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15 June 2017

Search site for keywords: Grenfell Tower - London - West London - Fire - Council - Housing - Austerity - Cuts

A comment on the horrific 'Tory carnage' in West London

By a Socialist Party member who works near Grenfell Tower

Let's pull no punches. Tory cuts, austerity and deregulation will have played a key part in the awful London tower block tragedy.

Leading Tories will have to be held to account for their abject failure in implementing proper fire safety features in council tower blocks. The only way to hold them to account for yesterday's deaths is for an immediate public inquiry to be set up, led by the tenants, the local community, trade unions, housing experts, emergency services and lawyers with direct expertise in housing legislation.

Tory politicians have laid the basis for this tragedy and they don't live on council estates, so they have nothing to contribute.
Blairites too have contributed to the present housing problems, by allowing mass transfer of council homes to unaccountable management companies, and by carrying out the same policies as Tory councils.

The Grenfell Tower blaze, photo @Natalie_Oxford (Twitter)

The Grenfell Tower blaze, photo @Natalie_Oxford (Twitter)   (Click to enlarge)

There should also be immediate fire safety checks of every tower block in the UK and fire sprinklers and communal alarms fitted. This should start now because we have to end the spectacle of seeing working class folk die because they happen to live in tower blocks.

Fire safety checks should be done regularly and not have to be fought for like I/we had to do in the tower block I now live in. Folk who live in tower blocks are not some class of sub-humans who are not deserving of the best.

In 1987 I was summarily made homeless from a council tower block by storm damage so I have some idea of what it is like to be outside your home with nothing but the clothes you stand in and having to basically rebuild things from scratch.
Nobody died in our crisis but only through sheer luck and the quick thinking of one policeman who stood outside screaming at us to vacate the block. Our campaign quickly found out that the block had been built by cowboy builders.

After the Lakanal House tragedy in Southwark an inquiry found that, among other things, proper fire safety checks had not been done. Earlier this year Southwark council pleaded guilty to four offences (regarding Lakanal House) under the Regulatory Reform (Fire) Safety Order and was fined 270,000, plus 300,000 costs.

In both instances tenacious campaigns got some resolution but it took time. In this new case we do not have time. Answers will need to be found fast and solutions rapid. If the recommendations from the Lakanal fire had all been implemented the chances are that the tragedy yesterday may not have happened.

I never again want to have a conversation with someone whose friend has, of yet, been unable to to locate her teenage daughter who failed to escape that burning block with the rest of her family. This Tory carnage must end.


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