This is will be my first piece on a political or social issue. Not that these things don’t interest me, they do but I have never felt it was my place to be the keyboard commentator. The horrific events of the last week in Chelsea and Kensington however have changed that. Before I have my say as thousands of others have already done, I would just like to explain why this event has driven me to take my first steps into political writing.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the news coverage in the UK, it was almost non-stop for 5 days-longer than the recent terror attacks. The story sadly lends itself to such coverage. Clear, brazen and nightmarish footage was abundant, the amount of people involved immense and the aftermath of anger and political controversy kept the story going.
To me the fire was a symbol of the human cost of austerity, the continued disregard for our country’s poorest and an embodiment of all our social contradictions.
It is this which has drawn me into the whole scenario. For 79+ people to die in their own homes because of the failings and greed of the state is incomprehensible. An Englishman’s home is his castle, castles are supposed to be safe. On top of this to see the images of the tower aflame is to see an image of Hell, to know that there are people in their as the fire rages, to know that the burnt out shell of Grenfell is now a tomb brings home the human scale of this tragedy. It is a seminal moment in our recent history and watching I became fully aware of this.
At this point I was shocked and angry as details of council failures began to emerge but no more so than with any other horrific event. Then two things happened I saw the locals reactions, incredibly angry at this and their decades long ostracisation in the borough juxtaposed against their community spirit, immense self-control in not rioting and wonderful articulation of their situation. Secondly a friend who lives in India messaged me asking about the fallout from the General Election. My initial analysis on the Tories disarray quickly turned into a polemical essay with Grenfell at its heart.
My article on the Grenfell Tower is taken from that Facebook rant, fortunately I’ve fine tuned it a bit.