The aftermath of the horror that is Grenfell Tower is one of anger, confusion, disbelief and fear.
Confusion is not surprising given the poor coverage on mainstream media and, out of necessity, our reliance on uneven quality social media.
Disbelief for many as the realisation that the fire that took only 30 - 45minutes to spread up the tower could have been prevented by simple old fashioned and correct fire safety standards. (see LINK end of article)
And fear. Fear that those in power really don’t care and will shake off this disaster as a catastrophe from which “lessons will have to be learnt”. Again. Hollow words from Theresa May, the Conservative party and its Ministers who are now revealed as failures of human beings.
And of course that leads right back to the Anger. Anger can be a soul destroyer but in this case anger can be and should be a major food supply for our hungry inner souls.
In a moment of much needed calm we should also be asking ourselves how we got here. Thirty years or more of a warped twisted economic philosophy we now dangerously give a cute name - AUSTERITY - is how we got here. The simple hopeless philosophy that the private sector focusing on profit - men and women in suits using their business profit accumen to care - is a better performer than publicly publicly run services where attention to saving and protecting people’s lives is the main focus.
As Deon Lombard, Principal, Deon Lombard Architects said in his article about placing public safety into private hands
Another post this morning on the dreaded Facebook alerted us to the fact that Parliament had, in August 2016, decided sprinklers were no longer necessary in new school buildings.... um... new state schools not needing sprinklers... I'm.... it's OK. Only poor kids. There's too many of them anyway... that's Austerity mentality.
We need to be asking ourselves why there wasn't public and media outrage at the time of these Parliamentary debates, bills, motions and amendments. Bills allowing lives to be put at risk by the kneeling to profit and the shirking of government responsibility to protect lives. Why government has stepped to one side to let the business world take up controlling positions over our daily lives. Business only exists to create profit. That is not rocket science. Corporate business on a grand scale now rests its overfed fat arse on the seat of public power in this country.
Why didn’t we know? Because our democratic processes don’t allow us in. Hasn’t done for years. The last three decades of “buckle your belts grin and bear it” has made it very difficult to participate in democracy and that seems to suit the politicians - on all sides of the house - just fine.
This underlying psychology of “Austerity” is what is truly terrifying.
“We’re poor so we don't deserve" is the psychological state of being that has been dealt to all of us, our kids, for too many years. Some manage to break from it, others find themselves actively fighting it. But for the majority the effort of surviving in low pay jobs, paying huge rents, trying to offer children a childhood, supporting elderly parents - getting involved in politics is just too much. Especially when politicians prove to be receivers of financial rewards as a result of their heightened status as elected representatives.
Austerity is literally KILLING PEOPLE and the rich don't care.
Why should they? Is not in their DNA. Just as politics has been bred out of ordinary people the rich have have also had social conscience sucked out of them.
Oh we can talk of philanthropy and good people who donate to the poor... you know what? Fuck off. I'm sick of charity. Charity just maintains the system of dog eat dog. The throwing of scraps to the needy. That's why we're seeing so much of new Corporate Charity being dragged into our lives in the NHS, mental health, disability and social care, education.
Our limited two party political system is diseased and failing us.
This week it has proved it can also kill us. Our mainstream media is diseased, failing and this week proved that it is happy to support the establishment even when it is killing us.
Our country is sick, failing.
But there is hope. It is awful that it takes a disaster like this to allow people the opportunity to find their rage and their voice. But they are finding them. And especially in the young generation for whom the vision of a hopeless “no prospects”, “living in hard times”, “there’s no money” has finally rung like a cracked bell. Hollow.
Dismissed by the mainstream media as the “naive, misguided youth vote” theirs is a voice we need to support and allow to flourish. So in honour of all those lost and affected by the catastrophe in West London let's get writing to local councils, newspapers, MPs, local media. Get our voices out there. This thing called Austerity is political malice and wrong.
And it does not appear to be just the passion of the poor young. Rachel Johnson’s Daily Mail article “My daughter voted Labour!” must have ruffled feathers in comfortable middle class tory households across the country.
The Conservative party should feel more than ruffled. They should feel ashamed. And here I smile because it’s not just the young who are finding their voice. A 70+ friend made me laugh last week when she said:
“We need new swearwords. FUCKERS isn’t enough”.
So get writing to local councils, newspapers, MPs, local media. Get our voices out there.
Austerity has taken away the notion of self-worth from ordinary people below the £30,000 a year line. Many dream of £30k a year. But to most of the inhabitants of the political, banking, media bubble, £30k is piffle. Those people earning that meagre sum are the undeserving, the blight on a prosperous society.
And now a blight on the West London landscape reminds us that this corporate driven sadistic perversion of economic politics entered our lives and nearly destroyed us.
In the hope that one day soon we can see this perverse economic philosophy erradicated from our society, Grenfell Tower needs to be recognised as a living Monument to Austerity.