Friday, 16 June 2017

Hell on Earth



"Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do"
Voltaire

I am writing this because it is the only thing I can do. It is too awful to go through it without crying, too raw to put any sense or reason, too avoidable. So, I am only left with words, I am not speechless... yet. I wrote about a similar catastrophe that befell on Lac Mégantic in Québec, Canada, almost four years ago. That time, 47 people died in a blaze of fire of shale gas, when a 50 plus car runaway train, loaded with combustible, descended a mountain, crashed and exploded into the town, without warning. To date, the victims' families are still wrangling through courts, seeking redress, when both the American and Canadian Governments are closing ranks with the rail companies to impede any settlement. Be prepared, because the culprit is once again... Greed.

Three nights ago normal standard folk went to sleep in Notting Hill, just like in Lac Mégantic and similarly, quite a few did not survive the night, I don't know for certain how many (30 so far, maybe 120 in the end). The main difference is that the victims, this time, suffered a long and terrorising death, most expecting to be saved as they were promised they would, others fighting for their lives, trying to escape. 

There is a difference between horror and terror. You witness the first and suffer the second. On Grenfell Tower that night, countless moments of terror were suffered by human beings, while spectators witnessed it, people jumping from windows to their deaths, mothers throwing their babies and children in the hope that they could survive, as they knew they wouldn't if they stayed put. People witnessing the blaze from the ground, powerless, in shock, listening to last words from their loved ones, saying their last goodbyes, inhaling their ashes, in what became an enormous, gory, vertical crematorium.

Yesterday morning I tweeted to The Metropolitan Police that this was mass murder, a crime scene. 8 hours later it finally became one.
https://twitter.com/pfrr/status/875280986384322561
I had friends telling me that I should not politicise this event, should heal the wounds and build on the solidarity already so evidently displayed. I had to disagree. This event has been nothing else but political. This was an Act of Terror, with multiple deaths, with multiple layers of accountability, so many that they all became immune, "organized" through years by political councillors, Members of Parliament, of Government, "Sir Humphreys" of Whitehall.

Where in this country, or any civilized one, can a landlord (Kensington and Chelsea Council) plan a refurbishing, fund it, request planning permission from their own offices, approve it, inspect it and sign it off? How much more incestuous can one organization be? Social housing in London and all over the country is this enormous cash cow, preying on the most vulnerable. The double-barrelled Conservative Leader of KCC (and so is his Deputy) mentioned constantly the £10 million pound refurbishment done last year for the benefit of the residents, when it is obvious that such refurbishment was a plastic (literally) surgery, to embellish the eye sore that Grenfell Tower was for the affluent neighbourhood. It had nothing to do with the residents themselves, it was just an enormous financially legally corrupt operation, to increase and inflate the prices of the surrounding real estate. It backfired (please forgive me the insensitive pun, I will change it when I think of a better description). How was this money spent? There were 120 flats in that tower. It is £75,000 per flat. You could put gold taps in all of them and still have a lot of change:

£7,000 (fully fitted Miele kitchen incl. top of the range white goods)
£10,000 (fully fitted bathroom with gold taps)
£10,000 (fully fitted top quality carpets)
£3,000 (new coat of paint)
£10,000 (painting and refitting common areas)

I am still on £40,000 only per flat (£5 million in total). Every flat could have got a brand new BMW attached to it. Where was all that money spent? It is as unaccounted as the bodies lying on the tower. The cladding was £500,000. They might as well have covered the tower with hay bales, but I guess that would have been more expensive. The total spent per flat was no more than £5,000, the total given to the contractor (under what circumstances?) no more than £3,000,000, the total hardware, materials and workforce expenditure around £2,500,000. Where are the other £6 million? I tell you... it was spent with "friends", with unaccountable (how appropriate) consultants, feasibility plans, health and safety reports, people earning £500 an hour to maintain their millionaire houses in Surrey and their latest BMW leased vehicle. An army of Armani suits landed on Grenfell Tower, with immaculate hard hats, clipboards, looking knowledgeably to their surroundings, taking as much time as they needed, as money was not a problem. By the time the build had to start there was not much left. That is why, very soon, you will hear the words  of "there will be lessons to be learned" which translates as "we did it the cheapest we could, because that people did not deserve any better". This is the inhumane mindset, arrogant, racist, classist, self-serving, (morally) corrupt.

The Metropolitan Police should request immediately all communications (private and official) between Kensington and Chelsea Council, their council leaders and their contractors, verify all the expenditure and money transactions between all the parties involved (including private ones) and make them public, whether or not there is criminal intent, nepotism or contract facilitating.

I hear Jeremy Corbyn asking for posh flats to be requisitioned to re-house the victims on an attempt of some class revenge porn.
That is not the right way. The Grenfell Tower should now remain forever as is, preserved as a National Monument, a stark reminder to all those layers of governing heartless ineptitude, a mark of respect to all that perished there, to all that will have to remain alive, with those horrifying images, screams and smells they witnessed that night. If the tower is demolished for real estate profiteering, you might as well go and spit on the graves of the deceased.

One message of praise to Dany Cotton, the London Fire Brigade Commissioner that under that exceptional emergency situation, ordered her crew to go in at their life's risk to save whoever they could, putting the risk manuals in the bin, as humans should always come before procedures. The fact that her orders were uncontested, only shows the trust and faith the crew deposits on her. Strong and stable.

For me, Theresa May has now become the image, the epitome of all the above failures. That will never change. I know that she goes to church on Sundays as a Christian. I have to tell her, that because of her Lust, her Gluttony, her Avarice, her Vanity, her Wrath, her Sloth, her Envy, for sure she will burn in Hell. That may probably be the only solace for the victims of this event... never have to see her face again.

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She's fit?

My apologies for this Julie... one day I may tell you the story.