At the time of writing this, the death toll in the Grenfell Tower fire stands at 30. The sight of a burning building in London could well be an effigy for government incompetence at local and UK level.
Who is responsible for the building? Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council in charge of housing, but fire regulations, including whether to have sprinklers or not, are under the purview of the UK Government.
The reason for the rapid spread of the fire has yet to be determined. Cladding on the outside of the building and comparatively lax UK fire regulations are suspected to have exacerbated the blaze. Guidance was issued to residents to stay in their flat in the event of a fire, and this might also have added to the high death toll and the number of injuries.
Scotland Yard is investigating, and Theresa May has ordered a full inquiry into what’s happened. It will likely take years, and in the meantime, all we have is dead bodies, 70 people missing and a smouldering building.
The prime minister describes herself as a ‘one-nation’ Tory. The mantra warns of divisions between rich and poor and warns that if they occur, the country is doomed.
And now we have them – a mainly working-class housing complex surrounded by affluent neighbourhoods burnt to the ground.
Grenfell Action Group had been issuing warnings for years about the state of the building. It’s not politicising a tragedy to wonder if a building in central London would have ignored for so long.
If arrests are to be made, then they should be made. The British public is now well and truly tired of any aristocratic or political privilege obfuscating justice.
The scale of the tragedy in the capital of the UK demands accountability, and it demands justice. And there may not be one specific party to blame or one particular person.
There is nothing wrong with decentralised government, but when everyone is finger pointing something has gone wrong with the system that’s meant to serve citizens.
In the aftermath of the Dunblane school massacre, the UK government passed legislation banning ownership of all handguns. Americans slaughter each other daily, and the system is defended or ignored, for the convenience of legislators hiding being a fractured system.
The UK has no such excuse. What has happened is a tragedy and the public demand action, reform and justice.