe buildings. ‘They will be rehoused if they need to be and landlords will be asked to provide alternative accommodation where that’s possible,’ she said.”

“Council leader Georgia Gould said: ‘The panels that were fitted were not to the standard that we had commissioned. In light of this, we will be informing the contractor that we will be taking urgent legal advice.'”

So there appears to have been no supervision to ensure that the right materials were fitted. We know the Tories spent four years sitting on a report that warned about safety fears in tower blocks. Did they do nothing because they had cut local council budgets by 40 per cent and the funds to carry out tests simply weren’t there, due to austerity?

Apparently building controls were deregulated in the 1980s, by Michael Heseltine:

This is interesting because in today’s (June 28) PMQs, Theresa May tried to claim the Blair government deregulated building control. Perhaps she didn’t check her history properly?

June 23

Does anybody dispute that the deaths may be seen as killings? The Tories knew the buildings were unsafe and did nothing for four years, until the disaster happened. Why, if not in the hope that people would die?

Further to this, as the Brexit negotiations continue, the following important point was made:

Meanwhile, the number of people likely to be affected by another cladding-based fire was being revised upwards into the thousands:

The number of affected buildings had jumped to 25 – and was to increase again. But look at this:

“A Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘We would expect that private landlords that have cladding on their buildings will use the testing site and they will be responsible about that.'” Is there any evidence to suggest that private landlords will show such responsibility? Perhaps we could start by checking the behaviour of the 70+ landlords who sit in Parliament as Conservative MPs?

June 24

June 25

The following tweet – and its source material – suggests that the relaxation of regulations was due to the Blair government, as Mrs May stated in Prime Minister’s Questions on June 28:

But other sources suggest Michael Heseltine was responsible, in the 1980s. Meanwhile the number of high-rise homes failing safety tests continued to rise:


The article states: “Addressing a debate on Sunday at the Glastonbury festival, in Somerset, chaired by the Guardian’s John Harris, McDonnell said: ‘Is democracy working? It didn’t work if you were a family living on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower. Those families, those individuals – 79 so far and there will be more – were murdered by political decisions that were taken over recent decades.’

“McDonnell added that housing provision was now driven by profitability instead of need. ‘The decisions not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than for meeting a basic human need, made by politicians over decades, murdered those families,’ he said. ‘The decision to close fire stations and to cut 10,000 firefighters and then to freeze their pay for over a decade contributed to those deaths inevitably and they were political decisions.’”

June 26

June 27

June 28

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3 thoughts on “Grenfell Tower – where lies are stronger than bricks and mortar

  1. NMac

    The chickens generated by decades of Tory red-tape cuts and austerity are coming home to roost. Sadly it has taken the tragic deaths of hundreds of people to make it happen.

  2. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    George Osborne’s role in making swingeing cuts to the budgets of local authorities needs to be examined, in view of so many block towers being fitted with cheaper and more flammable cladding and failing fire safety tests.

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