George Galloway: Grenfell fire was a crime

Monday, June 11, 2018

Nobody will ever forget the raging inferno of Grenfell Tower. But I have to remember it, see it, smell it every day. I was living and working close by when the incineration of scores of people and the scorching of the lives of hundreds more took place that fateful day.

My child goes to school with Grenfell children, whose parents amongst others elected me as a school parent-governor. We visit his friends in the "hotels" in which many still live in lieu of home.

I was proud of the role played by talkRADIO, in particular Sam Delaney, in the aftermath of the crime. Everyone is on a story in the beginning, only the best stick with it, never let it go.

You will have noticed I called it a crime, rather than as many do a disaster.

Whilst disastrous no doubt this was more than a disaster. It was a crime.

A crime by those who sold cyanide panels knowing they were to be used on a building taller than the regulations allowed such panels to be fitted on.

A crime by the contractors who fitted the panels knowing they were forbidden by law.

A crime by the persons yet unknown at the Kensington and Chelsea Council who signed off the work knowing it to be unlawful or negligent in not knowing.

A crime by the council, who let council-house accommodation without the necessary sprinklers, fire-doors and emergency exits in a borough so rich they could give Council Tax refunds to the already rich, and which sits on a surplus of hundreds of millions of pounds.

A crime by the former mayor of London, who closed so many fire stations, sacked so many firefighters and decommissioned so many appliances.

A crime by the society which had permitted - all over the country - council estates to fester and decay like Gulags into which the necessary poor and marginalised were cast. Within yet beyond the pale.

In the United States - not normally regarded as an anti-business regime - many of those responsible would already be behind bars - as the Reuters disaster specialist I interviewed on the Mother of All Talk Shows recently pointed out.

In Britain some enterprises are too big to fail and their CEOs too big to jail. When we see a can, we kick it, as far up the road as we can and if possible into the longest of grass. That's what we've done with Grenfell. Dead - 71 Justice - 0

And that's the biggest crime of all.

Words: George Galloway