The consequence of greed and arrogance

All our thoughts and sympathies go out to those affected by the horrific fire in Grenfell Tower in London. In the aftermath of such a horrifying disaster, the priority must be the welfare of the living and the support of the bereaved while survivors are still traumatised and families are raw in grief and bodies remain uncollected amidst the ashes of a skyscraping tomb that sears the skyline of London. While it’s important not to prejudge the inquiry into what caused a densely inhabited tower block to go up in flames like a tinder dry forest, it is appropriate to talk about the responses of our political masters to the tragedy. It is appropriate to discuss some of the broader factors which might have led to the appalling events that have distressed the entire country.

This is a tragedy, an appalling accident, but it wouldn’t have happened if poor people weren’t crowded into a poorly maintained and underfunded tinderbox right next to luxury mansions that lie empty in tax avoidance schemes for the wealthy. Residents of the Grenfell Tower made complaint after complaint about conditions in the block, complaints that were ignored and dismissed. No fire sprinklers, reports that the cladding was chosen for its looks and not for its fire-retardant properties, only a single stairway, works that impeded exits. Residents had a litany of issues, and yet were consistently ignored. The expectation of the Conservative run council seemed to be that poor people should be grateful for whatever hovel they receive in social housing. There was no place for dignity in their spreadsheets, no place for compassion, no place for understanding. The attitudes formed at the top trickle down to the minor functionaries and officials who have to implement the politics of greed.

The council was seemingly more concerned about the tower’s aesthetics so it wouldn’t displease the eyes of the wealthy when they visit their empty properties nearby than they were concerned to provide dignified homes that are fit to live in for those who clean the big houses, who work in the hospitals, who repair the roads. This is a society which spends more on fire safety measures in empty blocks of luxury flats which are used as tax breaks for the rich than it spends to provide fire breaks in tower blocks that people actually live in. This is a society whose priorities are warped by the greed of those who have it all already.

This is a tragedy that was compounded because the low paid and people dependent on social security are neglected and sidelined by an authoritarian system which expects them to do as they’re told and to be grateful for the crumbs they’re tossed. Don’t complain, don’t demand improvements. You’ll get what you’re given and be grateful. Struggle in substandard housing, lucky to have any housing at all. Struggle to put food on the table, lucky to have any food at all. The rich pass by in their expensive cars on their way to their expensive houses living lives of opportunity and insist that people with nothing have it easy. The demonisation of the poor starts at the top, and it ends in the tears of the powerless in poverty.

In her immediate response to the disaster, Theresa May has shown why she’s unfit to be Prime Minister. All during the election campaign she refused to meet the people, appearing at Tory party events where cameras held a tight focus on the little group of Conservative activists behind her. After this terrible tragedy she visited the site, but descended on the area like an occupier with squads of police. She talked to senior police officers. She talked to senior fire brigade officers. And then she was gone. Her displays of humanity, compassion, and empathy were as empty and soulless as the luxury apartments in the posh parts of the borough. If she can’t demonstrate humanity and compassion after families have been destroyed, she’s never going to. If she can’t demonstrate understanding of suffering caused by something as raw and visceral as a horrific fire, she’s incapable of doing so for something more abstract like social security policy or the consequences of Brexit. She had to be told to visit the victims of the fire in hospital the next day. A person with a functioning sense of empathy wouldn’t need to be told.

Theresa May heads a party whose MPs scoffed when proposals came before parliament in 2016 to ensure that privately rented properties are fit for human habitation. The local government minister at the time said that the proposals would result in “unnecessary regulation and costs to landlords”. That’s where Conservative priorities lie, not in providing homes that allow human beings to live in a basic level of dignity that those MPs would insist on for themselves. Theresa May heads a party which wants to leave the EU in order to rip up regulations and the red tape that ensures that those with money and property have to abide by certain basic standards.

During the General Election campaign a triumphalist Ruth Davidson crowed that the Conservatives would make Britain great again. Most of us would settle for making Britain decent, for making it fit to live in, for making homes safe. But it will never be decent as long as Conservatives govern in the interests of the haves. It will never be fit to live in as long as job insecurity and low wages mean that it’s harder and harder to work your way out of poverty while you’re increasingly mired in debt. Homes will never be safe as long as housing is regarded primarily as an investment and not as a place to live in. We’ll continue to see luxury apartments that stand empty, bought up by shell companies as investment opportunities, while the poor and the low paid struggle with substandard housing, with housing benefit caps, with limited access to social housing and time limits on tenancies, and a burgeoning private rental sector that’s poorly regulated and poorly controlled.

The black and smoking ruins of Grenfell Tower are a monument to decades of neglect, of greed, of arrogance. It wouldn’t have happened in other countries where regulations are stricter and are understood as means to keep people safe, to preserve their dignity, to ensure a basic standard of decency. Here in the UK regulations are regarded by the Conservatives as an impedence on the ability of the rich to enrich themselves further. Let’s weep and grieve for those lost. Cry and mourn for the dead. Then the time of reckoning beckons, those who lost their lives cannot be allowed to have died in vain. This disaster was caused by greed and arrogance. This fire is the bonfire of austerity, the bonfire of Tory vanity, the bonfire of private greed.

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70 comments on “The consequence of greed and arrogance

  1. darthtimon says:

    Reblogged this on Coalition of the Brave and commented:
    I could not agree more. There are consequences to cost-cutting and profiteering – now, if only certain people could understand that!

  2. People shouldn’t be made to live in horrible housing like tower blocks. There was children living in it. How is any tower block healthy for children and family’s to live in? This disgusting disaster was a prime example of how much the council and government don’t care and ignore us.

  3. Macart says:

    Well said Paul.

    These unmitigated bastards govern the UK. Their policies put people in harms way. They divide. They drive people to desperation and misery. They endanger lives.

    This is no way to live. The populations of the UK deserve better than the corporately compromised sewer on the Thames they call a parliament. They deserve better than closed shop gangsters who inhabit its chambers masquerading as public representation. Gangsters who consider military spend on WMDs more important than a national health service and tax breaks for the rich more important than public safety regulations.

    There are more Grenfell Towers out there.

  4. tintochiel says:

    “This is a society whose priorities are warped by the greed of those who have it all already.”

    A most excellent article generally, Paul, but that phrase leapt out. The Rich can never have enough.

    I hope all those who voted Tory in Scotland recently realise what Tory values mean and have always meant: putting the poor and the vulnerable “in harm’s way”, as Macart says.

    Utterly heartless and shameful, these people: they make that Alan B’stard character from the 90s seem like a bleeding-heart liberal.

  5. m.boyd says:

    I wouldn’t vote for Corbyn but give him credit at least he’s turned up and met the people. And now is being accused of electioneering for his compassion and humanity? What society do we live in?

    • Annie Martin says:

      I wouldn’t vote for Corbyn either, but there was genuine empathy and compassion on his face when he talked to, and put an arm around, survivors. That’s not electioneering, that’s what’s called being a human being, not a robot.

      • Well said, Annie! If I lived in EngWales I WOULD vote for Jeremy Corbyn and I would do so with a high heart in the full and certain knowledge that I was voting for a human being who is capable of putting people before profits. There is a vast chasm between what Jeremy Corbyn is to rUK politics and what the sloppy leavings of SLab are to politics in Scotland.

        • wm says:

          Jeremy Corbyn’s problem is not the people on the street who voted for him,it is the 60% of the red tory labour MP’s sitting in the Westmonster benches with him, and they will never allow him and the few MP’s who back him to carry out their manifesto, it is only a matter of time till the party will be back to the same old, same old.

          • You are right – up to a point – wm. The thing is that voters elect MPs, usually on a manifesto, and if these New Labour quasi-Tories stand in the way of carrying out that manifesto then the young, who voted for Jeremy in their droves, and who are not mired in the “oh, well, let them get on with it” attitudes so prevalent amongst many who think that once they have cast their ballot their responsibility ends, will see to it that they are deselected. I believe there is hope for the electorate of EngWales now that the young are engaged and on the side of “people before profit”.

            • Robert Harrison says:

              But lets not forget Tory voters up here denied the English the labour government they voted for then again scottish labour encouraged there own voters to vote tory. oh the UK is so screwed up no wonder it’s finished and funny enough the southerners haven’t bitched about that yet even though the bbc reported it

    • tish says:

      why would you not vote for him

    • tish says:

      the one that vote tory

  6. scotsgeoff says:

    Never forget also that Legal Aid has been slashed so the poor have even less chance of getting any redress (not that a legal action could ever replace those that have been lost).

    We should be looking at a situation where criminal charges are brought in this case but I can only foresee a total whitewash akin to the Tory election fraud case where effectively the perpetrators were told ‘Yes you committed fraud but I accept your mitigation that someone higher up told you it was ok and you didn’t know. Now, off you pop and have a nice day.’

    Can you ever imagine someone on ‘benefits’ (‘benefits’ sound lovely, a gift, whereas we know them as ‘Social Security’) accused of fraud being told ‘off you pop’ after jumping through about a squillion hoops and their banana skin ridden, ambiguous 48 page documents and regulations and maybe making a genuine mistake?

    One rule for the rich, one rule for Tories (who are all rich) and a completely different set of many rules (all damning) for the rest of us.

    I am embarrassed and saddened that people in Scotland voted Tory; especially the ones who voted Tory specifically for the ‘Union’.

    • Well said, Sir. I too felt a deep shame and distress when I realised that the Scottish voters gave the May-bot her excuse to cling to the vestiges of political and personal power by handing her those 13 MPs. Hell mend them!

    • m boyd says:

      The “board” would grant legal aid for this type of case in Scotland but they would know that in most cases costs would be met in settlement. People think legal aid in Scotland was set up in 1986 it wasn’t, it originates from the 16th century. There was a recognition even then that the poor needed access to justice but today…?

      I fully take your point re benefit fraud. While not condoning benefit fraud I can’t understand why sentencing guidelines may force a sheriff to jail an old woman who has defrauded the state of maybe £10K over 20 years but a rich banker with all his schemes and scams will never see the inside of any sheriff or high court.

  7. bedelsten says:

    At first glance, you may think the maybot announcing a FULL (are there other sorts?) public enquiry was a plus point, though it was probably just a knee jerk ‘must be seen to be doing something’ reaction. However, this has several fully predictable consequences; the inevitable delay while the shredder is put to good use, further delay while hunting around for a suitably bland compliant chair, manipulation of the terms and conditions and the inevitable suppression of unwelcomed results. Further, it probably means the full inquest process, which is much more independent, will be avoided. Cynical, moi?

    • Jan Cowan says:

      Yes, my first thoughts too. By the time a result is reached TM will be well down the road and her henchmen beyond blame.

    • Yes, we know what a ‘public enquiry’ actually means in Greater Ukania:

      1) The Government gets to set the remit of the enquiry, and will deliberately exclude huge swathes of evidence which, though utterly germane to the subject, might point the finger at government and its financiers (this is what happened in the Waterhouse Enquiry into widespread abuse of kids in care homes in north Wales; the remit was severely limited by William Hague (aka “Billy The Pop”) to avoid dragging in the upright members of the local political, business and law-enforcement ‘communities’ who were up to their eyeballs in it),
      2) The enquiry will not be empowered to subpoena witnesses, or require that they give testimony under oath,
      3) Those who might have the finger pointed at them – the government, the council, the ‘Management Organisation’, the contractors – will be able to get the help of the best shysters that someone else’s money can buy, whereas the victims and their families will be dependent on a few hardy souls willing to provide assistance on a pro bono basis,
      4> As a result of the multiplicity of expensive briefs, the enquiry will drag on for years, with either the enquiry forestalling the inquests or vice versa,
      5) The abortion of a report which will come out at the end will be full of the usual weaseloid phrases, such as “No one individual was to blame”, “Lessons will be learned”, et-sodding-cetera,
      6) The minister ‘responsible’ will then sit on the report for two years, whilst constantly whining that the government can’t implement even the most meagre of its recommendations because to do so would ‘increase the burden on the business community’,
      7) Five years from then, another such totally avoidable catastrophe will occur. Rinse and repeat.

      A ‘public enquiry’ is of no bloody use, as it is a device to distract rather than to enlighten. As Aamer Anwar said on RT the other night, what is needed is a criminal investigation. Although that, of course, could just as easily be spiked.

      I disagree with one or two commenters here who say they don’t want to see riots. I do, so long as they are in the right place and targeted at the right people or establishments. The only way you are ever going to change the clowns, crooks and chancers currently misgoverning us is to make them fear – if not for their lives – then at least for their precious property.

  8. douglasclark says:

    There will be riots soon. Theresa May is not going to be allowed to walk away from this.

    Yes. I am predicting violence. It is a tad inevitable when you have an idiot in charge of our politics.

  9. Kat hamilton says:

    May and her cohorts deserve the full wrath of what’s going to be unleashed…people can see the manipulation, corruption and endemic failure of her government at all levels…how apt that someone wrote on their grieving board, the royal family had their 367 million upgrade on buck house rubber stamped without question…a sickening comparison to those affected by this horror…will justice be served or just swept under the carpet and ‘lessons learned’ …always that banal, and sickening catchphrases used to placate the minions….shame on them…

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Sorry Kat but your comments are very inflammatory. No pun intended.

    • Golfnut says:

      Westminster and the establishment’s corruption, manipulation and endemic failure is I’m afraid just par for the course. These last 3 Tory governments( backed on most occasions by Labour) have just taken it to a new level. Just who, with any sense of decency, votes for this.

  10. The idea of riots and “revolution” makes me shudder but oh, how easy it is to understand why the people of England & Wales might go down that road.

    Here are a couple of the replies to my thoughts about this in the comment threads of a well-known UK “organ” of the press:

    “I really take exception to your idea about austerity.

    If you think that spending £70K plus on someones rented property, which is highly subsidised by £25bn of rent subsidy, in the most expensive part of the UK, is austerity you are rather more than two pence short of a shilling. Perhaps a full sixpence?

    Didn’t you get my statement about house costs in my part of the UK and others?

    I suggest you get your facts right.
    These people don’t seem to be servants or cleaners. As was quoted this morning on the Today programme (last 5 minutes by a Guardian writer) these are largely poor immigrants imported over the last ten years housed in the most expensive part of the country.

    If the “rich” need what you say they can pay for it at the proper rate and stop being subsidised by far less affluent people in other parts of the UK working on low pay.

    The people in my locale would welcome your so called idea of “austerity” as unbridled affluence spent in their locality boosting the local economy.

    Want to use money wisely?

    Spend it were you get best value for money.

    Didn’t they teach you that at school?”

    ” You forgot to mention that the residents rejected installation of sprinklers because it would have greatly increased the disruption to their lives.” Not true – they merely chose to have their boilers and hot water systems made fit for purpose FIRST.

    All these people can think about is (a) themselves and (b) the bottom line. I despair of any change being made whilst people like this predominate.

  11. Andy Anderson says:

    I regret Paul that I disagree with much of your content. This disaster was not caused by a political system as you highlight a few times. How do you know?, where is your proof?, how did austerity cause this?

    The building is of 1960’s design where many had single fire stairwells. This would have been building regs at the time. At that time Westminster may have been Tory or Labour but this had no direct effect on the build. The local council would have approved the build. The fact it was for council tenants had nothing to do with regulations.

    The cladding was likely a cause of the fire spread, it looks that way. The housing association that put the cladding on did I suspect follow the building guidelines. The fact that these guidelines may have been poor is not related to any political party when you look at this case specifically.

    However there has been examples of cladding causing damage and deaths in other fires. Here is where the fault lies. Whatever the mechanism is for regulations regarding cladding to be altered obviously did not happen. There may indeed be a malaise here. We will need to wait for the inquiry.

    The housing association were cladding the building to make it warmer for the tenants and not to make a fire risk. There can be no overt political action related to this act.

    I have also heard about the residents complaints on fire safety. Yes they should have been acted on. The Fire Brigade approve building safety. Very few public buildings have sprinklers. When was the last time you saw them in offices, hotels, factories or shops? This is not to say they should not be there just that it is not common UK practice.

    Your article jumps to conclusions and links specifics in an unproven way, it is an emotional piece. Nothing wrong with emotion but it should not use a fire disaster to attack political parties at Westminster. The issue is decades of culture in building control. No doubt a lot more.

    I agree with your comments about May and Corbyns visits. I also normally agree with all your blogs but not this time, sorry Paul.

    • majestic12 says:

      I totally agree. This was nothing to do with party politics. And the borough of K&C is huge, encompassing many types of housing and different ethnic communities. This part of North Kensington is a very ordinary, working class area and rich people do not drive by looking on with pitiless disregard. There are buildings like this all over London, and probably other cities too, housing immigrants and refugees and asylum seekers and ordinary English born citizens. The pressures on housing for incomers to London are huge, unlike any other city in U.K. The local councils, by and large, do their best with less and less money from central government. Of course mistakes are made, but it is unfair to blame any one political party for this terrible disaster. It is a much more complex and complicated issue than recent commentary would have us believe. I live not too far from Grenfell Tower and this sort of thing could have happened anywhere in London. The fact that it was K&C is largely irrelevant, except in that it is seen by many as a rich area and can therefore be used as a weapon in the increasingly polarised version of the Britain of the “haves” and “have nots”. This is not helpful. The reality of life in London is very different from that in Scotland.

    • anon says:

      I’m going to compare your attitude here to people saying that the Tories aren’t trying to destroy the Scottish NHS – they’re just destroying the English NHS, with mandated reductions in the Block Grant.

      • Andy Anderson says:

        You missed my point. My point is that the specifics of the fire has nothing at all to do with politics. It is not part of some big picture. It is a building designed 70 odd years ago and a housing association that was improving a building for its tenants. All using current building regulations. Nothing at all to do with national politics.

        Your NHS example is invalid as all of the UK uses the same building regulations.

        • Graham Niven says:

          To Andy Anderson:
          Which body is responsible for the completely inadequate current building regulations?
          Which body is responsible for allowing flammable material to be used as cladding?
          Which body is responsible for failing to draft legislation mandating retro-fitment of adequate fire suppression systems?

          Now add to that this body knew for a fact this type of building was at serious risk and utterly failed to take any steps to mitigate those known risks.
          This to my mind is criminal negligence.

          You say “We will need to wait for the inquiry”, well no we don’t because we’ve already had one for the Lakanal House fire.
          But as is not a surprise, the tories have done hee-haw about it.

          Nothing to do with national politics?
          Aye and Ruth Davidson won the last election.

          • Andy Anderson says:

            No idea which body is responsible for building or fire regulations. They will be part of the civil service and I bet self governing. Yes faults somewhere with possible out of date controls. But the housing association who put the cladding on will have followed the rules at that time. The act of doing this is not political.

        • Therapymum says:

          Andy, you omit the fact that K&C council, a Tory council, have made savings of £278 million pounds, which is where your argument about the role of politics in the Grenfell Tower tragedy falls down. There was no lack of cash to carry out retrofitting sprinklers, but there was lack of will to listen to the residents or ensure their safety. Additionally, consecutive governments ignored recommendations about fire safety after the Lakadal incident, and rejected bills put forward to ensure landlords provided housing that was fit and safe for habitation. The Tower was a local eyesore and the cladding was installed to improve the environment.

          These were the poorest and most vulnerable in a hugely wealthy area, and their opinion mattered for nothing. The response by emergency services and local volunteers/residents has been exemplary. The response by K&C council and the government to the tragedy has been appalling – too late and a dollar short. Survivors have not had access to cash, other than £10 “gift” provided by the volunteers, nor counselling, nor access to emergency funding. Many people have offered empty property or rooms to accommodate survivors, yet these offers have not been taken up by the council if the government.

          The whole support of the survivors has thus far been by willing volunteers and according to Peston on Sunday today, the links to emergency support services has not been provided on site up to Saturday evening. You must acknowledge that these delays and the distress and anger that they cause merely increases the belief that the ongoing social engineering in the area is a completely cynical political stance.

    • If Paul jumps to conclusions then so have many others, including myself. The cladding had NOTHING whatever to do with “making it warmer for the residents”. Its putative function was to repel rainwater – its ACTUAL function was to make the grim facade more palatable – less of an eye-sore – from the point of view of the wealthy residents of Kensington & Chelsea whose homes overlook it!

      When asked whether they would prefer emphasis to be placed on providing working boilers and functioning hot-water systems, or sprinkler systems, the residents of Grenfell Tower not unnaturally chose the former. This did NOT relieve KCBC of the responsibility for ensuring that fire safety systems, including sprinklers, were retro-fitted.

      I could go on but Paul has put it all far more eloquently than I could do. I agree with every word he wrote.

  12. morag branson says:

    One of the obvious faults of some London councils has been their insidious objective to “relocate” tenants from so many areas to miles away thereby destroying community cohesion. And then to compound that injustice by selling the land to developers who have no obligation to provide anything other than high price investment opportunities.

    It’s the neoliberal way. It’s the breaking up of society. Tories and New Labour followed that to the best of their ability and the results are what we are witnessing now. Tragic.

    • Well said, Morag. “Social Engineering” – or more properly “Social Cleansing” – has been underway in London for decades. Those few who are needed to provide “services” to the wealthy are ghettoized in buildings like Grenfell Tower and this appalling tragedy was simply a disaster waiting to happen.

  13. Kat hamilton says:

    I’m sure we’ll all agree Andy that justice, and a fair and proper investigation into this tragedy is what hopefully will come to pass…..perhaps I didn’t use the correct terminology…May will politically be on borrowed time now..so in that sense she will get her just desserts..there was no underlying message of pitchforks and feathering…I don’t apologise for not having faith in the system to bring this about…time will tell though…as smallaxe would say, peace always…

  14. This is a good blog that captures the quasi-dystopian nature of modern Britain, encapulsated by the city of London. My warmest thoughts go out to those that suffered

  15. Well said, Paul.
    It’s the rich wot get the pleasure, the poor wot gets the blame.

    It is a feature of inner city life in this great big free enterprise capitalist world of ours that untold wealth and unfeeling opulence resides cheek by jowl with the less salubrious homes of the worker bees, the low paid, ephemerally employed waiters, hospital porters, barbers, nurses, and cleaning ladies, the hoi polloi, who service the wealthy as they venture among us in shopping malls, restaurants, and concert venues.

    Evan Davis referred to the Tower block inferno on Newsnight as Theresa May’s ‘Katrina’; her GW Bush watershed.She failed miserbly.

    Poor mainly ethnic minority UK citizens devastated by avoidable tragedy, and left floundering for days by their Tory Council and an unresponsive Tory Government.

    It recalled ‘Dead End’, William Wyler’s 1937 movie where the affluence of the Wealthy New Yorkers who had moved to the shores of the East River, with the slum tenements behind them as their near neighbours, and the inequality , vast wealth in the hands of a few, and the grinding poverty of the many, played out in an excellent script by Lillian Hellman.
    Bogart was the slum kid who chose crime and murder to escape the slums. Joel McCrae, who stayed on, eking out a meagre existence in dignified poverty, and the East End Kids (later to become The Bowery Boys) the Gorbals Diehard waifs up to everything and anything to make a dime, thwart the local law.

    Hellman paid for this slice of American reality. She was blacklisted by McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities.

    Walt Disney led the Republican backlash, setting out a charter which demanded that movies and TV : ‘don’t smear the free enterprise system, industrialists, wealth, and the profit motive. Don’t deify the ‘common man’, don’t glorify the collective.’

    In the ‘fifties Hollywood churned out Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Rock Hudson and Doris Day movies.

    You can imagine what Old Walt thought of MASH, Catch 22, Little Big Man, Soldier Blue, The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, and Cool Hand Luke.

    My only brush with somebody famous happened when I bumped into Buster Bloodvessell, of Bad Manners fame, coming out of Kensington High Tube station.
    It was the early to mid ‘nineties, and I was a regular visitor on business in that part of London at the time.
    It is a very rich piece of real estate; fabulously wealthy by any standards. Lots of pop stars had luxury flats on the High street.

    It is over a decade since I’ve been down that way, but by all reports, money has continued to go to money, or roubles to roubles.

    The Government has pledged £5 million, and a commitment to an Enquiry, following the Tower Block inferno; and we still don’t know the final death toll.

    The same censorship that gripped the US in the ‘forties and ‘fifties is alive and well today in Tory Britain.

    There is quite justifiably plenty of coverage of the bravery and stoicism of the Emergency Services, the massive response of the public to help their stricken neighbours, and expert testimony is broadcast everywhere trying to establish the cause(s) of this unbelievable tragedy.

    Laying the blame seems to be a mystery which continues to elude the combined journalistic might of the UK media.

    I can understand that for legal reasons, it would be a rash proprietor or editor who would be first with the ‘J’Accuse!’ strap.

    However as residents despair and deep sadness turns to anger and rage, there has been little speculation about who should ultimately be held responsible, and accountable in law, for this easily avoidable outrage.
    Let’s wait and see how long it takes to set up an Enquiry. I am heartened that the Police have opened a criminal enquiry.
    I would be dumbfounded if someone, or a group of officials, are not brought to book over this.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Jack I like all your comments but please do not demonize the rich. People get money by hard work, getting qualifications luck, mentoring or simply left it by their parents.

      Rich people are not bastards who hate poorer people. Yes some think the Sun shines out there arses and have steak for breakfast. It is wrong to group people by fiscal strength, colour etc.

      I have known lots of shit people in my life in all classes of society. Luckily most people in my life have been good and kind.

      I started life in a very poor family which struggled to get me an education and I with mentoring did the rest. We are all people.

      Apologies for this rant

      • Och, Andy, I apologise if my ‘rants’ appear to come across as merely a diatribe against the ‘rich’, just because they are well off.
        That was not my intention.
        I am sure that many who contribute to this excellent blog would be considered ‘rich’,in relative terms.Certainly on a global scale, we are all rich beyond the dreams of avarice when compared to the poor souls eking out a living in a Third World country.
        Believe it or not, I know some rich folk, attended their weddings, count them as dear friends, and in the main they are pretty decent human beings despite having a bob or two. I am not speaking behind their backs. My feelings on unbridled capitalism and elitism are well known. But still they love me.
        There can be no doubt that today’s WM Parties, May’s Arch right Tories, Corbyn’s Momentum hiding nearly 200 Tony Blair New Labourites in their midst, and the Lib Dems who have returned to their Yellow Book Gladstone small government/individual freedom roots, reward wealth, and the poor pay for it.
        The inequalities in the UK widen, and unfortunately it is the rich who get richer, while a father and mother living in a Towering inferno escape death because they are working a nightshift, but their 13 year old daughter home alone is caught up in the disaster.
        Sorry if I misled, but the rich/poor dichotomy is writ large over this hellish tragedy.

        • Well said, Jack, and I agree wholeheartedly. I am sure there are plenty of relatively wealthy folk who have beating, human hearts but, the society that has been created by decades of right-wing government (and I do include the B-Liar years in this) is so unequal and so divided / divisive that it does feel as if it is the poor against the rich. And while there are well-to-do people who express themselves in terms of the likes of Nick Paget-Brown (RBKCC), Sir Michael Fallon et al. with their “let them eat cake” mentality it will always be hard NOT to appear to be tarring all rich folk with their brush.

        • Andy Anderson says:

          Agree Jack. Maybe I have been to sensitive these last two days. Time for a dram.

  16. Lizzie55 says:

    I’m so sick of hearing from this Tory government “we had to make hard decisions” which really means we’re cutting back on the public sector because of our ideology. Austerity was always a choice and they choose to hit the poorest hardest. I have promised myself should our country fail in achieving independence as Brexit finalises I will seek to live in an other country. I’ve had enough of a Tory Britain and there seems no end to it. I’m a bit like the rest of this country’s decent folk, I’ve had enough of cuts to police that causes security propblems and cuts to housing for the poor that kills people and much more that’s caused poverty to increase and standards of living decrease. It’s caused the most inequality, lack of hope and mounting anger I’ve seen in my lifetime and I lived through Thatcher. Increasing, this is just not a country worth suffering for any longer and I don’t think I’m alone.

  17. So this is how it happens when there is de-regulation of the proven function of the state. The argument being that the ‘market’ will regulate itself and so on.

    This was from the Guardian on Thursday:

    ‘There is uncertainty over how the project’s adherence with building regulations was scrutinised. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where Grenfell Tower is situated, said a “full plans decision notice was not required in this case” and that “a completion certificate was issued” instead. According to the government’s website, a full plans decision notice is “the most thorough option”, but this was not taken. Neither the borough nor the cladding contractor, Harley, responded when asked to comment on why this route was not taken.’

    What this means is that the state through its function of Building Control has effectively washed its hands of any responsibility to those tenants. The lawyers and legislators are guilty. When was the last time they were brought to book for corporate manslaughter? 1945?

    In a wholly competitive market, International conglomerates wilfully mis-sell insulation products lying by omission. There is no ignorance at play here by contractors in that business – they know what they are doing. The only product that was usable is one where the insulation used is of ‘limited combustibility’ (on buildings over 18m) which is a very stringent test of their suitability. The product used (Reynobond) is not of ‘limited combustibility’. Even the £2 dearer insulation. That’s all crap – it would still have gone up in flames too. This is a simple fact. Mealy-mouthed talk of fire resistance, class 0 surfaces etc. is all bollocks. The question is did the material used meet the requirements and testing required of BRE 135 yes/no?

    NO.

    As usual, you really only have to follow the money.

    And the reason there is to be no public inquest is that the Government have to control the outcome of the public inquiry to protect the guilty.

    Themselves.

  18. uapsnu says:

    If I was a public enquiry I don’t what I’d do.

  19. […] via The consequence of greed and arrogance — Wee Ginger Dug […]

  20. David Agnew says:

    They are the Nasty party and it was ever thus. When they are not eating the peanuts out of rich peoples poo, their favorite past time is to find new ways to torment and harass the poor. But even this level of neo libertarian free market bawbaggery is sickening. And the thought that some Scots; in some demented anti-SNP spasm allowed these Tories in, regardless of what their own parties were meant to stand for, and leave Scotland at the tories mercy…is just mind boggling. For as Bevan said, what is Toryism except organised spivvery. People died because of penny pinching little crooks. There is no bottom to the well of contempt I hold Scottish labour and the Scottish lib dems in. Truly wretched and desirous to see Scotland denied any agency in this “precious, precious” Union of theirs. And it is theirs. Every rotten article of it. They deserve nothing but our endless mockery. The tories? they are dirty rotten bastards. Never forget that.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Very true

    • Robert Harrison says:

      That contempt should be rage because yesterday’s Herald reported dugdale and her team cheered every 12 tory victories which denied the English kicking may out of office and Jeremy corbyn being prime minister it’s on wings over Scotland site right now if you want a read of it

  21. emilytom67 says:

    They seem to be very well supported in our own country”message in the bottle”greed and envy are very strong human traits and all but Impossible to overcome.

  22. AnnieM says:

    What is Tommy Sheppard on about? Has Nicola not been saying all along that there would be no Indyref2 until Brexit negotiations are complete?

    LEADING SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has called for a second independence referendum to be “parked” pending the outcome of Brexit negotiations, in a dramatic intervention that breaks ranks with the party’s leadership.
    Sheppard said the party had to regain its “radical cutting edge” if it was to rebuild support following its General Election losses of 21 seats.
    He said the SNP haemorrhaged support to Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity among pro-independence voters.
    Sheppard said the SNP was in “danger of being seen as the establishment” after a decade in power at Holyrood.
    The Edinburgh East MP said Corbyn’s radical left-wing programme had attracted many of those who voted Yes in 2014.
    Writing exclusively for the Sunday Herald ahead of tomorrow’s Brexit talks beginning, Sheppard says: “The election result changes everything. Now the single market is back on the table, now we can argue for separate Scottish arrangements, now there is a prospect of repatriation of powers from Brussels direct to Holyrood to a maximal rather than minimal extent. There is a point to fighting for all of this – and some of it we will win. This means that the outcome of Brexit may be a lot different than the one we were heading for in March. Amidst the current chaos in Westminster it seems certain that a hard Brexit is now off the table, and the possibility of bespoke solutions for nations and regions is growing.
    “It follows, therefore, that it is now an option to wait until the Brexit negotiations conclude before forming a view on whether the extent of change justifies a second independence referendum as a result. This would mean that whilst a second referendum remains an option, the timetable gets parked.”

    • So much for the ‘Pro Independence’ Sunday Herald. That didn’t last long,did it?
      May and Co begin negotiations tomorrow. The same Darling Duds of May will spearhead EngWaland’s speedy exit.
      The Queen’s speech has bee cancelled as May hopes to tough it out for two years backed by the Political wing of the Loyalists in Norn Irn.
      Tommy is a left wing socialist at heart, and therefore should be expected to mouth warm fuzzies about Corbyn’s Old Testament Socialism. (see what I did there?)
      He is merely reiterating what we have all been banging on about for a year now.
      Indyref2 will follow the final deal on Brexit being known, but before the UK actually leaves, to allow EU workers here, and 16-17 year olds the right to vote on Scotland’s future.
      Obviously the Herald’s Marketing Team has analysed the GE results and falsely assumed that the 13,7, and 4 Unionist seats transalates into more potential Unionist readers;ergo, feck the con that we back Independence.
      It has an American owner, and has always been an Establishment mouthpiece.
      May’s Coalition won’t last the summer, but whoever survives will emerge with a Hard or No Deal Brexit.

      • Robert Harrison says:

        Unless the eu goes easy on David davis they going to get arse raped which would be delicious irony for the party who introduced the rape clause

      • AnnieM says:

        Thing is, in the referendum (which will happen because it has been voted for in the Scottish Parliament) it doesn’t matter what party you support. What matters is that you vote yes for independence and we all know that yessers are not all SNP supporters. When the Brexit negotiations are complete in 2 years the SNP will still be the Scottish Government, even if there’s another UK election and they lose even more MPs.

  23. Fiona Laing says:

    There is one other area of fire safety regulation which is equally important but at great risk of being overlooked. For years the Fire Brigades have been calling for stricter regulations on the components of fridge freezers,- there is currently no regulation that requires manufacturers to use non-flammable materials to protect fridges from ignition. This tragedy was huge and the spread of it almost unheard of, but it is reported to have started in a fridge- they are responsible for on average 1 house fire a week in the UK leading to several deaths and serious injuries, but as they are spread the length and breadth of the country in single house fires they do not have the impact this fire has had on us. As per usual it comes down to profit. Thankfully we will not all be exposed to the risk the cladding involved at Grenfell caused, but I bet every single one of us has a fridge and freezer in our home, it is vitally important that whilst attention is rightfully focused on the cladding the fridge manufacturers should not be able to slink off without being challenged to make all our homes safer.

  24. Robert Graham says:

    A fair assessment of the tragic events in London i believe Paul , I have been seeing comments defending Mrs Mayhem and her regime appearing on a few blogs , just a coincidence ? aye right comes to mind, there are people posting on these blogs who are not what they appear to be .

    It has been mentioned on more than a few sites the final death toll will be well over a hundred and for political expediency this is being suppressed , the idea of all council staff in this Borough of Kensington being told to stay at home is baffling,The Red Cross being drafted in to coordinate distribution of gifts and clothing as well as trying to assist relatives find missing people , that happens in disaster areas in third world countries not in the centre of Britain’s capital city 2017 .

    The speed Mrs Mayhem announced a Public Inquiry is suspicious, and points to a government controlled investigation , if as some people have said there should be an Inquest , with a Inquest the government play no part other than having to answer questions truthfully from all concerned .

  25. Shinty says:

    I believe there were around 500 residents living in this building (120 families)
    Where are the survivors, how many in hospital ?
    We may never know just how many souls lost their lives but to be told 15 deaths, they must think we are idiots.

    I sincerely hope that the council can never rebuild on this land and it is made into a beautiful garden with a memorial with the name of all those who lost their lives (together with their ages)

    We can only help to limit the loss of life through terrorism, but the tragic loss of life at Grenfell was entirely avoidable and this should never be forgotten.

    • There were apparently 600 families living in Grenfell Tower. The confirmed death toll is now over 50 but will certainly rise considerably. The “confirmed deaths” are being drip-fed for two reasons:

      1. Because the police and fire services have instructions not to “confirm” death until corpses have been positively identified – in the case of these incinerated remains, this will only be possible through forensic DNA which will take many weeks.

      2. Whilst anyone who can count must be aware that if you deduct known survivors and those in hospital from the known total of inhabitants you will come out pretty close to the actual number of deaths, that figure would have been deemed too shocking if released initially and might have led not just to marches and anger, but to riots. To steadily and slowly increase the death toll over a period of days / weeks reduces the likelihood of people manifesting their entirely justifiable rage against the authorities who have made this tragedy possible.

  26. pussy nancy says:

    Could this be the reason successive Tory Ministers sat on the requests of the Fire Dept. to address fire risks in this building?

    https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/bconline/buildingControlDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_RBKC_BCAPR_123520

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