Housing Regulation 408

There are two separate but linked questions arising from the terrible disaster at Ladbroke Grove. One is the efficacy of national building regulations on fire and safety. It is plainly true that, if Grenfell Tower met them, they are inadequate. The second is how Kensington and Chelsea Council in particular manage their housing.

To look at the second question, I do agree with David Lammy that there is potential criminal culpability here, but I am not quite sure that he is right to describe it as “corporate manslaughter”. It seems to me that responsibility rests more with government than with corporations (though I accept that the former is a tool of the latter).

One of the most retrograde developments of my lifetime has been the wholescale “outsourcing” of delivery of public services away from direct government provision. So rather than by council employees, your bins are probably emptied and your streets swept by a private company paid to do it. Just as your utilities are supplied, your trains run, civil servants get their stationery ordered, increasingly medical services are provided, international aid projects are administered, and literally thousands of other examples.

This development was driven by the ideological belief, often fanatically held, that people employed by government are less efficient than those employed by the private sector. That ideology also depended on a rejection of the very notion of altruism; which rejection of altruism was at the heart of Thatcherism. The idea that people are only motivated by personal gain is of course quite untrue. Firefighters, who are still employed by the public, have proved that just now, beyond anything I can say, by going well beyond their contractual duty to try to help. But even accepting for one moment, for the sake of argument, the doctrine that people are only motivated by money; it plainly does not follow that public services would be more efficiently delivered by the private sector. What does follow is that public services will suffer from profiteering if run by the private sector.

But this disastrous contracting out is not always to private for profit companies. It is sometimes to what Tories call the “third sector”, meaning charities and not for profit companies. Much of the aid budget is now spent this way. Not at all coincidental, the pumping of large amounts of public money into this sector has coincided with a quite incredible rise in the salaries and emoluments of senior charities staff.

We have ended up in the situation where executive staff of charities are on over £200,000 a year, where the chief executive of Save the Children gets twice the salary of the Head of DFID, and where people who occupy what were once public sector jobs in rail, water or housing can earn ten times what their public sector predecessors were getting. At the same time wages, employment protection, conditions and unionisation for the actual workers have all been cut.

This is important because the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation Ltd is a not for profit company. No shareholders get any profits from it, and it does not remunerate its directors. This is the body which manages Grenfell Towers and did the refurbishment. Some of the (rightly critical) comment has assumed that KCTMO Ltd is a profiteering private company and this is why it has skimped on possible safety features like sprinkler systems. But it is more complicated than that.

The majority of KCTMO directors, including the chairman, are themselves tenants of the council’s housing. Three more are council appointed. The philosophy behind KCTMO Ltd is on the face of it benign – the tenants are managing their own properties. Which leads to the question of why relationships had broken down so badly between KCTMO and those apparently speaking for the residents of Grenfell Tower, particularly over fire safety issues.

Some of the answer to that may relate to social hierarchy among different types of council tenant. I do not know if anyone on the KCTMO board lived in Grenfell Tower, but imagine we would have been told that if so.

My experience of other organisations would lead me to suspect that in practice KCTMO Ltd did not operate in the way that it does on paper, and that the Chief Executive and other officers had a disproportionate influence. I have seen enough decisions in enough public bodies with a supposedly democratic structure – including universities and councils – to know that the elected representatives often find it very difficult to challenge the “expertise” of the executive officers. This is particularly likely to be true in an area like housing, where there are architectural, construction and legal issues. You quickly end up in a situation where the elected representatives are not really making decisions but only rubber=stamping the decisions of the officers. I saw various tenants who had been involved in the complaints to KTCMO interviewed yesterday, and they all referenced the Chief Executive, Robert Black, and not the tenant representative Chairman.

KCTMO’s staff costs are just over £10 million per year. I can find nothing on wage structure and what the executive officers are paid. I hope that information will become available.

But I can see no reason to believe that Mr Black or anybody else could make any personal gain from not installing a sprinkler system, for example. It appears responsibility for providing funds for this kind of capital expenditure lies with Kensington and Chelsea Council and not with KCTMO. It happens I lived for three years in Shepherds Bush and know this area very well. Ladbroke Grove is 15 minutes walk from some of the most expensive houses in the world. The idea that people in social housing were not high on the priorities of the council rings to me entirely true. In fact there is plenty of evidence that councillors are in cahoots with developers looking to demolish the social housing and build yet more massive luxury developments primarily for sale to the global “elite” of the extremely wealthy.

So much for the local picture. Nationally, it appears beyond argument that the government has failed again and again to update regulations following similar fires both in the UK and elsewhere. Yet again this is ideologically driven. Deregulation is a key principle of neo-liberalism. The government has an intrinsic belief that anything that adds costs or restriction to corporate profit should be resisted, and the idea of adding new regulation is simply anathema to them. That background cannot be ignored. The more you dig into this terrible tragedy, the more lurid a light is thrown on Neo-Liberal Britain.

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408 thoughts on “Housing Regulation

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  • Tony T U

    Reminder: there’s a petition urging Jeremy Corbyn to table a No Confidence motion when Parliament reopens on Wednesday, specifically referring to the Grenfell Tower fire.

    The motion will be:

    That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government, by reason of its many years of housing policy which led to the Grenfell Tower fire

    There is a growing feeling of “we’ve had enough, and we’re not going to take it any more”. Fuck the exact number of seats any particular party has got in the House of Commons. Fuck different scenarios involving “confidence and supply” or whatever. Fuck polling companies. JUST GET THAT MOTION ON THE TABLE and make it crystal clear to the Tories that we are giving the bastards their marching orders and we won’t brook any answering back or objections. OUT THEY GO.

    • Sharp Ears

      At a critical time for the country, there has been no activity in the HoC since 27th April when Parliament was ‘prorogued’.

      Since then, there has been the Manchester bomb (22nd May), the London Bridge attack (7th June), the campaign leading up to the damned election (8th June) resulting in the hung parliament and now this tragedy.

      The new and old MPs came back on June 13th, 14th and 15th to re-elect Bercow and to sign in. No action until the Queen opens parliament on Wednesday next week, 21st June.

      The debate on that follows and on Thursday they pack up earlly until Monday afternoon 26th June for an adjournment debate on the fire.

      They resume normal business until 20th July when they pack up for Summer hols until Tuesday 5th September.

      It’s a farce and they get paid £74k pa plus plus for their participation in it.

      It’s a relic of the EmPyre. A sort of gentleman’s club where ladees are allowed through the door.


      • Why be ordinary?

        Apparently they must first find a goat to write on before anything is allowed to happen.

      • fwl

        MPS should be paid more. £200,000 would be appropriate, but any corruption should be firmly prosecuted without exception.

        • Dave

          Hardly considering Grenfell Towers disaster was the result of overspending on the wrong things, plus a tenant blowing up his flat.

          • Shatnersrug

            Dave that article was a lie, no one has a clue how the fire started yet, but don’t stop the daily mail smearing someone.

            If you actually want to know why the fire started you should read this;


            It’s a blog from the Grenfell Tower residence action committee written in November 2016

            It ends thus

            The Grenfell Action Group predict that it won’t be long before the words of this blog come back to haunt the KCTMO management and we will do everything in our power to ensure that those in authority know how long and how appallingly our landlord has ignored their responsibility to ensure the heath and safety of their tenants and leaseholders. They can’t say that they haven’t been warned

            So please don’t blame tenants.

          • Julian Turnbull

            “… plus a tenant blowing up his flat …”

            Fires happen everywhere, for many reasons. I’d have thought the sight of the cheapest, flammable cladding – in front of our very eyes – streaking up the building, might, just might, give us a clue as to why this death-trap for so many poor people really occurred.

          • Johnny boy

            Spending money on cladding to make the building more sightly to its neigbours? However the fire started, it shouldn’t have spread. Fires, accidents, happen. Thats why sprinkler sytems, and fire resistant cladding were invented.

          • Dave

            Well if that report was made up, that is shocking, but my point is the problem isn’t due to a lack of spending, but poor management and faulty cladding costing millions to meet carbon reduction targets.

          • fwl

            Shatnersrug, thanks for putting up that link to the Nov 2016 blog warning. I didn’t know about the Adair fire.

            Mods it is seriously defamatory to blame a tenant. Please pay attention to any such posts.

  • giyane

    As ever, Thierry Meyssan, exposes the dangerous games of the UK in maintaining terrorism for its own colonial purposes: http://www.voltairenet.org/article196617.html

    “It was during the annual reunion of 1979 that Bernard Lewis revealed to those present the rôle of the Muslim Brotherhood in the resistance to the Afghani Communist government. This Israëli-British-US Islamologist then proposed that the « War for Freedom » (sic) should be extended to all of Central Asia.

    It was in 2008, in other words two and a half years in advance, that Basma Kodmani (future spokewoman for the Syrian opposition) and Volker Perthes (future advisor to Jeffrey Feltman for the total and unconditional capitulation of Syria [2]) explained the interest of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in order to dominate the Middle East. They stressed the « moderation » of the Brotherhood faced with the West, and the contrast offered by the « extremist sovereignty » of Iran and Syria “.

    No wonder Boris Johnson is panicking about losing his job. A Jeremy Corbyn government would waste nearly 40 years of ne-colonial wrecking and wreaking havoc on the Muslim world. I will be there onJuly 1st, when Mrs May tastes her Blair Iraq war moment. The current war is much more dangerous and devastating than what happened in Iraq, and will continue until Al Qaida and Daesh attack Russia and China .
    Boris Johnson is an extremely competent liar. Expect sanity to be rebuffed.

  • craig Post author

    Knocked out by a really bad flu, both chest/throat and gastric. Struggling. Cammie and Nadira were both down with it while I was in Madrid. Is anything particularly nasty going round?

      • Mark Williams

        That and the still effectively feudal residential leasehold form of tenure now unique to England and Wales. Scotland and all the past or present colonies abolished it ages ago because it is so inequitable. Right-wing politicians, including many MPs, personally benefit from retaining it here. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the council as freeholder ends up suing the surviving lessees/ management company for loss of revenue. Unscrupulous lawyers and accountants abound in this sector.

        Craig asks about the potential profit motive in not installing sprinklers. This is just speculation, but the insurance premium is probably higher on a building with inadequate fire protection. There is a kickback for ‘arranging’ the policy, usually a percentage. That extra commission, paid year-after-year direct to the agent, would be ‘lost’ by the once-off installation of active/ passive containment measures.

    • Sharp Ears

      Get well soon Murray family. Sorry.

      O/T Just heard on the box in a discussion on Tory partei activities.

      ‘Mr Fox is off to Washington on Monday to look for new ties with America’ and there I was thinking that Atlantic Bridge was dead.

    • Neil

      Sorry to hear that, Craig. Hope you all recover quickly. Is Nadira still going to be able to attend her film showing tomorrow?

    • Alcyone

      Yes, it’s the change of weather that can trigger this. It’s detox season–best to let the accumulated toxins out. So, eat extremely lightly and freshly cooked food. Boiled eggs, rice, lentils, bananas, papaya etc, zero dairy and alcohol.

      Try steam inhalations with 3 drops of Olbas Oil, inhaling through mouth, exhaling through nose; for relief, not cure–it has to run it’s course unfortunately.

      And as long as there is no fever, walk–man was made to. 21st century but we still have a 50,000 year-old hunter-gatherer model for a body.

      • Sinister Burt

        i think that’s an old article – it talks about the recent cold snap.

        • Republicofscotland


          Yes I think you’re right, though I cannot find a date next to the article, only today’s date below the mast head.

    • Manda

      I don’t know but I wish you all well soon Craig. Take good care of yourselves.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      We all had it about 3 months ago. First time I have had the real flu for about 30 years..absolutely no energy..and even hallucinogenic / childlike fever. In our case recovery starts in about 3 days and reasonably O.K. after a week.

      Get well Craig. It won’t last long.

    • Julian Turnbull

      Yes, there’s a bug going round. It’s hit four people in our village so far. Two are old people, so it’s worrying. One is a Nurse, but carries on regardless.The other is a five year-old, but she still manages to pester us all! It’s odd, though. My wife, a retired Infant School teacher, says that summer in the North is late this year, so all the germinating bugs she had to deal with before the end of term have been delayed for a while. Soldier on, and drink plenty of lemon-juice and honey, like the Nurse.

  • fwl

    There is a problem with form over content. It’s everywhere. From facile comparisons with how party leaders show they care to the decision to clad what may have been a solid but unattractive tower in a flammable fancy facade.

    Financial food and commodity markets once trading in actuality with futures limited to mirror the real goods were transformed into this gigantic derivative facade. Money once just an exchange token is empty save for a weak confidence because we have nothing else.

    We can’t avoid appearances. Our senses take in data and we form our views, but we have to consider what is real and what is a fake façade. There is so much superficiality we have constructed, which we do not need. We need our mask. We need our ego facade, but when the façade is toxic then we should wake up.

  • Michael McNulty

    The residents of Grenfell Tower are now asking about the real number of victims who perished. They say if seventy-five were rescued or escaped the fire where are the other five hundred who lived there? One woman asked how will they pay for five hundred funerals?

    • Michael McNulty

      When I think back no news organisation has given a figure for how many people escaped the fire, but I assumed from the huge donation and volunteer effort it had to be hundreds. But how do we know? It may be that all that effort is for less than a hundred survivors.

    • Sharp Ears


      Another racket.



      From a recent e-mail I had sight of.

      ‘A cursory glance on Google suggests funeral arrangements of poor people with no next of kin is that you get a cardboard coffin and the absolute minimum of service at a crematorium at a date decided by the local Council, don’t know why I am shocked to find this out, it shouldn’t surprise me there is no compassion for poor people who die in our society when there are weapons of mass destruction to be paid for. 

      It would seem if a funeral is paid for then it can be claimed from the estate, I have no idea if xxxx made a will or plans for a funeral, it’s not normally the kind of thing I like to ask someone. I am determined that xxxx is going to get better than a cardboard coffin and a 10 minute send off, I expect the Coroner will know more when I finally make contact with them, no doubt even the Coroner’s Office has been the subject of Tory cuts too, or else there would have been someone employed to answer the phone or respond to emails.’

      What a country!

      • German Girl

        Generally speaking there is this nasty thinking in politics which aims to exploit tragedies.

        Any terrorist attack can be abused to rationalise more surveillance rights for the police and less civil rights for citizens. Of course in order to “protect” citizens from terrorist the police and the secret services get the rights to search any mobile phone conversation / mobile phone messenger … etc.

        Remember those years when the Tories and Cameron and Gove in particular wailed about Broken Britain and the Broken British School System? Murdoch’s newspapers supported the wailing. They described a non-existant tragedy in order to establish laws and remove regulations which paved way for privatisation of education. The Tories called that a necessary “reform”. One consequence of those “reforms” is that 20% of all British teacher teach subjects they haven’t studied at university. Another consequence is that some newly founded schools don’t have to offer sports classes / P.E. classes. P.E. in school might be ridiculous anyway (it was at my school which was / is a decent school) but imagine the consequences. There are children from unemployed families living in inner-city estates who NOW WON’T get the chance to kick a ball nor swim in a swimming pool because they don’t get P.E. at their school. For some children school is the only place to get these things and experiences.

        In short: “tragedies” are exploited by politicians. When a tragedy occurs then “the folk” angrily and anxiously demands and pushes for urgent and immediate and drastic action. That is what politicians exploit. It is sad, really.

      • Johnny boy

        To Tory eyes I guess this looks a bit like the continuation of the May bashing in the media, what with Labour being on continued election footing. I can understand the perception, but with likely 400 dead, Torys need to get over their victimhood.

  • Republicofscotland

    The bungling Brexiteers, have as expected capitulated to the demands of the EU. There will be no tandem negotiations running only the divorce bill, no trade issues, the other 27 EU nations have been quite clear on that stance from the beginning.

    For no nation leaving the EU can expect to get a good as deal, as an existing member. Also in my opinion, the EU 27, will almost inevitably have to make an example of Britain, to deter any further nation from leaving.

    Meanwhile I was under the impression that the British government is a neutral arbitor with regards to the Good Friday agreement. How can it now be possible for the British government to maintain that position, now the DUP has or is about to make a deal with the British government.

    More over where now does (EVEL) English Votes for English Laws, stand. When the DUP ten, and the thirteen Scottish Tory MP’s aren’t English? Does that not make Theresa May’s government 23 members short of a majority, on matters such as Grammar schools?

      • German Girl

        Description of the youtube interview from the link above, May and interviewer Maitliss:

        Prime Minister May just talked about putting funding in place. But no admittance on building regulations. No admittance that cutting state / council building supervising might have been cut too much. No acceptance of responsibility. Just money available. Money getting through. Make money available.

        [Who wants to be that those tenants on social benefits will loose benefits in the same size as they will get in compensation for the fire!]

        May is quite nervous in that interview although the interviewer is quite civilised. She is trying to appear tough and supportive but she just appears fake.

        May evades all investigative questions of safer cladding and of sufficient building supervision because allegedly they don’t know what caused the fire and allegedly they don’t know why the fire burned so quickly and if there are sufficient fire regulations. It is just “safe populist phrases” really, like “we will get to the bottom of this” or “we will investigate this” or “we will make sure the help money gets to the victims”.

        My impression:
        Other than evading questions May is trying to paint this as an extraordinary and singular incident so that she needn’t change regulations.

    • Johnny boy

      Standard procedure not to call numbers without the bodies perhaps, but they are not comparing the number of residents (600) to the number of known survivors (100) for fear of a riot. I call that disrespectful to the community.

  • Made By Dom

    Speaking of out-of-touch Neo-Liberal Britain, did anyone see Blair and Campbell on The Last Leg?
    In a grotesque and cringeworthy exploitation of the murder of Jo Cox, Blair, Campbell, Brown and William Hague all joined forces to show how similarly creepy they all are.
    According to the Guardian, Jo Cox forced us to ask difficult questions. Of course, the kind of questions they want us to ask are fairly general, abstract ones like, ‘Should we be nice to one another?’ However, if you dare to ask the questions that Cox herself asked like, ‘Why do Palestinian children get arrested in the middle of the night?’ you’ll be silenced.
    There’s something truly vile and sexist about those that buried the real politics of Jo Cox whilst pushing the memory of her as nothing more than a pretty face and a well meaning nature.

    • Stu

      Jo Cox abstained on the only two votes that mattered whilst she was an MP. Opposing the Welfare Bill and bombing Syria.

      Given her links to the White Helmets it’s safe to assume that she was a Blairite opportunist.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        According to someone on here, who I really respect…she also worked for the Intelligence Services. I personally think there is a high probability that she is still alive. The timing and many other aspects of her “death” did not seem right. I could of course be wrong. I often am.

      • Ultraviolet


        “We nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership. Now we regret it.”

        By Neil Coyle and Jo Cox.

        This was their response to Corbyn’s unexpectedly good night in the local elections of 2016:

        The Tories deserved a kicking last night… The hard truth is that Labour was humiliated in Scotland and slipped back in England and Wales. No party has ever lost ground at a time like this and gone on to win a general election. Labour is in the doldrums and we have to ask ourselves why.

        Of course it would be wrong to view these results simply through the prism of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But nor can we pretend that the leadership isn’t an issue.

        We can get back to winning across the whole country because we are a courageous, principled and ambitious party with the ideas to match. But without an equally determined and focused leadership we will continue to go backwards, offering the Tories the prospect of power through 2020, 2025 and beyond.

  • Jose Ospina

    I am surprise your bloog focuses entirely on tyhe nature and salaries of the TMO, which seems a bit of a red herring. The problem here is the disatrous use of synthetic cladding materilas and if if using such energy and carbon intesivve products was not enough, to use flamable ones to boot. This takes the deciision from enviornmental ignorance to (what appear to be) criminal negligence. Of you have a wall covering that is flamnable, it does not take an extper to work out that it could ignite and take the fire up to the Any fire-related incident, not matter how small, could ignite and take the fire to the floors above it. Any number of firre alarms or sensors would hardly protect resident from the situation that would follow, beging aking to a napalming of the building. It is time that the construction industry were stopped from whitewashing their products and avodiing their responsibilities, and about time that governments started spending more research funding on devel;oping safe and natural or at least recyclable alternatives.

  • Alex Mitchell

    I don’t know if I am mistaken about this, but I get the distinct impression that casualty figures are being suppressed. There is no evidence of a systematic counting of missing people. It seems that a record of tenancies, should be a starting point, followed by an attempt to identify from survivors who might have been in each flat. If only those people whose relatives, or friends have identified them as missing are counted, there might well be whole floors of the building where unidentified people have not been included. Obviously there is a public order motive to downplay the magnitude of this tragedy. We are at a “Herald of Free Enterprise” moment, when crass ineptitude is exposed, and major changes forced through.

    • Michael McNulty

      Some local residents are saying a lot of emergency beds provided for survivors are not being taken up because there are few survivors. Some are also saying it’s now time to stop talking about missing people and properly call them the dead.

    • Laguerre

      I’m sure you’re right. The number of casualties hasn’t been updated for some time, although everybody recognises that there are more to come. It’ll be after the riots have calmed down, aka violently suppressed.

      • Kempe

        Latest is 30 dead, 58 missing presumed dead. It was always going to take a little time to collate the numbers but we won’t know for certain until search teams have sifted through the debris and recovered all the remains, a job for forensic archaeologists which is going to take weeks and might be affected by the structural integrity of the building.

        Can we have a little patience before we start on the wild conspiracy theories?

        • Ultraviolet

          I agree with your last point, but there is no reason at all why we should not know by now how many people are unaccounted for.

          This isn’t unprecedented, though, and I don’t see this as necessarily a conspiracy theory, so much as the huge difficulty of accounting for people after a fire in a tower block. I recall when the first reports of 9/11 came through suggesting that at least ten people had died, or some such ridiculous figure, and I was just thinking, “Don’t treat us like idiots. We’ll be lucky if 10,000 haven’t died”. I was overestimating, but that is what happens when the media broadcasts patently stupid lines like that.

    • Ron

      If you ask this ‘government’ how many disabled people they have killed in the last seven years through social security changes, reduction/ elimination of services and massive reduction of benefits – they would not be able to tell you – because their deaths are not important enough to be monitored – Iain Duncan Smith claims that monitoring is not important as getting everyone into ‘work’ is the answer – there has been practically no demonstrable anger by the public over this – disabled people are even more ‘invisible’ than the poor of this tower block

    • German Girl

      The temperatures in that fire might have been VERY high because such buildings can develop some type of blast furnace type of ventilation as lots of air is streaming in or sucked in.

  • Becky Cohen

    If you’re poor and especially an immigrant the wealthy elite who control everything don’t care about you. Although, the gap between the rich and poor is the largest in this borough than anywhere else in Britain, you’ll find pretty much the same level of neglect in any housing complex or area in Britain where poor people and especially immigrant poor people live. Unless you’re earning upwards of £30,000 per annum you are simply off the radar as far as politicians are concerned. The horror of what happened at Grenfell Tower is actually beyond words and that a similar thing happened in 2009 and government ministers decided not to enact the recommended fire protection and health & safety recommendations is nothing short of a downright crime. The people of that area of London are angry and who on earth could blame them. If anyone isn’t angry about this then quite frankly there is something very wrong with them. We all need to support them and help to give them strength to keep on, and on , and on, and on until those responsible for this are held accountable – meaning, at the very least, that there are a number of people who deserve a lengthy jail term here. And, as a society all decent people should keep on and on and on about this until the proper fire prevention/health & safety legislation in ALL high rise tower blocks is enacted – irrespective of how much money some toff is going to lose. The fact that many of the victims are poor immigrant workers reminds me a bit of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of over a 100 yeas’ ago now. Have we not moved on since those times? Evidently not!!!! Yours, very very angry, Becky x

    • Xavi

      Hear, hear! Sadly the same people who have for decades called for the “bonfire of regulations” that produced this tragedy are now preparing to embark for Brussels on Monday, determined to “free” Britain of even more “suffocating red tape” and “elf n safety gorn maad”!

      As the great sage Littlejohn routinely concludes his rants about EU regulations: “you couldn’t make it up!!!” The rest of the planet looks on with growing incredulity ..

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why no appointment of judge-led inquiry into the disaqster?

    Still setting up cover up. or is appointment of Lord Hutton again upsetting the deal with the DUP?

      • Alcyone

        Except of course the human cost of dislocation.

        A dedicated coordinator Minister should be appointed to ensure swift action leading to rebuilding or refurbishment to best-practice fire safety standards. The cost should be as good as irrelevant.

        How are the manufacturers of that inflammable material allowed even to make an inflammable cladding? It’s insane.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Installing sprinklers is really cheap – and they do work. Most of the infrastructure to support sprinklers is already there.

        • Kempe

          According to The Engineer fitting sprinklers to Grenfell Tower would’ve cost £200,000. I wouldn’t call that really cheap but with hindsight of course it would’ve been the bargain of the century.

          • Alcyone

            Thanks for that Kempe. 2% of the total cost of refurb then–that’s cheap enough.

          • Tony_0pmoc

            Kempe, I know plumbers can be very expensive, but I was taught the basics of plumbing and electrical installation in 6 weeks when I was 15, before I started my “A” Levels. They paid me £8 a week. I can still do it. It’s mainly hard work, basic mechanical skills, common sense, and keeping your joints really clean.

        • fredi

          The trouble with sprinklers is that idiots, found by the dozen on social housing estates, will set them off for entertainment, the water damage costs huge amounts to fix.

    • D_Majestic

      Funny you should come up with that name, Trowbridge. When the (Ahem)- Public Inquiry was announced, at once I thought ‘Well- a job for that man again, perchance’.

    • Julian Turnbull

      Better a Coroner-led inquiry. Shorter, much shorter. A few months, not years, with far more direct resident input and total independence from Government. And for all you cost-cutters out there – much cheaper. A Public Enquiry is to kick the ball in the long-grass, with the hope that it will all be forgotten. Don’t let them get away with this. Not this time.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Even the controversial Hutton Inquiry opened hearing about a fortnight after Dr. Kelly’ mysterious death.

    Now we don’t evenhave an easy appointment of the judge to start proceedings.

  • DLL

    Whitehall leak reveals plan to cover up terror death toll

    October 3 2004, 1:00am, The Sunday Times

    POLICE will withhold the true death toll if there is a “catastrophic” Al-Qaeda attack on Britain. This would be necessary to “mitigate and minimise” its impact on the public, according to secret Scotland Yard plans.

    The confidential memos — the latest in a series of Whitehall leaks to The Sunday Times — say that officers should not disclose the “numbers or seriousness/nature of injuries” of casualties immediately after a “dirty bomb” attack, even if there are thousands of dead and wounded.

    One memo, titled Communications Strategy for Dealing with a Terrorist Attack, suggests that poor handling of an attack will have “political implications” that could damage the police and government.

    The instruction to withhold information contrasts with assurances by Tony Blair and David Blunkett, the home secretary, that the public will be told the truth about terrorism.

    In a speech about terrorism to last week’s Labour conference, Blunkett said that it was “crucial . . . we don’t hide the truth”. Two years ago Blair promised that the public would not be kept in the dark.

    Circulated throughout Whitehall as police and Home Office experts prepare plans to deal with an Al-Qaeda “spectacular” in the run-up to the general election, the document reflects concern that a large-scale attack could turn voters against the Blair government.


    BBC’s Charter (circa 2006):


    8.1 The Corporation shall, whenever so requested by any Minister of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and at the Corporation’s own expense, broadcast or transmit from all or any of the stations any announcement (with a visual image of any picture or object mentioned in the announcement if it is a television transmission) which such Minister may request the Corporation to broadcast or transmit; and shall also, whenever so requested by any such Minister in whose opinion an emergency has arisen or continues, at the like expense broadcast or transmit as aforesaid any other matter which such Minister may request the Corporation to broadcast or transmit, provided that the Corporation when sending such an announcement or other matter may at its discretion announce or refrain from announcing that it is sent at the request of a named Minister.

    8.2 The Secretary of State may from time to time by notice in writing require the Corporation to refrain at any specified time or at all times from broadcasting or transmitting any matter or matter of any class specified in such notice; and the Secretary of State may at any time or times vary or revoke any such notice. The Corporation may at its discretion announce or refrain from announcing that such a notice has been given or has been varied or revoked.

    8.3 If and whenever in the opinion of the Secretary of State an emergency shall have arisen in which it is expedient in the public interest that Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom shall have control over the broadcasting or transmission of any matter whatsoever by means of the stations or any of them, it shall be lawful for the Secretary of State to direct and cause the stations or any of them or any part thereof to be taken possession of in the name and on behalf of Her Majesty and to prevent the Corporation from using them, and also to cause the stations or any of them or any part thereof to be used for Her Majesty’s service, or to take such other steps as he may think fit to secure control over the stations or any of them, and in that event any person authorised by the Secretary of State may enter upon the stations or any of them and the offices and works of the Corporation or any of them and take possession thereof and use the same as aforesaid.

    Formerly available here: bbc.co.uk/info/policies/charter/

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Right, DLL, still want to know how “Faulty Fridge” man discovered why it was allegedly on fire, and just walked out an opened door, and told a neighbor about it rather than raising the alarm for everyone possible, looking for fire prevention equipment in the fire trap, and not simply walking away, leaving the above floors to become deadly inferno.

      • DLL

        [Mod: Posting is excessively long. Please limit quotations or your own comments to a brief paragraph and add links. Edited down. Thank you.]

        Mahad Egal relates that the fridge exploded sometime before 01:00 am and that the fire brigade were there by ‘no later than ten past one’ taking a statement from the resident of flat 16, which was the scene of the fridge exploding.


        Behailu Kebede was in the flat where the fire is alleged to have started


        Dad, 63, died after jumping from a window to escape a Manchester house blast caused by a faulty Beko fridge-freezer”


        “Homeowner left with serious cuts and bruises after fridge-freezer exploded in his kitchen says he only survived because he was kneeling down”


        “An end may finally be in sight to the mysterious and distressing power surges that have bedevilled Grenfell Tower residents throughout the past month. However, decisive action was only taken yesterday after highly distressed residents descended en masse on the estate office to demand action. They had woken to find smoke issuing from various electrical appliances in their homes, including the light fixtures, and descended in panic to the estate office to demand help and assistance. Emergency electricians who attended later in the day were finally, it seems, able to identify the source of the problem. An emergency temporary electrical by-pass supply has been provided and the necessary follow–up works will be carried out in the near future.”


        “We recently reported on the discussions about the much delayed Grenfell Tower refurbishment project which took place at the RBKC Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee in July. The Report to the Committee also included a section on the power surge issue, but we decided to feedback separately on that, to avoid confusion and because it warranted special attention, but also because the report contained little on the power crisis that was new or informative, and much that was misleading if not thoroughly deceitful. For most of this we can probably thank the TMO officer(s) who provided the briefing for the report.”



        • Tony_0pmoc

          Mod, Thanks for putting that back. It’s really interesting. Meanwhile do you remember Compact Flash? I thought it was a relic from the past, but apparently some companies still use it..and my Son just now insisted I had a Compact Flash reader. To my amazement he found it. He obviously needs it for his job next week.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      DLL, Thank you so much for posting in normal type. I read every word. That adds enormously to my understanding, but I still can’t stop crying for the hundreds of people who lost their lives.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I guess its a bit like “The Christians” in Northern Ireland. I never understood that, and still don’t. We did have Protestants and Catholics in Oldham too. We even had Marches. I was an Altar Boy it was a lot of fun.. We also had Oldham Carnival – reputedly the longest Procession in The UK…

    Trying to understand Muslims is even more difficult – but I am learning….a bit…

    Try this

    “Jihadists in the service of imperialism by Thierry Meyssan”



    “We often ask ourselves how the Pentagon and the CIA manage to manipulate millions of Muslims and send them off to fight for Uncle Sam’s interests. Of course, it’s true that certain leaders are paid agents, but all jihadists believe that they’re fighting and dying in order to gain access to Paradise. The answer is childishly simple – using the rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood as a start, it’s possible to evade human reality and send them to kill anyone you like as long as you wave a red flag at them.”

    and this

    “Qatar-Saudi Catfight Unveils “Western” Terrorist Propaganda Outlets”


    Its all very well pointing out that they brainwashed, by Western Powers to fight each other, but unfortunately so are many of us in “The West” too.

    There is very little defence to intense propaganda. The best course of action in the UK is to bin the Telly.


  • DLL

    A Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation.

    “She has asked for a cross-Government meeting at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to take place at 4pm to co-ordinate the response and ensure the Government is ready to assist the emergency services and local authorities as necessary.

    “The PM’s thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible incident and the emergency services, who are working tirelessly in very difficult circumstances.”


    Earlier on Wednesday, Police and Fire Minister Nick Hurd chaired a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to co-ordinate the response to the disaster, and the Government said it was ready to assist “as necessary”.

    Mrs May said it was “impossible to comprehend the horror” of what the victims of the fire have gone through.

    The tragedy comes little more than a week after Londoners stood defiant in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack, and Mrs May applauded the “incredible bravery” of the emergency services and the reaction of those who helped those caught up in the fire.

    She said: “The response of people living nearby who provided help, compassion and support has I think once again shown the fantastic spirit of London.

    “Earlier today I ordered a cross-government meeting to ensure that every assistance was being given to manage the emergency service response and that group will meet again tomorrow.”

    It was agreed at the meeting of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat that further checks would be carried out on similar tower blocks.


    UK resilience and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat

    Without attracting front-page attention the Blair government has quietly presided
    over a revolution in internal propaganda systems for dealing with national
    emergencies. The overhaul was set in motion in July 2001 a a result of the
    foot-and-mouth crisis and drawing on the experience of the floods of winter
    2000 and the cost of fuel protests. Based in the Cabinet Office and overseen
    initially by the most senior propaganda official in the civil service, the Head of
    the Government Information and Communication Service Mike Granatt, is the
    Civil Contingencies Secretariat. It works closely with another new body, the
    Health Protection Agency which encompasses parts of the Department of
    Health disease surveillance operation and the MoD’s chemical and biological
    labs at Porton Down. Under the rather chilling website title ‘UK Resilience’, this
    network of organisations also works closely with the Special Branch and Mi5.
    They tap straight into the CIC, chaired – until his departure from government –
    by Alastair Campbell. The aim of the CCS is said to be to improve the UK’s
    ‘resilience’ to ‘disruptive challenge’.2 It has already seen action in the firefighters
    dispute – an indication of the orientation of the CCS towards state rather than
    public service agendas.
    Post September 11 it has been centrally involved in
    circulating information on the alleged ‘threat’ from Islamic ‘terrorism’

    The CCS houses a 24-hour monitoring spin operation called the News Co-
    ordination Centre (NCC)
    , which stands ready for use in the event of the next
    emergency. It has also (in the wake of September 11) established a wide
    ranging review of information handling in an emergency situation, undertaken
    by a working party involving government press officers and senior media
    exeectuvies together with police and local authority crisis planners. The Media


    Emergency Forum has produced a long report that the CCS claims ‘reflects a
    more productive relationship with the media.3 The approach taken by the CCS
    is more sophisticated than previous emergency planning responses that allow
    the government simply to take over the broadcast media. However, that system
    is still in place – according to Mike Granatt, forced out as Direct General of the
    GICS in early 2004, ‘we’ve got a system that was put in place for nuclear
    war. We could press the button and pre-empt every transmitter in this country’
    But this would be counter-productive. ‘Voluntary’ agreements with the media are
    seen as more effective.
    Granatt (2003) says: ‘We need a credible active
    sceptical – rather than cynical – system of news reporting … Anything we do to
    subvert the process of giving trust in that is wrong … If the BBC or ITN … said
    we think you should do this because the government says so, we would be lost.’
    So productive has this been that is has occasioned little attention in the media.

    It was the new propaganda apparatus that oversaw the release of the
    information on the alleged discovery of ricin in January 2003 and that ordered
    the tanks to Heathrow in late 2002, following an intelligence tip-off, reported as
    a suspected surface to air missile attack on the airport. In the case of Heathrow,
    Granatt (2003) has noted:

    I will now confess to you. I sat at all the meetings that decided to do that,
    and I have seen agony cross their face before … Ministers actually
    considering putting tanks at our biggest economic asset … After what I
    sat and heard, doing it was absolutely necessary and I can’t tell you more
    – I’m very sorry about it but that’s the fact. But I can tell you first hand
    there was no lack of sincerity and and nobody does that because it’s going to
    make some propaganda point for a war that at that point, wasn’t entirely
    certain anyway.

    What Granatt and others sat and hear was the intelligence assessment of the
    threat. Whether or not the threat was genuine or just more dodgy ‘intelligence’,
    no one was arrested and no surface to air missiles were found. Militarily, the
    effectiveness of light armoured vehicles, with a top speed of thirty-eight miles an
    hour, against a SAM attack launched at some distance from the airport remains
    opaque. But according to senior sources involved in the decision: ‘You don’t
    catch rockets in an armoured vehicle. That is not the point. Part of the point of
    these things may be deterrence. So visibility is another part of the game.’
    Visibility – otherwise known as propaganda.


    From the First World War:

    More lies have been told about casualties in Iraq and the general level of violence there than at almost any time since the First World War. In that conflict, a British minister remarked sourly that he suspected the military authorities of keeping three sets of casualty figures: “One to deceive the Cabinet, a second to deceive the people and a third to achieve themselves.”


    From the London Bombings:

    The ITV News editor-in-chief, David Mannion, said he had been called yesterday by a Home Office PR demanding that a newsflash saying that at least 20 people had died be taken down.

    “I said we wouldn’t take it down, because we’d got the figure from an authoritative government source,” he said.



    The London experience in July 2004 and again in August 2006 during the exposure of the plot to blow up passenger airliners mid-air, proved the value of pre-prepared talking points that are simple and consistent. The UK Government has talking points or “top line briefs” on every conceivable issue, from what the authorities’ preparedness on terrorism is, what the investigative framework is, to what the public needs to know on a multitude of flow-on issues ranging from health to public transport and community cohesion. The best-known of these talking points from July 7 was “Go in, stay in, tune in” – a fundamentally simple three-point instruction that Londoners could easily digest and follow, delivered by Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. After the London bombings, the Cabinet Office worked to control and coordinate comment by politicians, to ensure the Government – as far as possible – stayed “on message”. Non-core Ministers’ appointments and speaking engagements were monitored and these politicians advised not to enter media or public discourse on the bombings for this reason. The Cabinet Office’s Director of Counter-terrorism Communications John Toker claims this was a necessary, if draconian, tactic to ensure individuals did not compromise the picture of unity.

    During the London bombings, monitoring which is usually handled at the agency level was undertaken centrally at the National Coordination Centre in the interests of central coordination of communication effort. Similarly in the Netherlands, the ERC in the Hague will carry out media monitoring on behalf of the region or city responding to a crisis. ERC Director Peter Van Dolen is insistent that media monitoring allows authorities to step back mid-crisis and look critically at how they are performing.

    Adopting the perspective of a member of the public is, Van Dolen maintains, invaluable in making judgements about the success of your communications tactics: “It is very important to constantly look from the outside to the inside,” he says, explaining that his monitoring methodology is to adopt an endless circular process of analysis, provision of communications advice to decision-makers, execution of that advice, monitoring, and around again.

    During July 7 in the UK, Sky News was acknowledged as a key source of information for not just the public, but also first responders and other media. Authorities maintain that media monitoring should be done centrally for all agencies, as part of a strategic, coordinated media approach. Consequently, such live television sources must be closely monitored and misleading or wrong information quickly corrected.

    [Neil Stanbury, 2006]

    • Tony_0pmoc


      Craig Murray recently complained about his own text in his own book “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” being a bit small and difficult to read. Well, I can read it perfectly O.K.. I don’t know what he’s complaining about.

      It’s your “slanted to the right” text that I really find hard to read.

      Why not just use quotes?


        • Tony_0pmoc

          Trowbridge, connecting the dots often results in a very false picture, that the person who placed the dots wanted you to see.

        • Tony_0pmoc


          This man (posted above by DLL) is quite obviously telling the truth. Yes the sound ain’t that great – but whoever put it up on youtube recorded it by pointing his mobile phone or his camera at his TV screen…before The BBC or whoever deleted it.

          You should watch it. The guy is telling the truth.

          “Mahad Egal, Grenfell Tower: fridge exploded in Flat 16, 4th floor & bollards blocked fire engines”



      • Alcyone

        Isn’t it policy here that you make your own remarks in the main, and add links etc, rather than posting whole metres of copy-pastes?

    • fwl

      So emergency procedures in place to control perceptions, but what about emergency procedures for the management of disaster relief.

  • Sharp Ears

    18m ago
    Theresa May’s statement comes after she met earlier today with 15 victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, volunteers and community leaders.

    ‘I have heard the concerns and I have ordered immediate action across the board to help victims’ relatives and the survivors. People lost everything in the fire and were left in only the clothes they were wearing. I can confirm that a £5m emergency fund that I announced yesterday is now being distributed on the ground so people can buy clothes, food and other essentials. If more funding is required, it will be provided,” the prime minister said.

    May has set a deadline of three weeks for all those affected to be found a home nearby and she has requested daily progress reports. “I have ordered that more staff be deployed across the area, wearing high visibility clothing, so they can easily be found, dispense advice and ensure the right support is provided. Phone lines will have more staff,” she added.

    Victims have concerns their voice will not be heard, that their many questions about this tragedy will not be answered. That is why I ordered a public inquiry, with the costs for providing victims with legal representation met by government. The inquiry will be open and transparent. Government and ministers will cooperate fully. I anticipate the name of the judge will be announced within the next few days and that an open meeting will be held with residents to help shape the terms of reference. It has been decided today that the public inquiry will report back to me personally. As prime minister, I will be responsible for implementing its findings.”


  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Really shocking that survivors of victims will split 6,000,000 pounds, while some in the 9 /11 attack got about a third that much personally.

    Just shows how the war on Islam has cheapened values..

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Trowbridge, The 70+ years you allegedly spent working as a spy (I forget which side) appears to have removed much of the empathy from your brain. Yet most of it still seems to work rather well considering you are so old. You did say you were even older than George Soros, but I would be amazed if you are on his team. You are much better class. You can write a lot better. Have you got flu too?

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        I was always working hard for some truth, not that hard for my employer at any one time. They always want you to jump through some hoop for almost nothing.

        My feelings and indignation have grown with years.

        Do suffer from PTSD, though have not got the flu yet after having turn down a free shot at the VA where I did take one to prevent shingles.

        Thanks for your candor and efforts in the discussion.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          Trowbridge, You may have a point. I find this article and photographs extremely strange.

          1. Why was he so publically photographed?
          2. How come – he actually had access to the body bags. (Don’t The Police normally seal off such access??)
          3. Before being arrested he allegedly wrote this..”In one of his posts, Mwaikambo claims the body of a victim was left outside his flat for two hours before police or ambulances arrived.”
          “‘Does any one know this body laying outside my flat for more than two hours”

          Why has he so quickly been jailed for 3 months?


          None of this seems right. Yes, i know you think – no one goes opening body bags in a tragedy like this to photograph the contents…but in the real world – no such person would have access to the crime scene after the police arrived.


  • Union summer

    Even Britain’s libraries, the ones that are still open, are now run by “arms-length companies”,

  • Brianfujisan

    Earlier, Michael M was saying a resident had said 500 people have died.

    Would this be her Michael, Very Emotional Lady, and rightly very angry –


    Get well soon Craig..
    There was indeed something going around, I couldn’t even speak last week, Hate being on Antibiotics

    • Michael McNulty

      Yes, that’s the lady. Her comments made me think about what may have really happened and how that differs from official reports.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Jeremy Corbyn is the only one who is making any sense. He doesn’t know what happened either. He is not just portraying himself as a natural leader…he is doing and saying all the right things as a natural leader. I may even yet join the Labour Party. I know what its like round here, One of our friends also lives in a Tower Block close by. I call her my Spanish Ambassador – cos I can only understand a word she says after 3 pints of beer. Today her daughter sent my wife and I an invitation to her Wedding. We were both completely delighted to be invited..and we are Definitely going. It’s a very Posh do. Its easy for my wife…but what do I wear?

    “Nirvana – Ven a mi boda como eres”



  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I think given the physical and weather conditions of West London, it would have been better if the Royal Family had “Trooped the Colours” like ordinary people rather rathan traditional monarchs reviewing the imperial guard in a sweltering heat as if the country was still in a bygone age,

  • Ron

    Watching various media over the last 24 hours there is no doubt in my mind that there is a concerted effort to show May in a good light, showing how hard she is working for the people of Grenfell Tower, even meeting people at No10 today. She has even stated that the reaction of services wasn’t good enough. For Sky and BBC this is equivalent to an apology – which it is definitely NOT. M
    ay the haridan is trying to close this story down as soon as possible as she has a busy week next week with Brexit and the opening of parliament and even a ‘deal’ with the DUP. She is scum.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    My wife and I didn’t make the Festival today…we were both much too upset. We are not going to Glastonbury either..well maybe later…However we ain’t done too bad over the last 50 years…We usually do about 5 or 6 a year Camping. It keeps us fit and we meet such nice people.

    “1967 The Summer Of Love – One Summer Dream”


    Next One well i dunno – we are definitely going to the Rock&Bike..but that’s not till next month.


    Just get on with it…

    Jeremy Corbyn will be our New Prime Minister (they will probably be useless too) – but I can’t see how ANY of them (and that includes Neil Kinnock) can possibly be as bad as you Useless Tories…I mean FFS. You make Maggie Thatcher look like a Princess..You are Seriously THAT BAD. It’s Not a Good Look.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    This song is for all the victims of the fire within Grenfell Tower. All the actors and musicians in this film are still alive (so far as I know).

    Over 200 people – maybe as many as 500 people who were in Grenfell Tower this week are dead.

    “Wings” is a song by English musician Birdy. The song was released as a digital download on 29 July 2013 and in the United Kingdom on 8 September 2013 as the lead single from her second studio album, Fire Within (2013).”

    “Birdy – Wings (Official Video)”



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