I was in Norwich today, having a meander with a mate, another shafted by the slings and arrows of outrageous education management (or mis-management), and as we were wandering through John Lewis, a tannoy announcement told us at midday there would be a minute’s silence for the victims of Grenfell.
Rightly so too, as that devastating fire should be filed under corporate manslaughter, I believe and hopefully the public enquiry will concur, with government ministers, MPs and council members handcuffed in courts up and down the land and asked why fire doors had not been upgraded since it was built in 1974? Why sprinklers and fire retardant cladding had been rejected? And why that limp, Teflon coated leader, we have, couldn’t be arsed to meet victims one year ago.
Grenfell is a shameful episode in our domestic history, with 72 people needlessly dying and let’s get this straight, if 72 people had been killed in a terror attack, there would be knee-jerk repercussions from parliament and the media.
I defy you to watch and read this and not be moved to tears by the tragedy: click here.
Not only 72 people perished that night but thousands of others have mental and physical scars, many of which I doubt will ever heal.
PTSD is affecting many people – go on guess how many.
2,400 men, women and children, which will cost the NHS £10 million and more by the time the second anniversary lands.
The cost of cladding Grenfell Tower in fireproof materials was estimated to amount to £3.3 million for non-flammable aluminium panels, but Kensington and Chelsea picked Rydon, whose flammable cladding saved the council £1.3 million but instead lost 72 lives and scarred thousands for life.
They’re not the only ones who did this of course – over 300 tower blocks in the UK have similar potential combustibility.
It’s a fucking disgrace, a national embarrassment, an atrocity.
A sprinkler system costing £500,000 was never installed and experts reckon the fire’s alarmingly fast spread would have been reduced or indeed stopped with an effective system. The fire would have been contained.
I can imagine myself what being caught in a fire would be like; having lived in a tower block in 1983 in Sunderland. It would be utterly terrifying. In my 9th floor bedroom of Wearmouth Hall in Sunderland, I remember the building moving during high winds, which scared me at 18, and the chaos during fire drills and when actual fires occurred.
If a fire had spread in that carbuncle, I guess the sprinkler system, that I remember, would contain it.
Clearly students lives were more valued then than normal people now?
What I do know though that if 72 people had died in there, including my friends, I’d be affected still – who wouldn’t?
The cost of the Grenfell fire will never ease and I have little hope that the real causes of the tragedy – successive governments and councils, all with blood on their hands, will ever be put on trial.
If I was a landlord and a tenant died due to me flouting safety regulations, I’d be heading for ten years and more in the nick.
So why aren’t others facing manslaughter charges?
A one minute’s silence felt like tokenism to me today – those 72 people who perished and the thousands affected since deserve more, much more.