Grenfell Tower - A Symbol

The charred image of Grenfell Tower symbolises the sad current state of Great Britain.grenfell

This is not a time to seek political leverage, nonetheless similarities to the 2009 Lakanal house fire in Camberwell cannot be ignored. Both buildings had similar flammable, exterior cladding.  Of particular interest is timing. The fitting of the Grenfell Tower cladding took place several years after the Lakanal House fire. To make matters worse, according to residents the cladding was attached to the building with wooden battens!

The universal instruction when a fire occurs is to exit the building in an orderly fashion and do not re-enter, however the residents of Grenfell house were told to return to their apartments if the fire was not in their part of the building.

The building is managed by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, a company limited by guarantee. Suffice for this missive to say the directors are only liable for nominal amounts and manage the entire council housing stock of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Britain is a champion of privatization, even going as far as contracting out dementia care to among others, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Here in Godzone we have experienced the efficiency of Serco who failed miserably on 2 occasions to manage Mt Eden Prison.

But the real issue in Britain is the class system. Poor quality building construction and lack of fire safety such as no fire alarms, no sprinklers or smoke ventilation are much less likely to be found in the more affluent parts of south Kensington and Chelsea. The great unwashed are a lesser concern.

Back in 1969, a cheaply constructed block of London flats known as Ronan Point, built to rehouse tenants from East End slums partially deconstructed after a gas explosion. The floors collapsed like a pack of cards as all the load-bearing fixings were located totally for downward load. Alas, an explosion heads in all directions and the Poms were caught red-faced.

A disdain for the lower social orders goes back centuries in Britain. Even as recent as the First World War, frontline infantrymen were referred to by generals as “scum of the shires” and had no hesitation in sending them out first.

As War Minister in WW1, Churchill was widely reported as believing that an army formed from a bunch of convicts was of limited value. Some historians claim the Anzacs were sent to impossible causes such as Gallipoli where huge losses were inevitable, in order to save British troops for later battles.

With “no wogs” to whip or colonies to exploit, Britain is sinking down the drain-hole faster than bathwater. They are a deluded nation who cling to a misguided belief that British is Best and their country doesn’t need the EU.

Just before I deserted that country in 1988, I saw a condom machine with the famous Kite Mark beneath which was the motto, “Approved to British Standards.”  Written in marker pen next to it was the immortal line, SO WAS THE TITANIC.

Last modified on Saturday, 24 June 2017 15:44

Julie Carter

Op-ed article writer

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