Grenfell Tower. The Last Straw
It’s a fact that wealth disparity in the borough of Kensington is amongst the most acute in Britain. For those trapped in poverty there it was considered to be among the top 10% of most deprived areas in the country. However something stood out to me as we watched the appalling disaster unfold on the news. T.V. journalists and pundits kept referring to the residents of Grenfell as “poor people”. That description didn’t sit easy with me. Among the survivors I saw a woman described as “The head of a local design company” I also spotted other skilled professionals and tradespeople as events progressed. Such types I wouldn’t describe as poor people, they are aspirational working class people. Intelligent, articulate, hard working. They are also the brutally truthful reminder that this is how tight, how squeezed and how utterly disregarded so called ordinary workers are, especially so in London. It would seem that things are now so bad even skilled professionals can find nowhere more affordable to live than a badly facilitated death trap. Many of them will have fought hard and waited on a long list to get into their homes that are now destroyed. This is your beloved free market. This is where it has taken us.
“There’s no such thing as society.” Margaret Thatcher gleefully said as she saw her dream of economic neo liberalism come into focus. Well…this is where such idealism leads. Are you feeling proud of that?
As things progress some upsetting, disturbing and yet not at all surprising facts are beginning to emerge. It’s not yet proven, yet is highly suspected the cladding on the building caused the disaster. If two pound more per sheet of cladding at a total cost of five thousand pounds had been spent the disaster would probably have been avoided. But that’s not the point of free enterprise is it? The point is to make the highest profit margin and hold little regard as to how it will affect peoples lives. Are you proud of your profits? You’re always claiming you work so hard for them. How entitled are you feeling today? Worse still the cladding was put there for aesthetic reasons. So that millionaires would have less of an eyesore to look at and be reminded every day that they have to move among people worth so much less than them. People that don’t count like them. People that they know in their hearts they are just better than. They don’t need ugly reminders of the actual truth of the world. If we can’t actually entirely enforce the idea “There’s no such thing as society.” then perhaps we can paint over it and hide it behind flammable plastics.
For all reading this, all you Neo Liberals , Conservatives, thinkers, economists and patrons of the right, advocates for free market and the age of self. I’m just going to post here the last words of some that died. These were gathered in the press from social media.
“Forgive me, the fire is here. I’m dying”
“I can’t leave the flat. Please pray for me and my mum.”
“Tell my sons that I love them.”
“Smoke is coming under the doors.”
“I’m staying here with the dogs.”
“We’re not going to make it.”
“Please help me. Please tell my family that I love them.”
“Forgive me everyone. Goodbye.”
Still feeling proud of all you’ve achieved in life? Your profit shares, your mega bonus, you’re filthy lucre.
Your chief representative Theresa May went to visit the place of disaster. Gutless, afraid, guilty and refusing to speak to local residents. Why was that I wonder. Why can’t she face the very people she claims to serve? Is it because she is a pinnacle representative of every ideal that caused this atrocity to come into being? Well is it? I know the answer, I’m asking you.
Our guy Jeremy Corbyn also visited. He was welcomed with open arms by those who have lost everything. He promises to do all he can to help. Remind me again how you are just better than us. Remind me how we’re not really people, we’re a commodity, a consumer. “There’s no such thing as society!”
They decided to cancel The Mansion House dinner “As an act of respect” This is a dinner of bankers, stockbrokers, establishment and politicians where meals are literally served on plates made of gold. I wonder what the price of one of those plates is? Five thousand pounds perhaps? The difference between an estimated hundred people burned to death and your dinner looking the absolute best it can. Are you proud of your status, your connections, where you feel you’ve made it in life? “There’s no such thing as society”