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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Cynical old me can't help thinking "cuts" in local/public services or "austerity" as it's called nowadays hasn't played some part in this!
    Handing over our public services to "cowboys" in the private sector is done solely for the purpose of cost cutting!
    My local council have received £26m less from Central Government over the last two years!
    Wouldn't be surprised if almost a 100 poor souls have perished!


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  2. #12
    Eurotrash! Platinum Poster Jericho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by peejaye View Post
    Handing over our public services to "cowboys" in the private sector is done solely for the purpose of cost cutting!

    £2.00 per square meter.
    Apparently, that's the difference in price between flammable and non-flammable panels.
    Guess which one they chose?


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    I hate being bipolar...It's fucking ace!

  3. #13
    5 Star Poster sukumvit boy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    I don't know about UK building codes but here in the US there must be exterior fire escapes and /or a sealed fire proof stairway with sprinklers and fire proof doors ,as well as regular fire inspections.
    Where was all that ? That thing went up like a blacksmith's forge with a blower underneath it .



  4. #14
    Eurotrash! Platinum Poster Jericho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by sukumvit boy View Post
    I don't know about UK building codes but here in the US there must be exterior fire escapes and /or a sealed fire proof stairway with sprinklers and fire proof doors ,as well as regular fire inspections.
    Where was all that ? That thing went up like a blacksmith's forge with a blower underneath it .
    7 years of austerity and deregulation.


    We are surely living in interesting times.
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/theresa-cancel-next-years-queens-10640737


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    I hate being bipolar...It's fucking ace!

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by peejaye View Post
    Cynical old me can't help thinking "cuts" in local/public services or "austerity" as it's called nowadays hasn't played some part in this!
    I understand the cynicism Peejaye, but this particular disaster is operating on a different level than others I can think of, with the possible exception of the railway/train disasters in the late 1990s early 2000's which led to the demise of Railtrack and their control of the system reverting back to pubic ownership in Network Rail. But the railways did not undermine government in the manner in which Grenfell Tower currently does.

    The disaster has taken place as, at one and the same time, the Conservative Party is preparing (or not, depending on which source for new you rely on) to open talks with the EU on Brexit tomorrow (Monday 19th), while negotiating an arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party to support it and keep the Conservatives in power when voting in the Commons -the first test of which will follow at the end of the debate on the Queen's Speech which our Majesty will deliver next Wednesday (the vote may also come quicker than usual as the Speech may not contain a large programme of legislation, it is basically Brexit and a commitment to spend more on public services).

    We are told in the Telegraph (I think it is also in Murdoch's paper The Times) that Theresa May has been given 10 days to sort herself out over the Grenfell Incident, and that any compromise on Brexit will force backbenchers to nominate a 'stalking horse' to challenge her for the leadership of the Party, which could be as early as this September (the Conservative Conference usually take place at the start of October) although a leadership challenge need not be linked to Conference. It appears many Tory MPs already fuming over the election they didn't need or want, are determined to make sure she is not their leader next time.

    Theresa May has undoubtedly messed this up, yet I don't believe it is due to any lack of humanity on her part. She is famously uneasy with political stunts and is incapable of delivering the rousing speeches Mrs Thatcher could give, yet she also seems to rely too much on the advice of other people and for whatever reason she committed the cardinal sin in 2017 of not being seen in public showing empathy for the victims. In the 24/7/365 media world in which we live, Prime Ministers must either have an instant response to every event that hits the news, or be judged indifferent; one of the tricks the Blair government pulled was to follow the news as quickly as it tended to create it.

    For whatever reason, May was badly advised, but she herself could have said no and insisted on meeting real people, even if it meant getting an earful of abuse, which is what Prime Ministers after these events ought to hear anyway. It was made worse by the fact that Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan did just that, and that the Queen and Prince William also ventured forth. Although there were no photos or video of it (that I am aware of), May's meeting with the victims yesterday was too little, too late, yet I wonder if she is broken, that the election 'defeat' and the fire have taken more out of her than she has to replace. Margaret Thatcher loved a fight, I don't think Theresa May as the desire to fight, and has privately conceded her days as PM are numbered.

    But it gets worse because what we know about Grenfell Tower means that there is no good news to come, whether it is the final estimate of deaths, or what caused them.

    When it comes to the relationship between the tenants and -Conservative controlled- Kensington and Chelsea Council, there is no good news when the details of the renovation of the Tower are fully revealed to add to what we already know; the Conservatives face damaging judgements over the original decision in 1987 to relax the regulations on building materials enabling construction companies to use combustible materials in their buildings, at a time when Mrs Thatcher was close to building mogul William McAlpine who became treasurer of the party. Building regulations, and critically, as Jericho succinctly put it above, their de-regulation will I think be a defining issue and with it the whole argument for an against government regulation, something I hope, will resonate out from the UK to other countries where it is alleged 'red tape' is killing jobs, when the lack of it appears to be killing people.

    But let's also face another uncomfortable fact -Labour doesn't get out of this with much credit either. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both presided over a degree of de-regulation claiming it to be a good thing, and the same mistakes made in the 1980s were not reversed through 13 years of Labour government, and Labour MPs are also landlords themselves, as The Guardian pointed out last year:

    According to Guardian research, almost a third of MPs are now letting out their houses or flats, with 196 declaring rental income on the official register of interests this year. The majority of those are earning more than £10,000 a year from the property, topping up their basic MP’s annual salary of £67,060.

    The Conservative party has the highest number of landlord MPs at 128, meaning 39% of Tory MPs are landlords, compared with 26% of Scottish National party MPs and 22% from Labour.
    https://www.theguardian.com/housing-...t-housing-bill

    Although it is not suggested that these Landlord MPs are running unsafe properties, it is the mere fact that they are involved in the rented sector that now resonates in a negative way.

    Also damning has been the apparent inability of Kensington and Chelsea Council to cope with the immolation of one of its buildings and its aftermath. The phenomenal and near instant reaction of local people, and by the late morning on the day of people from across London who provided food, clothing, shelter and a range of other services stood in mark contrast to the Council which did react, but failed to take control of events and was seen to be inadequate. Questions here concern 'disaster management' because I am sure most Councils have spent money preparing contingency plans which, if they existed for this kind of event do not seem to have worked or been adequate.

    And if the Council could not cope, where was the government? A housing crisis, but no Housing Ministers to be seen; a social crisis, but no Home Secretary (leader-in-waiting [?] Amber Rudd) to walk around see what needs to be done and ordering that it be so. If there were a major disaster in London, it doesn't look good for the residents, unless they have access to a helicopter and a spare palace or three to live in.

    For me the rage and the energy released by it should be channelled into accountability, from the building contractors up to policy makers in government. And the Public Enquiry must be ditched in favour of an Inquest, that is crucial to the timetable and the management of public anger.


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  6. #16
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    I should add that Councils have a legal duty to draw up contingency plans to deal with a crisis situation -it may the case that Kensington and Chelsea Council was overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis or that their plan was inadequate -this is from their website:
    Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 as a local authority we have a statutory duty to have contingency plans in place to ensure the borough’s resources and staff are equipped to deal with a crisis situation effectively, while continuing to provide the usual day-to-day services of the Council. The Act classes local authorities in the same category as the police services, fire brigade, health authorities, environment agency, ambulance services, coastguards and port authorities.

    In an emergency situation the Council will:

    • support the emergency services
    • support people affected by the incident
    • provide mutual aid to other responders
    • maintain normal council services
    • plan for medium and long term consequences and recovery from the incident


    The type of assistance that can be offered is the provision of:


    • transportation
    • rest centres
    • examination of building structures
    • highway closures and diversion routes
    • site clearance
    • specialist equipment
    • welfare/support
    • environmental health services


    Once the immediate life-threatening period has passed, the Council will play a major role in restoring normality to the area as quickly as possible.
    https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/community-an...gency-planning


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  7. #17
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    I believe, all, if not most of the residents made homeless are staying in Hotels all over London at a phenomenal cost to the taxpayer, despite there being around, allegedly, 20,000 empty properties in & around the capital! Another fine mess they've got us in to!
    Personally; I would put them all up at Buckingham Palace!



  8. #18
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by peejaye View Post
    Personally; I would put them all up at Buckingham Palace!
    ^^ that place is already occupied by another family

    they'll be going to some luxury flats in kensington row: near the borough of kensington and chelsea.

    btw: it was corbyn who asked for these flats to be purchased by the government to house victims but other ministers were opposed to this idea.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...rtment-complex


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  9. #19
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by bluesoul View Post
    they'll be going to some luxury flats in kensington row: near the borough of kensington and chelsea.
    btw: it was corbyn who asked for these flats to be purchased by the government to house victims but other ministers were opposed to this idea.
    As expected the news that comes out every day offers no relief, whether it is the number of times the building and its materials were inspected, the rebuttal by the Council of resident's claims, the existence of combustible materials in the cladding of 600 tower blocks around the UK, or the admission by Theresa May this morning that Kensington and Chelsea Council could not cope with the aftermath of the fire, without telling us why, given the Council's statutory duties and the availability of over £200 million in funds to deal with it. The Chief Executive of the Council has resigned as a consequence of the Council's failings.

    The symbols resonate in bluesoul's post, because Grenfell tower is in Colville Ward, which includes Portobello Road and the site of numerous films from Performance, A Hard Day's Night and Notting Hill, to 10 Rillington Place, Love Actually and many others (see links below).

    To understand the division between rich and poor, take a walk one Saturday morning from the posh end of Portobello Road where it meets Pembridge Road and pass houses that are valued in £1 million plus, then hit the antiques market and make your way through the fruit and veg stalls, the gourmet pubs and cafes, and notice as head towards Westway how much poorer it all looks- because it is. And don't be fooled by the Notting Hill Carnival that snakes its way up Portobello Road every August- Kensington and Chelsea Council have tried to shut it down or re-locate it out of the Borough for years, they hate it.

    North Kensington has been associated with poverty and slums for as long as I can remember, Alan Johnson, former Labour MP was born there and describes the poverty of the area in his book This Boy. (see second link below)

    My first awareness of North Kensington came in the 1960s when my father bought the Sunday tabloids with their lurid tales of saucy vicars and bonkers film stars, but in particular the slum landlord Peter Rachman, who died in 1962 but was in the press for years after because of his connections to people involved in the Profumo Scandal and the fact that one of his aggressive and violent rent collectors was Michael X -Black Power leader, pimp, con man, murderer...(see second link). Rachman became synonymous with the worst of Britain's post-war slum housing along with crime and corruption, though some of the bad press he got may also have been veiled anti-Semitism.

    Most people when they think of immigrants in London think of the East End with its sequence of immigrant communities from the Hugeunots of the 17th century through the Irish, the Jews of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Bengalis in the 1970s, but other parts of London also had their immigrant communities, and North Kensington was one. And, just as the East End became a cultural melting pot built on a foundation of low-rent slum housing, crime and corruption, so too was Colville Ward.

    And just as the accurate death toll in Grenfell Tower may not be known, in part because some of the people living there on the night of the fire were sub-letting from the registered tenant, so too has this been a feature of low-rent accommodation in Colville , as this 'colourful' quote suggests:
    "When Mark Strutt inherited the Colville estate in 1948 he found “there wasn’t a cupboard that didn’t have somebody living in it… The houses had been sub-let and sub-sub-let without our consent, and they were filled with prostitutes, burglars, murderers and negroes.”

    Labour has it wrong again, it is not about shifting the problem from one apartment block to another, it is about a comprehensive housing policy, and though I doubt even Jeremy Corbyn can magic up the amount needed to house Britain's poor, releasing Council funds for a new era of social housing construction must be a start. Labour has two out of three councillors in Colville Ward, one of them defected to the Liberal Democrats last year, and one is now the MP elected a week or so ago, so it will be interesting to see their record when it is scruitinized.

    Social history of Colville Ward-
    http://www.colvillecom.com/page/social

    Peter Rachman and Michael X
    https://darkestlondon.com/tag/peter-rachman/


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  10. #20
    Senior Member Professional Poster holzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grenfell Tower: the Symbols and the Suffering

    Quote Originally Posted by peejaye View Post
    I believe, all, if not most of the residents made homeless are staying in Hotels all over London at a phenomenal cost to the taxpayer, despite there being around, allegedly, 20,000 empty properties in & around the capital! Another fine mess they've got us in to!
    Personally; I would put them all up at Buckingham Palace!
    i don't care. i'm happy to pay taxes to house those in need. it's why welfare exists, and why we all pay taxes.



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