Friday, 16 June 2017

The UK: In a country where the poor are roasted for the privileged

The ringing question
"What does it take to get the voice of the poor in this country heard?" A member of the audience at the BBC Question Time broadcast on Thursday the 16th of June 2017.
On the 14th of July, Grenfell Tower, an apartment block of 24 storeys was reported to be on fire around 1:00 AM, what was shocking was the rapidity with which the fire spread with resulting fatalities that could rise to over 100. [Grenfell Tower fire - Wikipedia]
What made this fire and tragedy more shocking was the fact that the tower block residents, the Grenfell Action Group had been complaining and agitating about fire safety and hazards from as far back as 2013. [Grenfell Action Group]
Money for style over safety
In recent years, a £8.7 million refit was done to the apartment block, completed in 2016, the activity included a suspected accelerant cladding that is banned in Germany and the United States of America, which might give a lie to the idea that our building safety regulations are worth the paper they are written on.
The refit which could have included fitting in a sprinkler system at the cost of £138,000 was not done, invariably putting aesthetics above the safety of human life.
It goes without saying that a whole institutional framework in the British establishment involving council apparatchiks, councillors, mayors and ministers are responsible for not learning lessons of the past, ignoring pertinent concerns, sitting on reports and recommendations that should have been expedited and implementing stringent cuts in the relentless pursuit of cutting the deficit at the expense of the human lives of the poor considered insignificant, irritant and irrelevant to their absurdly greater purpose and goals.
Mining for a forced-upon humanity
When the Prime Minister visited the scene of the tragedy yesterday, it failed to occur to her that leadership includes taking the brickbats whilst being there to offer succour, sympathy, comfort, empathy and assurances to the victims. She failed to use her humanity and the opprobrium that resulted after other leading politicians and senior royalty visited and interacted with the people has forced her to find the smidgen of compassion eked out with duress.
It goes without saying that Theresa May has lost the moral right to be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Despite her remedially late actions, if at the first opportunity the Prime Minister of this great country could not for whatever reason meet with victims of an entirely avoidable tragedy exacerbated by some member of her cabinet, she by all terms cannot then aver that she has the authority to negotiate Brexit on our behalf.
The matter is about humanity, it is political, it is social, it is economic, it is about government, it is about caring, it is about a more equal society and for the unfortunate souls lost in the Grenfell Tower fire, it is the realisation that no one thought they mattered until the clamour for justice has forced the cossetted and comfortable political class to feign a sense of empathy with the poor who normally wield very little power and rarely have their voices heard.
The poor left to rot
In the last 7 years, the changes in society security entitlements, the outsourcing of eligibility criteria to death panels with a profit motive, the cuts to public services, the starving of the National Health Service to ready the institution for a fire sale to the moneyed classes, the dearth of buildings and accommodation for the working classes and the favouring of the rich over the poor in terms of access and policy initiatives has been a race to the bottom that has widened the chasm between the rich and the poor to an unbridgeable existence.
We have a democracy in name only that in its reality is the government of the people, by the few for the fewer still.
That is why the question at the beginning of this blog needs asking, “What does it take to get the voice of the poor in this country heard?”
Hold them criminally responsible
The blood of the innocently shed out of indifference, disinterest, the lack of consideration and concern revelling in institutional inhumanity shall be visited on the heads of all those responsible. Nothing but a criminal prosecution of the whole chain of responsibility that allowed the Grenfell Tower tragedy would be adequate justice.
Meanwhile, the need to expedite action to rehouse the victims and find means of ameliorating compensation for them must be the most urgent consideration. It is shocking that in the 5th largest economy in the world we suffered such a display of the dereliction of duty to our poor as if we were in some lawless and chaotic Bantustan.
No, I do not think the government have nearly begun to feel the aggrieved sense of injustice and anger from the people, that they presided over this atrocity must be a blot on their records, recorded for posterity without the mercy of sophistry. These leaders who engage with soundbite are completely out of touch with our reality. Send them packing forthwith.

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