Eclectic Blue

How soon we forget

Comments Off on How soon we forget 15 December 2017

How soon we forget

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the richest borough in the sixth richest country on the planet. Six months after the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, 80% of former residents have still not been rehoused. The numbers include families still living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation, many of whom lost everything, some of whom lost family members and friends. The impending arrival of Christmas concentrates the mind wonderfully and reminds us just how much our country is divided in every single way.

I watched some coverage from yesterday’s service at St Pauls which was attended by the great and the good, as well as politicians from the main political parties. I was pleased that so many royals were present because I believe, perhaps naively, that they understand things like human suffering and sadness. I shed a tear when the camera panned across to mourners who were holding photographs of the dead. If my emotions were a tangled mess, what of those who suffered and still suffer?

I try not to look at the Grenfell tragedy in party political terms because although I disagree profoundly with the principles and policies of the current party of government, I cannot and do not believe that Theresa May, for all her faults and limitations, really doesn’t care. My own politics, which I would describe as mainstream left of centre liberalism, is a kind of philosophy evolved form a life of experience. A country which rewards hard work and is a genuine meritocracy which also has a conscience for the less well off, the sick and the needy and so on. It’s not controversial. Or rather it shouldn’t be.

So much of Kensington and Chelsea remains empty with luxury accommodation left unused by wealthy speculators. I struggle to accept that half a year on from the fire four out of five people from Grenfell have not been rehoused. This is not just wrong: it is a scandal. I shall leave it to the public inquiry to establish culpability but one thing is for sure: the victims were not to blame. Society owes them better than existing within the confines of a B&B. I don’t even like staying in a B&B or even a half decent hotel for more than one night, never mind treating it as home. Imagine being there all the time?

We are more divided than at any other time of my life. We are divided by wealth, we are divided by catastrophic political choices, we are divided because our leaders cannot and do not lead, we are divided because only a small number of elite individuals have any power. The victims of Grenfell have none. And because of the inadequacies of our system, the survivors of Grenfell have been forgotten, which is the biggest national disgrace of them all.

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