It has been two years since the tragedy of the Grenfell tower fire in which seventy-two people were killed in their homes due to corporate greed. The residents who lived in the tower block predicted the event from 2014 onwards and argued that the refurbishment of the building was not safe. The disdain of the working class by business and government led to the tenants being continuously ignored until their homes burned and 72 of them died in the largest loss of life in London since the second world war.
The rights of private corporations superseded those of human beings and continue to do so during the inquiry which is clearly attempting to blame firefighters for corporate greed. It does not make sense to question firefighters first as they were only present on the final day of years of concerns. The brave men and women who did everything they could to save peoples lives are suffering from PTSD this was not a fire anyone should expect to encounter the building did not fit protocol not vice versa. The cladding was not fire proof causing flames to spread at unprecedented rates, the fire doors did not close or seal properly causing smoke to spread quicker than expected, there was no sprinkler system which would have given the residents a 99% survival rate. This was the fault of government policies and corporations which place profit over people not the fault of underpaid public servants who did the best they could in a unmanageable situation. We cannot allow brave working class men and women to be scapegoated in order to protect those truly to blame for the unavoidable and tragic deaths of at least 72 people. On the 14th of every month since the fire residents, families, supporters, and firefighters have marched together demanding justice the government and corporations responsible have unsurprisingly been absent.
Those who are truly responsible did so because they knew they would get away with it and that appears to be the case. The lack of action to resolve similar issues across the country reflects this so far only 56 of 158 social housing blocks at risk have been fixed and only 3 of 149 privately owned blocks have been fixed leaving tens of thousands of people at risk of the same fate as Grenfell residents. Homeowners in private blocks are facing bills up to £80,000 to fix dangerous building work including the same combustible expanded polystyrene insulation that covered Grenfell. Tests on other potentially dangerous building materials have still not been completed we still do not know the magnitude of the danger of innocent people. The government continues to placate those who are rightfully scared offering a £200m fund to homeowners that will not be available until the end of summer at the earliest. Last night Grenfell United who represent the bereaved and survivors lit up tower blocks in Manchester, Newcastle and London with guerrilla projections highlighting these safety issues that have been ignored by the Tories in favour of endless Brexit talk.
On Sunday the country narrowly avoided another tragedy when flats in Barking caught fire due to unsafe wooden balconies. Again the residents knew this would happen and had been complaining to Bellway homes weeks prior to their homes being destroyed. Thankfully no-one died but their lives have been irreversibly changed after losing their homes and belongings. 15 Grenfell survivors are still living in temporary accommodation and now another community is in search of homes.
How many tragedies will it take before the government seriously act?