To the residents of Grenfell Tower: this never should have happened to you, ‘got to make or save money, you see’; you may be in the hands of dishonest or simply incompetent people


Hello Good people who still read this blog…. (written in haste and may need editing!)

I just wanted to say how sad I was to find out about the destruction of Grenfell Tower by a fire that went very quickly out of control.

We await investigations, but my heart goes out to all the residents, their friends and family. I live in the area but coincidentally was locked out of my flat and had to go and stay elsewhere so did not hear the sirens or smell the smoke. Spare a thought for the victims but also those who heard the screams for help and the agony of those trapped by smoke and heat.

Someone said on the news that these days tenants in social housing are treated like vermin.

DSCN0068

I have certainly witnessed this on many occasions, and so many uncaring builders, lying surveyors, and incompetent contractors, some companies with famous names, coming to renovate buildings. Some trash the place, they charge housing associations a big sum, spout nonsense about health and safety but leave the place dangerous while their company is doing very nicely thank you very much and perhaps a bribe or two to various housing association surveyors and environmental health officers. Or perhaps they are just the cheapest deal and the council or housing associations cannot afford to have safe contractors, architects, surveyors who do the job properly.

I have witnessed this many times, and my own life and my family’s life was put at risk. But when you reproach them you get bullied or ignored. Lots of cash at stake you see. A veil of health and safety regulation speech and what lies behind it is absolute hypocrisy. People without jobs who live in central London are hated, and are definitely treated like vermin by MANY contractors and SOME housing officers ( not all I assure you). 

I will give you an example. A good friend of mine with a Notting Hill Housing trust flat close by to Grenfell tower, complained because the external fire escape on her old house needed some maintenance. It had been bolted to the outside walls of two adjacent buildings but these bolts had come loose, plus some contractors were storing a ton of wooden decking there for over a year on the fire escape stairs and she could not persuade her neighbours to move it. A health and safety surveyor from the Notting Hill Housing Trust came round for a special meeting after she’d been complaining for over a year about this. He got very irritated and said that the safest thing to do was to remove the fire escape and dismantle it completely to meet ‘health and safety regulations’. She explained that she was on the top floor (no lift) and that the single internal staircase was made of wood, therefore the external fire escape was her only safe means of escape. He got annoyed, and spouted health and safety regulations, a housing officer present also pleaded with him to fix the old iron fire escape that would lead my friend and her neighbours to safety in case of a fire. But he just got louder and more aggressive, then he wrote a report in front of them saying the fire escape had to be dismantled and removed immediately rather than simply re-attaching it with bolts in the walls.  DSCN0071

So in memory of all those people who died, were injured or  whose lives were torn apart, I say YOU ARE IMPORTANT, it’s time to confront the petty minded corrupt ‘health and safety’ officials in Housing Associations, working for Kensington and Chelsea Council and also to say to all those who write hateful articles about poor people living London that your spreading of hatred and prejudice needs to end. You successful journalists who write with prejudice and resentment today could be jobless and living in council housing on the dole tomorrow. Although it is very unlikely you could get either benefits or social housing!  

Now before I get angrier, let me wish everyone Love and Peace. Love and empathy always wins. Using your anger to find constructive solutions is always stronger, more intelligent, more durable but harder than destructive anger or revenge. If I am right in my assumptions, let’s make our revenge one which improves services for poor people in London, let there be an independent person that social housing tenants can take their stories to when they feel in danger, let’s sack the corrupt surveyors, the corrupt health and safety officers, the corrupt environmental health officers and bring in good people, who actually do good quality work and who deserve their pay.

Some Neil Young ‘After the Gold Rush’ don’t know why,  it just felt right, his voice always sounds mournful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e3m_T-NMOs

 

 

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