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What follows is a comment made in response to my  post (Good grief) about the Grenfell tower fire from Julian LeGood (architect, retired). 

This is the second of four guest posts on this topic.

Helen posed a couple of other questions about the behaviour of Mrs May in avoiding contact with the survivors and neighbours on the day when Jeremy Corbyn and the Mayor of London visited and about the activities of the council, whether visible or invisible in the days immediately following the fire.

I don’t know who advises Mrs May, but they do seem to get it wrong. Not taking part in the election debates without doubt cost her votes, and not walking among the crowds at Grenfell Tower cost her support. What was the worst that could happen? Some abuse, an egg..? I can’t imagine for one moment it would have caused a riot. The residents’ anger has been directed at the council. At least Mrs May got it right third time and went to Finsbury at the first opportunity.

The Council appears to have been largely invisible following the fire, the spontaneous donation of gifts, food, clothes and offers of accommodation being largely managed by volunteers.

The volunteers needed help. Help to separate short life donations (perishable foodstuffs) from medium life donations (immediate clothing needs, non perishable foods) from long term donations (the prams, push chairs, piles of shoes, toys, and  even (would you believe) a guitar for which the survivors have no immediate need as they simply can’t accommodate them in their temporary housing and hotel rooms.

I can’t understand why the Army was not drafted in.  Logistics and the response to restoring order out of chaos is an area of expertise in the specialist branches. It’s not like London was short of soldiers that week if their turn out at the Queen’s Birthday Parade is anything to go by.  The Council should have been there, yes to take a bit of abuse if the councillors themselves dared come out of the town hall, but also their employees, dressed in high-viz. jackets, to answer questions and manage the situation.

As for the paltry £10/day they are giving the survivors to use for food.  In London that would barely cover a skinny latte and a croissant.  I see today that has been upped to £500 in cash and £5000 in their bank account.  This will be the bank account whose details, account numbers, sort code etc. went up in flames, even supposing a Syrian refugee has a bank account.


Related posts:
Good grief
Grenfell Tower – where did it all go wrong?
Grenfell Tower – staying put
Grenfell Tower – what next?

Image: Microsoft Clip Art