So it seems Labour have decided they are going to really kick up a stink over the fire at Grenfell Tower in West London. As a consequence there are a lot of people now who are being forced to defend themselves from vexatious Labour finger-pointing. The critical decision which made a small unremarkable and containable incident into a deadly towering inferno wasn’t a political one. Can you imagine how serious it would be for anyone caught in the firing line were that the case.
On the 16th of June of Raheem Kassam tweeted a summary on the party-political dynamic in play making it as clear as possible in 140 characters that the Labour campaign to pin this on the tories is unfounded. More than 5000 retweets seem to support his argument.
Another Angry Voice blog is now circulating a schematic analysis of the tweet from Raheem with a long blog to go with it. I have not read the blog as the lack of logic in the graphic on which the blog is based contains too higher level of logical fallacy for any following words to rectify.
I think the basic premise at work in Raheem’s tweet is that it is not the fault of Theresa May and does not warrant somehow changing the government to a Labour one…. I think that’s a pretty fair place to start.
The fire became a disaster as a consequence of the actions of the decisions made during the refurbishment process. The company who manufacture the panels don’t recommend use on tall buildings. The advice is not to use those panels on buildings which are over the height that fire fighters are able to reach. The refurbishers went against the advice from the manufacturer. The manufacturer is totally right to make these panels as there are legitimate uses for the product and isn’t responsible for incorrect installation as in this case.
Precisely, at some point a person or committee unknown went for option A instead of option B. The decision most likely based on cost.
1. The first point in Raheem’s tweet about local Labour government… the ward councillor for the location of the block is a Labour councillor. For that to be relevant either way you would have to prove that there was some sort of debate and decisions made pertinent to the refurbishment decisions on cladding or some action which meant the refurbishment was forced by the council to be conducted as it was. That didn’t happen, the refurbishment team were neither forced to do this by tory councillors and it wasn’t mentioned in the council chamber or in any other context by Labour councillors.
2. Similar to above points, it would have been necessary for the Labour representatives to have mentioned it and for tories to have overruled them. They didn’t bring this up and the councillors didn’t debate it from either side because it was a decision made during the redevelopment process.
3. The point about Sadiq Khan being mayor addresses the premise that simply having Labour representation does not mean the world is immediately saved or protected from every disaster. The undertones emanating from this campaign by Labour in this case are that Labour have some innate ability to make architectural decisions within their administrations which are inconceivable if the party is branded blue instead of red. If the tories had known then it wouldn’t have been done. Similarly, if Labour had known then they would have ordered the landlord to strip the cladding off the building shortly after assuming office in 2016. It simply wasn’t a matter within the political sphere of discussion.
If you wanted to try to accuse a political party of having some culpability there are facts which support pinning similar accusations on Labour MPs and Labour controlled councils in other parts of London where tower blocks were similarly refurbished in the naughties under a Labour government. The refurbishment of Grenfell Tower came extremely late in the day, the majority of these towers were refurbished ten years ago, long before Conservatives came back to government.
A sensible response to this disaster would be for councillors everywhere of all stripes to investigate in their own areas and begin lobbying local landlords and housing associations to remove this cladding from high-rise buildings in their council wards. That would be concrete action which would show in practical terms that councillors are really trying to represent their local electorate.