Grenfell five months on: ‘They are not the same children as they were’
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but many residents complained about poor fire safety and other problems with the building, which was managed by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The residents’ organisation, Grenfell Action Group, had repeatedly warned of major fire safety lapses since 2013, and also noted past fires and fire-related incidents in similar blocks managed by the same company, which they felt were related to poor fire safeguards and management company fire policies, one of which was a directive telling residents to stay in their flats in case of fire. The group warned that only a “catastrophic” fire would finally force the block’s management to treat fire precautions and maintenance of fire-related systems to a proper standard.
Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) tweeted at 4:07 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
Grenfell is the manifestation of concealed neglect and corruption. Immediate change required. @chunkymark defines it here. https://t.co/4R8MQ15ExA (http://twitter.com/rustyrockets/status/875293599788929024?s=17)
Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) tweeted at 4:09 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
This roll call of the missing from the London tower block inferno is utterly heartbreaking
Joey Ayoub 🌹 (@joeyayoub) tweeted at 2:02 AM – 14 Jun 2017 :
The Grenfell Action Group has been warning about this for years.
#GrenfellTower #londonfire #London (http://twitter.com/joeyayoub/status/874899717997678592?s=17)
The Times of London (@thetimes) tweeted at 3:31 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
Senior staff at the not-for-profit company which manages Grenfell Tower earned more than £650,000 last year https://t.co/p24QIDRdiyhttps://t.co/CzdSmpdPqH (http://twitter.com/thetimes/status/875284498287558656?s=17)
Grahame Morris (@grahamemorris) tweeted at 1:54 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson closed 10 fire stations but spent £37 million on plans for a vanity bridge which will never be built. https://t.co/6J7aKeGUP4 (http://twitter.com/grahamemorris/status/875260311321890816?s=17)
Craig Calhoun (@craigjcalhoun) tweeted at 5:15 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
London Fire Shows Why Britons Don’t Trust the System https://t.co/wgnoNAMQFn(http://twitter.com/craigjcalhoun/status/875310733583667200?s=17)
Joseph Willits (@josephwillits) tweeted at 5:09 AM – 15 Jun 2017 :
“The fire is here now, goodbye” – messages to Syria from Mohammad Alhajali, killed in #GrenfellTower – heartbreaking https://t.co/mDQsIz9pnJ (http://twitter.com/josephwillits/status/875309226012397569?s=17)
Co.Design (@FastCoDesign) tweeted at 4:23 AM – 16 Jun 2017 :
The world’s mother tongues mashed up into a big data bubble https://t.co/QjvMn6YCCQ (from 2015) https://t.co/PV8VCy5vbd (http://twitter.com/FastCoDesign/status/875659986805944322?s=17)
mike john (@wmjohn) tweeted at 12:46 AM – 17 Jun 2017 :
£2 cheaper per square metre than Reynobond FR, which stands for ‘fire-resistant https://t.co/ag0XR3RZgH (http://twitter.com/wmjohn/status/875967848530751488?s=17)
Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) tweeted at 5:59 AM – 18 Jun 2017 :
Watch carefully where #Grenfell survivors are housed. Most shameful end to this is a community dispersed and luxury flats on the site. (http://twitter.com/harikunzru/status/876409044105404417?s=17)
dan hancox (@danhancox) tweeted at 4:43 AM – 18 Jun 2017 :
Grenfell survivors told they will be declared “intentionally homeless” if they refuse relocation outside of London https://t.co/wRbdX78fSm (http://twitter.com/danhancox/status/876389822713278464?s=17)
Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) tweeted at 5:51 AM – 20 Jun 2017 :
Darran Anderson (@Oniropolis) tweeted at 4:41 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) tweeted at 4:28 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
BREAKING Downing St says approximately 600 high rise buildings in England have similar cladding to Grenfell Tower. (http://twitter.com/PolhomeEditor/status/877835610303508480?s=17)
Alex Tomlinson (@alexillustrator) tweeted at 4:44 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
@Oniropolis It’s going to be as ubiquitous as asbestos. (http://twitter.com/alexillustrator/status/877839776023429120?s=17)
Darran Anderson (@Oniropolis) tweeted at 4:46 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
this HAS to be a turning point. (http://twitter.com/Oniropolis/status/877840194317279232?s=17)
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:39 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
back from Grenfell as someone who was in NYC on 911 it’s all disturbingly familiar: the “missing” posters flowers candles poster board (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/877853447885869056?s=17)
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:41 AM – 22 Jun 2017 :
Here’s from walls near #Grenfell https://t.co/v0339xXb16 (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/877854053258022912?s=17)
Dr. Gary Slutkin (@GSlutkin) tweeted at 5:15 AM – 23 Jun 2017 :
#GrenfallTower #London fire a result of fridge malfunction plus flammable cladding in crowded poverty.
More buildings need checking. https://t.co/gGkfhzXdKP (http://twitter.com/GSlutkin/status/878209923477274624?s=17)
Deeyah Khan (@Deeyah_Khan) tweeted at 5:36 AM on Tue, Jun 27, 2017:
Every single sample of cladding sent for testing has now failed fire safety tests: https://t.co/1xe5oitfXN
paul mason rt
Imogen Tyler (@DrImogenTyler) tweeted at 4:23 AM – 28 Jun 2017 :
#grenfell epitomises “austerity state” local & national gov unable to adequately respond to catastrophe @ElGingihy https://t.co/AUfo08PzAJ (http://twitter.com/DrImogenTyler/status/880008825503395840?s=17)
Johann Hari (@johannhari101) tweeted at 5:24 AM – 1 Jul 2017 :
#Grenfel isn’t a tragedy, it’s an atrocity – must-read by @deborahjaneorr https://t.co/c4Agt8gzCz (http://twitter.com/johannhari101/status/881111334972260352?s=17)
“regulation” as a form of incarceration, limiting personal freedom as effectively as the most sinister and cruel dictatorship
the idea that money, through the infallible judgments of market forces, is the only true arbiter of human worth.
سيف الله (@BirdsOfJannah) tweeted at 11:03 AM – 1 Jul 2017 :
Secret recording that they tried to block from inside the #GrenfellTower meeting. Share & let the world know whats happening #NotOneDayMore https://t.co/aHFdYsg5Qe (http://twitter.com/BirdsOfJannah/status/881196684558172160?s=17)
GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) tweeted at 12:40 AM – 5 Jul 2017 :
If you care about #GrenfellTower, please RT this. This scandal behind the scandal that I dug into is outrageous: https://t.co/F5tUTajaBp (http://twitter.com/GeorgeMonbiot/status/882489287756972032?s=17)
In other words, the Red Tape Initiative is a representative cross-section of the British public. In no sense is it a self-serving clique of old chums, insulated from hazard by their extreme wealth, whose role is to decide whether other people (colloquially known as “cowards”) should be exposed to risk.
This assault on public protections is just one element of the compound disaster that neoliberalism –promoted by opaquely funded groups such as Policy Exchange –has imposed on Britain since 1979. Its central purpose is not just to empower corporations and the very rich, but actively to disempower everyone else, through austerity, outsourcing and privatisation.
David Lammy (@DavidLammy) tweeted at 10:57 AM – 5 Jul 2017 :
Powerful testimony here from Grenfell survivors and families. “We are praying for the best. It is killing us”. https://t.co/W68FiJ27uS (http://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/882644543182692354?s=17)
Andy Wingo (@andywingo) tweeted at 4:09 AM – 7 Jul 2017 :
nice investigative work on empty homes in kensington https://t.co/nWVpgpQFlF #GrenfellTowerFire (http://twitter.com/andywingo/status/883266764934717441?s=17)
The latest figures for Kensington & Chelsea reveal there are 1,399 vacant dwellings in the borough, as of April 2017 – and the number hasn’t dropped below a thousand for over a decade. 600 people lived in Grenfell Tower – so there are more than enough empty homes in the borough to house them all, if the properties could be accessed
the problem of ‘buy to leave’ in the borough. ‘Buy to leave’ is the phenomenon of purchasing a property where the buyer has no intention to live in it; where the home is regarded purely as an investment – one that, in London’s super-heated property market, will rapidly accrue in value.
The truly insane thing about this map are the blue dots showing homes that have been empty for 4,200 – 5,734 days. That’s homes that have lain empty for between 11 and 15 years. I count about 50 of them.
Firstly, the area is plagued by offshore owners. As Private Eye’s map of offshore ownership shows, much of south Kensington has been gobbled up by firms with names like ‘Property International Holdings Ltd’, based in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, or Bermuda, or Jersey. This is property speculation and tax avoidance of the most socially irresponsible kind, pushing up the price of housing for the rest of us.
The council’s map of empty homes, shown earlier, confirms Cadogan Square to be a true ‘ghost town’, with a high concentration of properties unoccupied for 5, 10, even 15 years.
But this throws up an even more staggering thought. The freeholds for all these houses are owned by the Cadogan Estate. They sell the leases for millions of pounds and are billionaires as a result. And yet many of the tenants aren’t even living in them.
Clearly the immediate overwhelming priority is finding viable, local housing for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Kensington contains over a thousand empty homes, some empty for 15 years, some likely owned by offshore companies avoiding tax, some owned by the wealthy Cadogan Estate and leased to absentee tenants who appear to have more money than sense. If there is any way of making these homes useful to those in need, it should be done.
In the meanwhile, the empty flats of the super-rich in Cadogan Square will stare vacantly, uncaring, across the borough of Kensington to the empty, blackened shell of Grenfell Tower: two cities, a world apart.
on hold ness
James Longman (@JamesAALongman) tweeted at 6:19 AM – 17 Jul 2017 :
This is the link to the full @Nightline special on Grenfell https://t.co/V0XygpL9dI https://t.co/lJ6LAYOI7F(http://twitter.com/JamesAALongman/status/886923354908897280?s=17)
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 4:50 AM – 15 Dec 2017 :
this place is so awesome – a Community Social Centre established a stone throw from Grendell by self-organised survivors & community activists acting totally outside the framework of the state. A place of art, beauty, love & creativity. And everyone was so justly proud & happy! https://t.co/7PIkNdUR8H (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/941636531655266305?s=17)
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:26 AM – 15 Dec 2017 :
Here are some of the people that made #LatimerCity happen #justice4grenfell https://t.co/ZTW0IWId6G (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/941645543448743936?s=17)
Nathan Downs (@NathanJDowns) tweeted at 4:55 AM – 15 Dec 2017 :
@davidgraeber The self organising and spontaneous creation of support structures that Govt failed to provide, serves to give hope in the mutual Drive to help one another and to highlight the irrelevance and true nature of the state and in who’s interest it serves. https://t.co/409rN0HBDb (http://twitter.com/NathanJDowns/status/941637880283361280?s=17)
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:06 AM – 15 Dec 2017 :
@NathanJDowns incidentally, I’ve recently learned that quote is actually from Anselme Bellegarrigue though it might have been distantly inspired by Proudhon (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/941640656086331393?s=17)
One of the most poignant photos of 2017 for me. #Grenfell by @VictoriaJonesPA https://t.co/1kqOvLfLj6
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/JamesAALongman/status/946459198497394688
BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) tweeted at 6:41 AM – 9 Jan 2018 :
Grenfell: Firefighters to run London marathon for children https://t.co/Nj0v540fBG (http://twitter.com/BBCNews/status/950724319138795520?s=17)
Alexander (@alexanderrusso) tweeted at 6:29 AM – 10 Jan 2018 :
More than half of American schools are estimated to be in buildings that are not up to standard. https://t.co/KxKogZfqoZ via @MotherJones (http://twitter.com/alexanderrusso/status/951083554666139650?s=17)