Saturday 17 June 2017

Grenfell Tower, a tragedy waiting to happen?

Grenfell Tower, in Kensington, west London in the early hours of June 14th, 2017. An inferno sweeping through a London Tower block trapping many residents where dozens are feared dead.  
It is a sorry state to see Britain so badly divided.  No, so much Labour and Conservatives thing any longer but have transgressed beyond socially or morally acceptable to Them and Us, a polarised society.   Fuelled more so by the press hungry for headlines going out of their way to politicise defects, mistakes and shortcomings.  Playing on the those who are vulnerable for a rating score. Matters days earlier were of no concern to them, but as a tragedy unfolded, they take the moral ground to show purported gaping holes the government played with people's safety.  Rightly or wrongly the social media, an echo chamber, goes on to amplify this reporting causing more anger and frustration to an already tearfully sad situation.

Notting Hill district, in Kensington area of West London, where Grenfell Tower is situated couldn't be more representative of this social divide, neatly separating the vulnerable from the affluent. Including, of course, those immigrants coming to this country seeking a better life.  Witnesses statements added to reports of casualties while the death toll is still rising, latest estimates speak of well over 50 people.  A very high number in a country where we thought had the highest safety standards in the world.  But for a contemporary culture of  "I followed the rules" caused catastrophic mistakes are now to blame.  Causes of fire are yet to be determined, and the Metropolitan Police have instigated a criminal investigation.

I shudder to contemplate how this government or any government can quell this anger, with more to come I am sure.  Austerity, since the financial crisis of 2003 has taken its toll as social deprivation is on the increase.  Standard of living is falling for many; job insecurity is deterring salary increases.  Adequate housing and social welfare need to focus on those in need to fuse the divide and subdue the anger where regeneration of this deprived area is often perceived as attempts on social hygiene by the wealthy.  Income distribution is therefore in desperate need for reform. UK riots of 2011; Brexit and the swing to the left in the recent general election are real markers for dissatisfaction.

Unfortunately, I see this government has temporarily lost its grip on reality one needs to ask how many wake-up calls does it need to stir it into action.  There is anger on our streets, and anarchy is spreading by those ready to exploit it and weaponising it for their own political ends.  Besides the persistent inequalities, issues such as adequate social housing need government's urgent attention.  It is also high time for the media to act responsibly in uniting British society towards a common cause; Britain, as one caring nation.   

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