The devastating fire in North Kensington must have had us all thinking of 9/11. And yet this was a preventable, (in all likelihood) accidental fire in what is supposed to be the fifth richest nation on earth.
Personally I feel deeply ashamed that such an appalling inferno, in which at least 17 people perished, can happen in 2017 and in municipally owned housing in one of the richest boroughs in the country.
It is an indictment of our government, whose basic requirement for its existence is to ensure defence and justice for its citizens. Clearly it failed in both at the Grenfell tower.
Yet again it comes back to light touch regulation so beloved of the Neoliberal state.
Landlords are supposed to conduct their own fire risk assessments – something for which they are mostly unqualified and where they are never a disinterested party.
Previously fire certificates would have to be obtained from the fire service. This both levelled the playing field for all participants and gave the fire service an intimate knowledge of their patch.
The rolling back of ‘red tape’ is relentless – just last year the requirement to fit sprinklers in all new schools was abolished.
This is the nasty party in action.
There is much obsessing by the Brexiteers about Britain’s place in the world. The terrifying pictures from North Kensington broadcast round the world will have served to confirm how backward we are.
We may not be a failed state but by failing to invest we are a state that regularly fails its citizens.
More in anger than much hope I have signed a petition to reinstate proper fire inspections here.
The government has a duty of care to all its citizens. It needs to be reminded of it.