A parliamentary photo has exposed what the Tories really think about Grenfell Tower [IMAGE]

Support us and go ad-free

A parliamentary photo has exposed what the Conservative government really thinks about the Grenfell Tower fire – that it doesn’t care all that much. On 12 July, MPs held an important debate on the Grenfell inquiry. But the Conservative benches were nearly empty:

The official death toll for the inferno currently stands at 80. The inquiry is the main procedure by which we stop a similar tragedy happening in the future. Yet, out of the few Conservatives that attended the debate, only three wanted to speak.

No vote was scheduled for 12 July. But MPs scrutinised the critical inquiry. Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Chris Williamson drew attention to the ideology that makes incidents like Grenfell much more likely:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The MP for Derby North said:

we need a difference approach to the neoliberal agenda that has… informed the way in which public services have been delivered in our country. We have to… reverse the deregulation agenda… Surely, we have to abandon the privatisation of our public services.

The root cause

Neoliberalism has been the dominant ideology of almost all Western governments for the last 40 years. Since Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, privatisation, deregulation, and cutting government spending (i.e. neoliberalism) have been the driving force in policy. For Williamson, this ideology has made tragedies such as Grenfell Tower more likely to happen. The lack of sprinklers in council blocks like Grenfell is one example.

Author George Monbiot also agrees with Williamson, saying:

One of the results of this bonfire of regulation is the government’s repeal in 2012 of the fire prevention measures in the London Building Act. Had they remained in place, the Grenfell fire is unlikely to have risen up the tower. This assault on public protections is just one element of the compound disaster that neoliberalism –promoted by opaquely funded groups such as Policy Exchange –has imposed on Britain since 1979. Its central purpose is not just to empower corporations and the very rich, but actively to disempower everyone else, through austerity, outsourcing, and privatisation.

In 2012, the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition removed important fire regulations from the London Building Act. For the government, capital savings for landowners trumped sprinklers and smoke extractors for tenants in tall buildings. So such regulatory measures were removed.

For Monbiot, an inquiry that failed to delve deep into neoliberalism would be a “farce”. Given Conservative policies are under investigation, he argues that the inquiry should be entirely independent from government. But seeing as the government is setting the terms of the inquiry, that seems far from the case.

Priorities

There are many deep questions surrounding the inquiry into Grenfell. Yet the vast majority of Conservative MPs didn’t even bother to turn up to the debate. That tells the public a lot about the Tories’ priorities. And Grenfell doesn’t look very high on the list.

Get Involved!

– Donate to the Grenfell Tower Appeal and support the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign.

– You can also read more from The Canary on the Grenfell Tower fire.

Sign the petition rejecting the Grenfell inquiry appointments.

Featured image via Frank John

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed