What’s up, people?
Much talk has been about Trump and that whole obstruction of justice thing. Sessions not being able to remember what he ate for breakfast and the Deputy Attorney General possibly having to recuse himself and much more.
Shit, does it ever stop? I get that it’s in everyone’s interest to know all of this but can the US media give themselves a Trump amnesty period or something?
It was also Trump’s birthday this week and as Trevor Noah put it, it feels like we’ve all aged 70 years.
Anyway, for those of us in the UK, the most important story has been the high rise tower, Grenfell Tower, that burned down in North Kensington, London. So far 30 people have been confirmed dead, but we’ve been told that number will rise. The entire situation is so very sad. It makes me sick to my stomach, it really does. My heart goes out to everyone caught up in the fire. Things like this shouldn’t happen at all.
The government are making the right noises. There will be money provided, people will be rehoused, there will be a public enquiry. None of that is good enough. People shouldn’t have to die for change to happen.
At the moment, much is being made of the £10m refurbishment the building underwent last year. That’s a lot of money, right? You don’t spend that much, do a good job and somehow it’s not your fault when the building burns down a year later. All parties involved have been slowly washing their hands of the matter. It’s sickening, really. Complaints and concerns are well documented online. The authorities were told but nothing was done.
It’s a familiar story.
The problem with London is that there’s two versions. Often these two versions co-exist. So, you’ll have social housing on one side of a street and £1m on the other side. You have Central London and all of the nice buildings and stores, you know, the nice touristy places that look good on Instagram. The places that some Londoners can’t afford to go to.
The disparity is sort of ridiculous. I can’t remember the last new social housing project I saw, but I remember the new luxury flats because they’re everywhere. Every. Where. It always annoys me because you’ve got people in these areas that need affordable housing, and what’s being built is anything but affordable.
The sense is always that they want to push lower class people out of these areas and in light of an incident like this, it’s hard not to see some truth in that. Kensington is a very rich borough. Celebrities have properties there, oil tycoons have properties there, politicians, anyone with money.
However, none of that trickles down to the less well off.
Here’s just a few comments from those affected:
“They want people like us out of the area,” said a library assistant who lives in a block at the foot of the flats.
Beinazir Lasharie, a resident and local Labour councillor, said: “We’re a nuisance to the council. Their attitude is: ‘How dare so many ethnic minority foreigners who are not well off live in these ugly flats?’” Lasharie had been evacuated from her flat in a block next to the tower, and was uncertain about when she could return. “They don’t care about us, they don’t listen to us. It’s as if they want us to move out. They are socially cleansing us across the borough.”
“Kensington and Chelsea has looked after its rich tenants very well. It hasn’t looked after its social housing tenants so well.”
From this article in The Guardian, this person notes that:
If you go to different areas in Kensington, you can see a lot of money being invested in that area, but whatever we have here, they cut it. And everything they build here is private. If you go further down this road, it feels like you have gone into a different world.
That’s not unique to Kensington, and quite frankly, while Grenfell Tower should be the immediate priority, every single borough needs to update their fire safety regulations and actually do something about the state of some the housing the provide.
The fact that these people were in a constant state of danger in a place where they should have been the safest is sickening, and no amount of apologies or money is going to change that. Apparently, the government just can’t be bothered. They will make the right noises and spend years going through what really happened, but what people need is action.
If these buildings are no longer safe or for to live in, they need to be knocked down and replaced. Not cladded with cheap materials.
Material used in the cladding that covered the Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.
German construction companies have been banned from using plastic-filled cladding, such as Reynobond PE, on towers more than 22 metres high since the 1980s when regulations were brought in to improve fire safety at residential blocks.
One MP called it corporate manslaughter. It’s hard to argue with that assessment.
Have a safe weekend, snarklings. May the world suck less next week.