It is utterly impossible for any of us to even contemplate what it must have been like to have been part of the dreadful events that unfolded the other evening in West London. The fire at Grenfell Tower looked like a bomb had hit it – indeed I thought some of the images were reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks in New York 16 years ago.

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The advent of social media, and the insatiable appetite that we, as a society, now have for ‘instant’ news, irrespective of the content, means that we can see it all happen, in real time and almost as if we are watching it all unfold before our very eyes. I find that aspect of modern media very distasteful – one breakfast news programme on Wednesday morning were seemingly fixated on one poor man, trapped on a floor and waving a t-shirt in an attempt to get help. In a remarkably bad taste piece, the tenor of the piece was’ I wonder whether he will survive..?’ ( He did, incidentally).

That is surely not what media reporting is for though we will never halt it, as the appetite for it is so great.

I was concerned, but not in the least bit surprised that the matter became highly politicised within hours. Following on from the shambles of last Thursday, the ‘main two’ seemingly wasted no time in using the whole episode for some cheap points scoring. I see that our PM decided not to meet the public when she visited the site whilst the leader of the opposition went for the jugular as regards’ Tory cuts’. This was not the time and certainly not the place for that kind of insensitive and thoughtless behavior from either side.

There are a whole host of issues now that are pressing:-

  • the recovery of the deceased – in an extraordinarily frank and alarming interview, the Senior Met Policeman ‘hoped’ that the death toll would not ‘ be in triple figures’. That is just an astonishing remark but clearly it is something they are contemplating
  • re-homing, counseling and aiding the survivors and families who must be mentally traumatised and utterly grief-stricken beyond our comprehension
  • counseling ( and of course gratitude) to the emergency services , especially the Fire and Rescue Teams. These guys ran towards the tower as everyone else ran away from it – the next time we can’t be bothered getting up on a Monday or the train is delayed, think of that
  • an investigation into what happened – conjecture, whilst a natural reaction, especially one precipitated by such raw anger and emotion , is natural but ultimately unhelpful at a time like this. However, investigations must be carried out to see whether this was an ‘accident’ or whether there is ‘culpability’ – in which case it is important that due process follows. It may even be that criminal charges are brought. I know this does not bring back loved ones but it may ensure a similar fate does not await another community in the future

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The Health and Safety Executive will move in shortly and are a robust and very effective body who will ensure if there is blame to be apportioned, those that are responsible will have questions to answer and may have to do so in a court of law

This is a national tragedy and comes at a time when the capital is already feeling bruised and battered. Our country, feeling under threat and divided has had for many many years a reputation for resilience and stoicism – never will these traits be under the microscope more than at this time

In conclusion it is only right that condolences be offered to the victims and their families, gratitude to the emergency services and a watchful reminder be issued to those in power that they do what is right here and do so swiftly and correctly.

 

Thanks for stopping by…….

 

Mr. O

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