First of all, this is written from the perspective of someone who has lived in tower blocks his whole life, and couldn’t imagine the horror of being caught in a tragedy like Grenfell Tower. This is written out of anger and love, an odd mixture that only occurs in situations like this. RIP to the victims of Grenfell.
I’m sat in my metal lined council house thinking how lucky I am that I’m not surrounded by £10 million worth of cheap plastic cladding, wondering when and how I’m going to escape an inferno that may engulf me and everyone around me. You’re telling me that a council estate in the richest part of London suddenly goes up? One of the only council housing estates in that part of West London, and it goes up in flames. Gentrification in motion right there, must be nice to be on the rich side of West London thinking your cladding probably underwent testing, and you won’t have to throw your baby out of the 10th floor window of an unprecedented blaze. It was £10 million worth of kindling to make sure there’s nothing to rebuild, because I guarantee anything they build there after won’t be affordable to the previous occupants. I hope you rich folk understand how good you have it. If my council contemplate wrapping my house in the kind of cladding that makes Lego consider a law suit, I’m gonna rip it off the wall, and leave it in a nice pile outside their office to give me and mine a 10 minute window of escape before we turn into coal.
Grenfell was wrapped in flammable material. Eventually, it was meant to go up.
Labour have promised 1 million homes, I voted for them but if the homes are of that quality I’d rather live in a Wendy House. At least I have the privilege of knowing its plastic and could probably go up with the heat of a well-aimed cough, instead of being lied to by a council who will take my money and not fix my heating in time for the winter, and wrap me in enough flammable material to warrant a straight-to-earn burial should someone dot a cigarette out in a 5 mile radius. I want to see someone in prison after this. Not a fine, not community service, prison. 30 long years of being fucked by the state so they understand what they did to the average person at Grenfell Tower.
This is in most part to do with gentrification. I simply made a Whisper on the Whisper app saying “Grenfell Tower happened because the people who live there aren’t rich. Gentrification. God I hate rich people.” I know hate is a strong word, but I do. To further the point, that building was fine before rich people decided it wasn’t good looking enough, now look at it. The lives lost are lost because London became “trendy” and poor people are seen as the scourge of Britain, as I found out from my Whisper. Literally, the second reply read “I consider it Darwinism. If anything, Gentrification helps remove the weak from a tribe making it stronger. That fire was one big culling!” Inspiring words there from Mr. dangerous_energy. I know it’s not the most scientific look at this problem. Seeing as the reply was just the opinion of one bottom feeding parasite, the likes of which I’m used to seeing crawl out of dog shit when the heat goes above 15 degrees, but the point can be backed. It’s no coincidence that government tried to pass a bill that would force landlords to make housing habitable. The Conservative government has 70 landlords as MPs in the House of Commons. All 70 voted against. Obviously, this fight can’t be won the right way, so the scenes at K&C council with people shouting “MURDER!” and “JUSTICE!” don’t surprise me.
I see this going one way if something doesn’t change. The working class are faced with less opportunities, worse education and more exploitation from firms not willing to pay a fair wage, now even the promise of safe housing has literally gone up in smoke. If nothing changes, the well-off won’t be able to buy their way out of the riots. I don’t condone rioting, but look at what happened when police shot one person in Tottenham in 2011. Consider the death toll of Grenfell and tell me that public feeling isn’t swaying towards a similar outpouring of emotion.
All I can say now is that I hope the cladding that wraps the buildings in my council estate is removed. We need a revision of the building safety law, and we need government to start treating people as just that, people. Not stats and figures. Not the unemployed or the underprivileged. Not the uneducated or socially dependent. We are people, most of us are hard working, honest and brilliant people. Let us live safe, without fear of the walls around us going up in smoke. Let us have opportunities to thrive, not just survive.