SEVENTY six people are still unaccounted for after the Grenfell Tower inferno, police confirmed yesterday and also that criminal proceedings have begun to investigate those responsible.
Met Police Commander Cundy said: ‘We as the police have started an investigation… The investigation will look into what criminal offences may have been committed. He however hastened to add – ‘I am not sitting here and saying there are criminal offenses that have been committed.’
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham was more forthright: ‘If the preventable deaths of people burning in their homes are not a matter for the state, then what is?’ He added: ‘They were warned by the residents that there was an obvious risk of catastrophe. They looked the other way. We don’t need another review kicked into the long grass and years of equivocation – what a civilised country should demand is arrests and a criminal trial before a judge and jury.’
The Grenfell Tower tragedy is a class question and a product of the class division of society. The properties of the rich have all the health, safety and fire precautions necessary to keep them safe.
In the case of Grenfell Tower, there was no sprinkler system, no central alarm system, fire doors not fitted, cladding which seems to have spread the fire, only one stairwell and a fire policy which states ‘stay put’ in other words, the building was a death trap, a disaster waiting to happen.
There are 4,000 tower blocks in the UK, each and every one of them a potential Grenfell waiting to happen. Labour leader Corbyn went to the relief centres to speak to survivors and victim’s relatives and pointed to this class division. He said: ‘The south part of Kensington is incredibly wealthy, it’s the wealthiest part of the country.
‘The ward where this fire took place is, I think the poorest ward in the whole country.’ He demanded: ‘And properties must be found, requisitioned if necessary, in order to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally. It cannot be acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live.’
Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. Of course there must be an inquiry but not a Tory government sponsored inquiry which covers up the facts.
After the Lakanal House fire in Camberwell in 2009, which tragically claimed the lives of six people, a special report was done by the all-Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue.
This report which was sat-on for four years, recommended that sprinklers be fitted in every tower block – these recommendations were ignored. To add insult to injury we now find out that one of the main people responsible for suppressing the report was none other than May’s right hand man, her now top advisor Gavin Barwell, he was Housing Minister at the time the report was published.
Reporters caught him on his way into Westminister yesterday morning demanding: ‘Why did you sit on the fire report? Could the deaths at Grenfell have been avoided? Do you plan to release the report anytime soon? Mr Barwell, are you going to release the report? Could Grenfell have been avoided?’
To which all he would say is ‘I can’t comment I’m afraid.’ A public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy will not resolve this issue. What will resolve the issue is bringing down this Tory government, and establishing a Labour government pledged to socialist policies which will build safe, council housing for all and instruct the judiciary and police chiefs to undertake criminal proceedings to jail all those responsible for this mass murder of tenants.
Speaking at the annual conference of the food-workers union, the BFAWU, Labour Shadow Chancellor McDonnell said: ‘What we need now is the TUC mobilised, every union mobilised, to get out on the streets. Just think if the TUC put out that call – that we want a million on the streets of London in two weeks’ time.’
However, the TUC as usual has kept quiet about this huge issue. The food workers union decided to support a million strong march on July 1, assembling at BBC Broadcasting House at 12 noon to march on parliament to force the Tories to resign and bring in a Labour government. Make sure you are there!