Barking fire blamed on cladding – and safety fears were downplayed. Grenfell Mk 2?

The conflagration in De Pass Gardens, Barking, was due to cladding breaking fire while safety concerns were ignored, it seems. According to the Guardian‘s report (link below), it is believed the fire spread after someone lit a barbecue on a balcony. The flames reached the wooden cladding that covered the building and, despite claims that it was flame-retardant and perfectly safe, spread across the whole building rapidly. Apparently the sprinkler system did not work. Concerns had been raised about possible fire safety problems in early May, after the BBC’s Watchdog programme had…

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NHS: It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it

Has it occurred to anyone else that elections may be won or lost, not on the substance of a party’s policies, but on the way those policies are described to the public? Putting aside for a moment the fact that David Cameron and the Conservative Party deliberately lied to the British people about their intentions for the National Health Service, were people not persuaded by their constant claims that Labour had increased expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy and ‘red tape’, and a new administration was needed to cut through it all…

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Cutting red tape has cost the taxpayer billions

Conservative business minister Michael Fallon has announced that the Coalition government’s cuts in ‘red tape’ are saving businesses £1.5 billion every year. How wonderful for him. What he has neglected to mention is the fact that the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab – possibly at much greater cost. Fallon reckons the government is “stripping back unnecessary rules that restrict enterprise and act as a brake on jobs and growth”. For example, the Coalition has: Removed thousands of “low risk” businesses from “unnecessary” health and safety inspections; Stopped…

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Hidden plan for ministers to axe laws that protect you – with a penstroke

I have spent much of today putting old paperwork through the shredder in advance of tomorrow’s debate on the Deregulation Bill. Why? Hidden among the plans to revoke ancient laws regulating pigsties is a clause that revokes the freedom of the press – in particular, the freedom of journalists to protect their sources. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don’t want reporters to be able to protect political whistleblowers and the information they release from state harassment and confiscation. Vox Political has long warned that the Coalition government was pushing us…

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Incrementalism – we think we’re winning victories but in fact we are losing freedoms

Here’s a long-standing Conservative policy that has served that party very well over the years and continues to be alive today: Incrementalism. This is the process of putting several changes into a single policy – or using one change as an excuse for another – so that, even if the main aim is defeated by public opinion or Parliament, others are achieved. Their plans progress by increments. This week we are seeing it in several ways. Did you think Chris Grayling’s announcement about Legal Aid was a victory for common sense…

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Are you going to let David Cameron abolish your rights without a fight?

You do realise what David Cameron means when he says he wants to re-negotiate our membership of the European Union, don’t you? For a start, he means he wants to abolish laws that protect the human rights your ancestors fought tooth and nail to win for you. He won’t make any deals in your interest. That’s not in his nature. If he gets his way, you could lose the right to: Written terms and conditions of work, and a job description – and the right to the same terms and…

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