From Daily Mirror: Theresa May has refused to appoint a diverse panel to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, it emerged today. It is feared that the retired Court of Appeal judge lacks first-hand experience of the complex cultural factors underpinning the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
From The Guardian: Britain’s human rights watchdog is to launch an inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire that will examine whether the Tory government and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea failed in their duties to protect life and provide safe housing.
The dramatic intervention by the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has the potential to draw damning conclusions about the role of the state, could foreshadow the official inquiry, which has been criticised for excluding social housing policy from its remit. The commission’s recommendations are due to be published in April, considerably earlier than the official inquiry’s full findings.
From Evolve Politics: Just five months after a catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower claimed the lives of approximately 80 people, Kensington’s local Conservative party have been exposed conducting a survey asking local residents if they still cared about the tragedy.
In the letter, first published on the Guido Fawkes website, the Kensington, Chelsea & Fulham Conservatives survey asks residents ‘how important’ the Grenfell Tower tragedy was to them still. Read more
From Daily Mirror: Two thirds of the families who lost their homes in the Grenfell Tower fire are still living in hotels, the government has admitted.
From the Guardian: Councils have said the Tory government is failing to release funds to improve the fire safety of dozens of tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower disaster despite promising that a lack of financial resources should not stand in the way of essential works.
From The Guardian: Only two families who escaped Grenfell Tower have moved into permanent new homes, despite a firm commitment from Theresa May two days after the fire that everyone would be rehoused within three weeks. Approximately 150 households are still scattered across London in 36 hotels. The hotel bill (excluding meals) already stands at more than £5m.
George Monbiot tells Double Down News: “What happened in Grenfell Tower was murder, mass murder.
“It’s ‘let’s strip away’ all the public protections which prevent lots of people from being incinerated.
“There’s a whole infrastructure of fake think tanks, of these neoliberal lobby groups, funded by dark money, journalists, columnists in the corporate press, government ministers and advisers, whose whole role in life is to try to destroy public protections. because those public protections limit corporate profits. Read more
From The Independent: The Tory Government has reportedly dropped plans to ease fire safety standards in new schools after the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 79 people.
From the Daily Express: In 2014, Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea Council decided to hand back £100 to residents paying the top rate of council tax in an “overachieving efficiency drive”, while it had also stockpiled reserves of £274 million.
Jonathan Pie: “This country spends millions papering over poverty with flammable cladding”… and it’s a metaphor for Tory ideology
Jonathan Pie on Tory Britain: “This country spends millions on social housing. Not building social housing or making it safe, clean and habitable, but where we spend millions papering over poverty with flammable cladding.”
Is austerity putting lives in danger?
Posted by Jonathan Pie on Sunday, June 18, 2017
“If that isn’t a metaphor for what this government’s ideology has done to our country, I don’t know what is.
“Cladding over poverty, so that posh people simply don’t have to look at it. Not in any way improving poor people’s lives, just ensuring that posh people don’t have to look at shitty houses. Priority #1.
“For an extra £2 you can make each section of cladding fireproof. ‘What’s the fucking point of that?’ Says it all, doesn’t it. Cladding over poverty, a veneer of compassion, a dangerous, sub-standard, least-amount-of-hassle-possible facade, to ensure the rich don’t have to acknowledge the existence or realities of being poor.
“We don’t need to make social housing better, we just need to make it look better. Because then property prices in the area will increase, and that is good for our economy, which is good for everyone… But mainly good for people in nice houses. Read more
Video from ITV News captures the moment that protesters stormed the local town hall in Kensington, demanding action from the Tory-controlled council in the wake of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire:
Corbynator @Corbynator2 The moment protesters stormed Kensington town hall, amid anger over the response to the fire#kensingtonandchelsea ITV NewsProtesters storm Kensington town hall as anger boils overProtesters stormed the local town hall in Kensington demanding action in the wake of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire. ITV News
Posted by Walking the Breadline on Friday, June 16, 2017
Watch video from 5 News of angry community protests, including shouts of ‘coward’ and ‘get out’, as Theresa May departs St Clements church near Grenfell Tower, surrounded by an angry community.
Warning: this clip contains profanities and strong language.
From The Independent (Jan 2012): Prime Minister David Cameron said in January 2012 that his new year’s resolution was to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”, calling it an “albatross around the neck of British businesses”.
ITV journalist Robert Peston writes on Facebook in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy:
“Austerity seems to have become particularly toxic in a system where responsibility for vital safety decisions is so diffuse: we have ministers in charge of regulations, councillors funding an arms length management company, and a management company placing a refurbishment contract with the cheapest bidder.”
He continues: “The system… we have [is] designed to drive down costs and save money, not to put the safety of people first.”
Read his full Facebook post below:
This video gives a sense of the number of people and the energy of the Justice4Grenfell action as it passes Downing Street.
Corbynator @Corbynator2 22m22 minutes agoMore #JusticeForGrenfell arriving at Downing Street. Anger being directed at Theresa May.#kensingtonandchelsea Michael Gray
Posted by Walking the Breadline on Friday, June 16, 2017
“The culture of greed, selfishness and narcissism that’s been promoted across this country has to change.” – North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove
North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove is one of many expressing anger in the aftermath of the West London fire. He talks to Channel 4 News.
"The culture of greed, selfishness and narcissism that's been promoted across this country has to change."North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove is one of many expressing anger in the aftermath of the West London fire.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, June 16, 2017
From The Guardian: Material used in the cladding that covered Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.
Manufacturers Omnis had been asked [by Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.
From Metro: A lot of people are questioning why Theresa May refused to meet residents during a “private” visit after the Grenfell Tower fire.
From The Guardian: Labour has called on the government to answer “some very serious questions” about why it failed to act on coroners’ concerns about two previous tower block fires before the catastrophic blaze at Grenfell Tower.
John Healey, the shadow housing minister, demanded that a government minister come to the Commons for a special statement session on Thursday. “Overnight we have asked the government: get a minister into parliament today, let parliament recognise how serious this tragedy is,” Healey told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Read more