Kensington And Chelsea, London, England, United Kingdom
The Grenfell Tower’s torching was absolutely and undoubtedly preventable. The tenants there have been complaining for years about it’s negligence, even with an excellent and thoroughly detailed community blog about the terrible building managers and the willful indifference of city and parliamentary officials.
This horrific disaster was brought forth not only by the cause of the fire, which allegedly was sparked by a malfunctioning refrigerator that had plastic coils, but how it accelerated so fast in the first place. It was caused by the “cladding” encompassing the entirety of the building, supposedly to be used as protection from rain but the popular opinion is that it was used more for decorative purposes to gussy up the area to mesh with recent looming luxury tower development and recently installed fancy public spaces. This cladding is actually banned to use here in America, yet paradoxically this nation has industries that make it and sell it for import where there is little to no regulation, the same with the crappy plastic coiled fridge that ignited the fire.
It’s also more for the actions from those responsible for it’s upkeep and the deeply hidden but naked contempt for it’s residents, made up of working class poor people, recent Syrian refugees and those of modest means.
The NYC DOB and the 100 worst landlords have nothing on the Tories. For it was their rigid ideological conservative thinking that led to the homelessness and deaths of the residents of that building from the majority ruling shutting down of the Labour Party bill to provide safety measures that was actually called the “Homes Fit For Human Habitation”, for the reason described as the culture of safety. And for good measure, the majority of those upper class twit MP’s happen to own and rent properties for habitation themselves.
And it the borough council’s hoarding of 274 million pounds meant for the building’s upkeep and safety, the latter which was legally blown off by officials and exacerbated by gruesome government cutting, seems inspired from the grotesque money managing of NYCHA. Since Grenfell did not even have a sprinkler system installed in the building and apparently was bereft of fire extinguishers. The insane thing is that the RBKC and the KCTMO board had decided that cosmetic improvements were more important than emergency preparedness, as the cladding cost 11 million pounds to install.
The victims of what is being called corporate manslaughter were told to stay in their apts. by phone operators during the inferno. Reportedly most of the advisory signs in the building also suggested that tenants remain inside too if that isn’t too ironically warped. For hours the building blazed people remained inside because of this advice leaving them trapped. To this date, 79 people perished and died and there are still some missing. A mural of photographs of family members and neighbors cover a fence by the charred remains.
Apparently, as is going on here in the boroughs of NYC and all over the nation’s biggest cities (even Nashville) there has been a rush of influx tower hyper-development and ambitious and haughty city planning promoting luxury living and dining, and brand vibrancy nearby the struggling project complexes. The Gentrification Industrial Complex influence and manipulation of cities apparently has no limitations. Although in Britain, it’s called “regeneration”.
And as it is in NYC and other metropolises, London also is experiencing a dwindling middle class and a widening economic gap between the rich and poor.
Days after the inferno and the horrendous protective photo ops and embarrassing video of P.M. Theresa May fleeing a church from the yelling hordes and press photographers, there was actually a report on CBS News at 11 that focused on Grenfell and the pestilence of tower development on the coasts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn (and soon the Bronx) that wondered if it could happen here also. In the 2 minute
segment fragment, they interviewed a DOB official who looked like he shit himself when he claimed that there is nothing much to worry about, which may have some truth because these new behemoths packed by the rivers don’t have the cheap cladding that ignites easily. The fire inspector they skyped with basically gave the same advice as those useless posters in Grenwell’s stairwell.
Since the devastation and destruction of the community of Grenfell, proactive though arbitrary measures were taken that led to the entire evacuation of another public housing building with the same cheap cladding and the transfer of the surviving tenants into a hotel for temporary shelter, a Holiday Inn Express (this chain does great business with the destitute even in London). Unfortunately, they all got kicked out of the hotel after a few weeks on short notice because of prior reservations and of course lack of warning and funding by the horrendous and primeval management group that destroyed their homes and livelihoods.
Not only is this Gentrification’s 911, but it’s neoliberalism’s WTC cleanup site or Iraqi Freedom, since it’s now producing collateral damage and existential dread among the displaced and disenfranchised from the massive tragedy. And like those analogies, the ones truly responsible, the elected and the appointed officials will not face any consequences or express genuine remorse, for this is how the preternatural way of progress works when it comes to shaping societies and economies in the new century. It comes to the point were Some Lives Don’t Matter when it comes to the lower and middle classes because their incomes don’t speak loud enough to be heard or to even give a fuck about, even if the people have a meticulously detailed blog about the rancid incompetence and vile indifference of the former Grenfell management group.