Justice for Grenfell
Grenfell was a tragedy that was felt deeply nationwide. Coming from West London and having taught at a local college, I felt it personally. However, it is more than a tragedy, it is a scandal that reveals the depth of the housing crisis in the UK especially London and it also highlighted the scale of social inequality in Britain.
Successive govenments, Tory and Labour, have neglected housing for too long. This is compounded by the fact that it is an unwritten tenet of consrvative ideology not to build social housing. Why? Very simply, they believe that council house tenants are more likely to vote Labour rather than Conservative. Margaret Thatchers right-to-buy scheme has been instrumental in seeing the social housing stock level drop below the levels of post war Britain.
Decent housing is a basic need and human right and the numbers of homeless families in temporary accommodation has reached record levels and continues to grow exponentially. Nobody can say what the long-term effect of living this way will have on the lives of young children, but it can only be negative.
Wouldn't it have been far better to spend the billions being wasted on the vanity project that is HS2 on good quality social housing? That would be a real investment in the people of this country raising levels of social cohesion and equality.
It has been said that Grenfell should not be used for political ends; But if cuts in public spending, and austerity which undoubtedly contributed to the disaster, are not political issues then what are?
That Theresa May chose to have a public enquiry rather than an inquest dismayed all those affected by the tragedy. Police investigations have begun and may result in prosecutions. We will watch and wait, but not rest until justice is won for the victims of Grenfell.