FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No Inquiry Needed: Grenfell Tower Fire Was a Crime

by

Photo by ChiralJon | CC BY 2.0

No inquiry is required to have it confirmed that the Grenfell Fire in London on 14 June 2017 was a crime whose roots lie in the virulent disdain and contempt, bordering on hatred, of working class and poor people in a society which in the second decade of the 21st century is a utopia for a small minority and a dystopia for far too many.

The burnt out shell of Grenfell Tower stands as symptom and symbol of the class war that has been and is still raging all over Britain, a war that in 2017 has never been more intense and in which only one side is throwing punches and only one side is taking them. Thus it is impossible to consider the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to be anything other than an establishment pantomime capable of delivering only a simulacrum of justice in that its very complexion perpetuates the social injustice that led inexorably to the fire and resulting carnage.

The more cynical among us will not persuaded that the real purpose of the inquiry is anything other than to channel and filter the righteous rage and anger of a community that has been so grievously wronged onto the safe ground of obfuscation, shrouded in legalese and the kind of establishment-speak perfected over the far too many years in which the lives of working class and poor people have been regarded by the rich to be of scant importance.

As Alan Badiou reminds us, we are living in a world in which we have to “save the banks rather than confiscate them, hand out billions to the rich and give nothing to the poor, set nationals against workers of foreign origin whenever possible, and, in a word, keep tight controls on all forms of poverty in order to ensure the survival of the powerful.”

Leading the Grenfell Tower Inquiry is Cambridge-educated retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick. In one of the last cases he heard prior to his retirement Moore-Bick found in favour of Westminster Council in 2014 in a case brought by single mother of five, Titina Nzolameso. Ms Nzolameso had approached the council to be rehoused after she was made homeless in 2012. They offered her accommodation 50 miles from London and when she refused, Westminster Council ruled that she had made herself “intentionally homeless”, thus absolving them of their obligation to rehouse her under the 1996 Housing Act.

Sir Martin James Moore-Bick’s judgement, later overruled by the Supreme Court on appeal, drew the criticism that it was tantamount to a “green light” for councils in London to embark on the social cleansing of their poorer tenants and residents. The relevance of this judgement to the Grenfell Inquiry could not be more pointed, involving as it does issues concerning the substandard housing endured by Westminister Council’s poorest residents, people of no property in one of the world’s most developed and unequal societies in the world with a housing crisis that leaves no doubt of the contempt in which people on low incomes are held by a political class whose slavish attachment to the interests of the rich is beyond doubt.

Almost four months on from the Grenfell Fire only two families of those that survived have been permanently rehoused, while 150 families are still living in temporary hotel accommodation across the city.

At the heart of this issue are the questions of class and inequality that have long blighted British society. Their most grievous symptoms in 2017 are foodbanks, benefit sanctions, the welfare cap, homelessness, the housing crisis, and as Grenfell attests to, substandard housing. Each of the aforementioned feeds into the Grenfell Fire and the treatment of the survivors with regard to the lack of action and progress in permanently rehousing them; this in a borough in which 1,857 properties are currently lying empty in the vicinity of the burnt out shell of Grenfell Tower.

Everybody living in a community that has been the focus of the national and international media this summer for all the wrong reasons knows that this disaster could have been avoided, should have been avoided, and was not avoided purely as a result of their invisibility in the eyes of the council of the richest borough in London. They are victims of a sick society, intoxicated with greed at one end of the social spectrum and abject cruelty at the other, bringing with it the attendant maladies of crime, drug abuse, mental illness, and human despair.

In this scenario retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick could only ever be part of the problem rather then the solution. He is emblematic of an elite for whom the demographic represented by Grenfell might as well be living on another planet. Indeed it is hard to argue with the suggestion that only when we are living in a society in which Moore-Bick and his ilk are being judged rather than judging will we know what real justice looks like.

More articles by:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail