There are few more unedifying sights than a bunch of neo-Marxists trying to promote mob rule by waiving shrouds.
The victims of the Grenfell Tower deserve so much more than this. They have asked Comrade Corbyn to stop trying to ‘weaponise’ their tragedy but he still ignores them. Mob violence helps no one, but those perpetrating the violence may have a double motive of promoting mob rule and diverting attention from the Labour Party’s culpability in the scandal of their Stalinist 1960s tower blocks.
For all of the coverage and shouting, we are a long way from knowing exactly what happened at Grenfell Tower and why it happened. Some very disturbing information is seeping out under the noise made by the Corbyn shroud wavers.
Basically, the numbers do not add up. That may not be all too surprising in view of the horrific damage and the probable density of occupation of the flats in the tower block. The police have been asking people to come forward so that they can establish the correct numbers. They have even gone as far as to promise they will ignore other criminality, such as illegal entry to the UK.
There were 127 flats in the block, but 180 families have so far been helped with grants, donations, etc. It is understood that this is not the number of all claims. It is alleged that only a ‘few’ of the victim families have received any form of help. These numbers do not add up.
With a big fanfare it was announced that some 60 families will be rehoused down the road in luxury flats. It seems no one bothered to tell those families, or to tell the others why they wont be rehoused there.
Initially, it was believed that some 800 people were living in the tower block. However, subsequent claims suggest a much higher figure. As none of these figures tally with the number of people assigned flats in the block it suggests a very high rate of illegal sub-letting by official residents. It has been alleged that many of the extra occupiers are living illegally in the UK under the radar and include people who have had applications for asylum rejected, but have then disappeared before they could be returned to the countries they came from.
We are unlikely to ever know the real figures because those illegal aliens and those illegally sub-letting are unlikely to come forward voluntarily. They are only likely to come to light over a period if they are arrested for some other reason. There are suggestions that most official residents were sub-letting. If that proves to be the case, it raises questions about the way the local authority apparently has no firm control of those who are using their housing stock.
This issue of illegal occupation of Grenfell Tower also raises another question that relates directly to the possible number of deaths. It appears that the average occupation per flat was six people. No one has yet said what occupation level was intended for each flat, although it has a very direct bearing on the challenges of emergency evacuation. We cannot be certain, but the probability is that not every tenant was illegally subletting and it could well be that only a minority were breaking the rules of tenancy. That suggests that many flats had a much lower occupancy rate and that other flats had a significantly higher rate. That increases the challenge of emergency evacuation because the escape routes would have been designed only for the intended occupation rate, plus a modest allowance for visitors.
The most important first steps are always to identify how and where the fire started and to locate all victims. It seems that the location of the fire is now known, but that the cause is not and that a final total of the number of victims will not be achieved because of the duration of the fire and the temperatures reached. As flame spreads outwards and upwards, and heat rises, the upper floors experienced conditions that were capable of completely destroying bodies at least as effectively as a crematorium.
The cause of the fire was originally claimed to be an exploding fridge/freezer but this has been discounted by a number of fire specialists as a very unlikely situation. It has been pointed out that while any domestic electrical appliance can over-heat and catch fire, it normally gives plenty of warning, can be extinguished, and is more commonly a situation applying to washing machines and dryers. To over-heat and catch fire requires a period of time and normally generates a smell and smoke. In an unoccupied area, it is possible for this type of fire to develop and spread unnoticed to surrounding combustible materials. In the case of the fire at Grenfell Tower, the currently accepted location of the fire is claimed to have been occupied at the time the fire started. Of particular concern, claims have been made by other residents that the occupier, of the flat identified as the location of the initial outbreak, packed his bags after the fire started and left the building without giving any alarm, or attempting to try to extinguish what may, at that time, have been a small and controllable fire. If the claims are correct, it looks very much as though the fire was started deliberately as an act of arson and murder. Again, it is early days. There could be other reasons for leaving the scene without raising an alarm, such not wishing to be identified for a wide range of reasons, most of which could be some other criminal offence.
As the exact time and location for the initial fire are uncertain, and that the cause is not yet clearly established, it is very difficult to make a reliable assessment of what happened next and why.
Again, the Corbyn shroud wavers are only deepening the tragedy. As long as they ignore the wishes of the victims and the basis of humanity, they are provoking a reaction. They are also increasing the number of conspiracy theories. All of this works against the interests of the victims and their families. It is already starting to fuel conspiracy theories on social media, further fuelled by the police offering to ignore crimes if people come forward, when it may simply be a realistic approach in the interests of finding out what really happened as soon as possible, with possible implications for the inhabitants of other Stalinist tower blocks.
The Stalinist tower blocks, much loved by socialist councils in the 1960s, started off as containing serious design flaws, questionable construction practices and more attention being placed on how to build cheaply, rather than safely. There are always difficult decisions to be made in providing social housing. There are many conflicting views in almost every area. In the 1960s, Britain was already overcrowded, which may be difficult to believe considering the millions who have come into the country since then, but it was a fact in many urban areas. Some relief was achieved by allowing urban sprawl, but this did not address the needs of some of the most vulnerable sections of society. That left a choice of either working with existing housing stock, or replacing much of that stock.
In London and most other cities, there was existing housing stock that dated from the Victorian and Edwardian periods before the First World War. Urban planners looked down their noses at this resource and determined to replace it with sexy new 21st Century housing, or what they thought was sexy 21st Century housing. The result was that the viable housing stock was demolished and people were forced into new tower blocks. Rather than being advanced new designs, the tower blocks owed much to the shoddy housing built in the Soviet union from the 1920s and had the same drab appearance very soon after completion.
Initially, the flats looked great and a big improvement on housing that needed maintenance and painting. What was soon discovered was that the social factors of the designs of the tower blocks introduced new problems and they aged rapidly. In many cases, they soon became the new slums, with corridors and stair wells serving as lavatories, lifts rarely working and some very vulnerable people being shoved into the upper floors where their health did not allow them to climb up and down the stairs which were the only regularly available method of access. Not every tower block suffered in exactly the same way because some local authorities were better at maintenance and flat allocation. However, most tower blocks were faceless buildings where the residents were soon forgotten and invisible. Many became virtual prisoners in their flats.
In the 1960s, there were many scandals in socialist council areas where bribery and corruption seems to have become endemic. Some scandals made national headlines but were only the tip of the iceberg. Contractors were squeezed for bribes and responded by cutting corners and using faulty materials, making poor designs potentially lethal. However, that was some forty years ago and by now all the dangers should have been identified and rectified, either by repair and maintenance, or by demolition and replacement. It appears that this essential action was not taken in many cases across the country. Not every tower block is in this category and not every local authority is guilty of this level of criminal neglect.
There are some threats that cannot be easily addressed by maintenance and improvement. A high rise building cannot be equipped effectively with an external emergency escape system. Equally, the method of construction does not readily allow for a new emergency stair well to be cut through the block. In virtually all emergency scenarios the lift or lifts should not be used until the building is declared safe, forcing all occupants to attempt to use a single stair well. Many occupants will be unable to use the stairs for emergency escape because of health issues and, where this does not apply, at least some tower blocks do not have the capacity in the stair wells to allow for everyone to use them at the same time and under extreme stress. That means that stampedes could cause as many deaths and injuries as the primary emergency. It is one reason why some tower block occupants are advised to remain in their flats until help arrives.
What could be done relatively easily is to equip all tower blocks with sprinkler systems, alarm and detection equipment and manual fire extinguishers. There is no reason why the lessons learned from hotel disasters cannot be applied. The threat envelop is similar with high occupancy and the challenges of training people who are individuals and difficult to make available for training. That is addressed in hotels by clear safety notices in every room and at strategic points in public areas. Emergency lighting is also included to help direct inhabitants to safe escape routes. Many hotels also have public address systems that can be used for safety announcements. There is of course one barrier and that is money. Local authorities manage to pay bureaucrats eye-watering salaries and benefits packages and bestow lavish allowances and expenses on councillors, – at the time of writing this article, one council has voted through an increase in allowances of more than 30% because Labour and Tory councillors joined against UKIP councillors who had campaigned and voted against the increases, but that means they have to save money elsewhere. The easy place to save money is in cutting libraries, avoiding maintenance, repairs and enhancements to housing stock and cutting money from care of the sick and elderly. Naturally, local authorities do not mention this to the rate payers, they just try to blame National Government for ‘austerity’, a strange ‘austerity’ when the Westminster politicians had continued borrowing to fund a record spendathon.
There will be focus on the use of materials in recent work on Grenfell Tower. That is important because it applies to many other buildings, including low-rise housing stock. There should be investigation into why people like Comrade Corbyn voted to exempt Stalinist tower blocks from safety systems, including sprinkler systems. However, there are many other fundamental problems that appear to be about to be swept under the carpet yet again.
Public servants at local and national level do not stint themselves and regard their position not as one of service but of authority, rule over the plebs. Some of the worst offenders are people like Corbyn. Socialism is based on redistribution of wealth and the first redistribution is from the plebs to the ruling ‘elite’. The problem faced by socialists around the world is that they all eventually run out of other people’s money, but usually not before the ‘elite’ have made themselves extremely wealthy.
The tragedy of Grenfell Tower is that it is not just a matter of neglect of housing stock. Great Britain is a small group of islands with much of its population contained in a number of over crowded cities. This means that there are huge pressures on every part of public service and the pressure is increased because completely uncontrolled immigration makes it impossible to adequately plan to provide the necessary services. The socialists have screamed loudly about ‘racism’ whenever the subject is discussed, attempting to shut down debate and this is at least in part because they saw uncontrolled immigration as of party political advantage.
Of course public service planning is not racist but essential public service. Discussion of widespread corruption in public office is not racist, but essential enforcement of the rule of law. The great challenge is that the political Parties who make up the Establishment are all contaminated by the problem. That does not of course mean that every councillor and every member of Assemblies and Parliaments are corrupt self-servers, but there are many who are, and they weaken those who are not. They squander vast sums of tax money and they fail the people in virtually every area of life. The BREXIT win was as much a revolution by the people against this situation and the influence that the EU has had on its development, where unaccountable faceless bureaucrats and corrupt elected representatives have been responsible for its development. It is not just a British problem, but a contamination across Europe and around the world. It is very dangerous because, if it is not addressed urgently, it will lead to civil unrest and even to civil war. To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction even if that reaction may build slowly at times.
By losing control of immigration, successive governments have created problems like Grenfell Tower. To question and change that situation is not racist but essential. It applies to everyone already in Britain, where ever they came from, however they arrived, and what ever their legal status. Slavery is now widely practised in many areas where the rule of law has ceased to exist and in a country that did so much to end this evil practice, spending a large part of its Gross National Product in the early 19th Century to free slaves around the world. Slaves do not benefit from uncontrolled people trafficking, only the evil people who trafficked them. Those who arrived legally do not benefit from uncontrolled immigration because they are mostly new tax payers who have to fund the mess and live with the results. They frequently suffer more than those from families long resident in Britain.
Britain has always welcomed people from around the world. There have been periods of tension when an excessive new influx has disturbed the existing balances, but never on the scale seen today. Grenfell Tower is one consequence and all the old failed Parties are responsible for the neglect that sees over-crowded and unsafe housing. Controlled immigration has worked very well for Britain, providing essential workers and keeping the country in healthy growth. Uncontrolled immigration just destroys the environment and the values that attracted immigrants in the first place. The EU has been a very corrupting influence. It has allowed Britain’s elected representatives to concentrate on helping themselves and abandoning the responsibilities of government. It has been all to easy to allow incompetent overpaid faceless Eurocrats to deluge Britain with unwanted, unnecessary and damaging over-regulation. Grenfell Tower should be a wake up call that Britain needs and deserves conscientious public servants and elected representatives who will be accountable and accept responsibilities that they were appointed or elected to deliver on.
There are many difficult questions to be asked and to be answered honestly. There is also a need to establish a police service that avoids politics and delivers the service they are paid to deliver, equally and fairly, without corruption, without vanity, but with professionalism.