The Price We Pay
A thought occurred to me when I saw the BBC headline this morning of the Queen and Prince William visiting the area of the Grenfell tower fire. A fire that has left 17 people confirmed dead with 76 missing.
Buckingham Palace: Receives £370m for refurbishment.
Grenfell Tower: Doesn’t receive £300,000 for a sprinkler system.
As pointed out by numerous voices, one example being Aamer Anwar, these people died because they were poor. They continually raised awareness that fire alarms didn’t work and lifts repeatedly stopped.
People who were on the lower floors hurled whatever they could at windows to try and wake people up. They are at outside the incident now wondering whether they should have bothered as they think it would have been better if their neighbours had died from smoke inhalation in their sleep rather than in a panic to escape.
Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer and current rector of Glasgow University, has said that a government inquiry is not good enough as it allows the government to set the parameters. He pointed out examples like the Hillsborough disaster and Bloody Sunday and how the government continually white washes these to make no one, especially the government, look at fault.
He wants an independent inquiry and a criminal investigation. This happened as a result of Tory austerity and cuts to both social housing and to the emergency services. That blood is on their hands.
When Boris Johnson was mayor of London he oversaw the closures of dozens of fire stations. We had Labour leader to Tony Blair, John McTernan, saying that ‘Only 2% of a fireman’s time is spent fighting fires.’ You cannot afford to cut emergency services to save a quick buck. Austerity does not work.
According to Akala, rapper and poet, rich people living nearby complained that the tower block was an eyesore and urged a refurbishment. This refurbishment results in 'pretty panels’ being placed on the outside, according to Aamer Anwar these panels assisted the fire.
This is an absolute tragedy and it exposes the utter corruption at the heart of government and in Tory austerity policy. Like Anwar, we fucking hope it ends in criminal charges.