So now we know. 555 more victims of the Tory war on the poor in one night (on top of the 30,000 “excess” NHS deaths and the numerous deaths caused by benefits sanctions). It’s clear they believe the 99% are expendable.
Enough is enough. It’s time for them to go
Working from the figures released at the time the fire started (and subsequently concealed), we can do the calculation and work out how many are missing:
Even if we assume the 30 listed as injured were in addition to those listed as rescued, that still makes a total much larger than they’re admitting to: a rough total of 555 people missing presumed dead. On top of this, there were probably also a number of undocumented immigrants, the magnitude of which we’ll never know.
555 victims or more on the altar of austerity, in the service of the great Tory God, Money
That’s more than many other disasters that have happened over the years: More than the London Bridge/Borough attack the week before (9 victims), the Manchester terror attack (22), Hillsborough (96), the Kings Cross fire (31), the Lockerbie bombing (270), the Dunblane shooting (17), the Zeebrugge ferry (193), the Aberfan slag heap disaster (144), the sinking of the Marchioness (51), the Moorgate tube crash (43), or the Pulse Orlando nightclub shooting (49) and the Sandy Hook shooting (27) in America, the Bataclan shooting in Paris (89) and Breivik’s Norway Attacks (77).
Grenfell Tower has more victims than any of these, by a factor of at least 2, and yet it seems that the Government has issued instructions that the number of victims is to be kept quiet, with very slightly rising figures released drip by drip that have no relation to the actual victim count.
Meanwhile, there are stories going round about the real deal. Like the one about one fireman having found a single room which contained 42 bodies ranging in age from babies to the very old.
As Russell Brand has said, Grenfell Tower is a tale of corrupt landlords and complicit government. Somebody needs to be held accountable. But nothing seems to be being done to prevent documents relating to the actions that led up to the disaster from being shredded and deleted from computer servers and email boxes.
Mrs May, I have to tell you that Grenfell Tower is not going to go away.
Corruption and incompetence
This tragedy is more than appalling, it is the result of a series of acts of criminal negligence combined with a complete disregard for the needs, or even the safety of the poor. It makes it absolutely clear that so-called austerity is incompatible with public safety.
The refurbishment at Grenfell Tower is a parable for our times. Made pretty on the outside to please the sensibilities of absentee owners in the blocks opposite, while obvious safety hazards were ignored despite repeated warnings by the residents – who were actually threatened for trying to have the tower made safe. Money saved by choosing cladding that was so flammable it turned a minor fire into an inferno in just a few minutes.
When was the last safety inspection at Grenfell Tower? Residents reported that notices with the dates of the last inspection were dated before the current decade – more than 7 years ago. Were inspections done more recently, or not? If they were, why did the person responsible not bother to note down the date? If not, why not? And why was the fire exit sealed up in 2014?
Austerity’s reputation has gone up in smoke. It’s become clear that when the Tories waved aside the impact of cuts on public health and safety they were playing with people’s lives. Because they believe that 99% of the population don’t actually matter, and in fact, Britain would be better off with fewer people. This attitude has been demonstrated repeatedly by their demonisation of vulnerable groups: the disabled, people with chronic disease, the mentally ill, even patients with terminal illness who fail to die quickly enough. And migrants, of course. Many of the residents of Grenfell Tower were migrants.
Creating scapegoats and removing their lifelines has become a pattern for this government. But when you cut corners repeatedly, eventually your legitimacy falls and crashes to the floor, shattering into pieces. The Tories have seemingly only just discovered that the duty to look after the people is what government is for and they’re scrabbling round trying to cobble a valid reason for their existence together. Good luck with that, Tories. No. I don’t mean that. It’s time for you and your ilk in whatever party you may be skulking to go and play with your multi-billionaire chums. You thought you didn’t need us. Well, we sure as Hell don’t need you.