Socialist Worker

Grenfell fire inquiry starts as survivors still suffer trauma

Issue No. 2571

Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Tower (Pic: Guy Smallman)


It is three months since a fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in west London, killing at least 80 people.

Justice for the dead, the survivors and those displaced by the fire is as distant as it has ever been.

The inquiry into the fire was set to begian on Thursday this week.

The inquiry’s chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, was to read a prepared statement.

Later in the day a silent memorial march was set to proceed from Notting Hill Methodist church, in the shadow of the tower, at 6.30pm.

The terms of reference of the inquiry have been limited to the direct causes of the fire and will not look at the wider context.

They were fully endorsed by Tory prime minister Theresa May.

The Defend Council Housing organisation has submitted evidence to the inquiry pointing to the chronic underfunding of council housing as a major contributory factor of the fire.

The inquiry is set to deliver an initial report by Easter of next year. Meanwhile, survivors are going through hell.

Some have reported not being able to get the image of the burning tower out of their minds.

At least 20 people who survived or witnessed the fire have tried to kill themselves, according to the Silence of Suicide charity.

And post traumatic stress has begun to set in for many people.

Counselling services provided by the council remain woefully inadequate.

The new council leader Elizabeth Campbell pushed through millions in cuts.

One nurse working with the Justice4Grenfell campaign group described the problems facing survivors.

“There just isn’t the proper psychiatric help that people need,” she said. “They need trauma and bereavement counselling urgently.”

There will be a live stream of the inquiry session at grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk For details of events on the day go to facebook.com/events/124826314813281 and facebook.com/events/1200460913391429

Lord Mancroft, a Tory, says there are too many former MPs in the Lords.

“Your lordships’ house has increasingly become a retirement home for members of another place. They turn up every day and think they ought to speak in every debate even when they have nothing original to say.”

Mancroft isn’t a former MP. The Old Etonian 3rd baron is a Lord because his grandfather was a MP.


Academy trust gives up days into new term

An academy trust has decided to give up all of its 21 schools.

Wakefield City Academies Trust helpfully chose to make the announcement just a few days into the new school term. It runs schools across Yorkshire.

The trust said it was withdrawing because “the Trust does not have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need”.

Just four of the 21 schools were rated good or outstanding by the Ofsted schools inspectorate.

The Department for Education (DfE) is now helping to look for a new sponsor for the schools.

Apparently simply taking them back under public control isn’t being considered as an option.

The DfE used the fiasco to stress how academy trusts “operate under a strict system of oversight and accountability”.

No doubt that will reassure the children and teachers now facing an uncertain future.


Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Pic: LadyGeekTV)


Jacob Rees-Mogg came top in a poll of Tory voters for who they would like as their next leader.

Troublemaker wonders what you have to do to come bottom?

He opposes gay marriage and abortion.

When he’s not voting for cuts he talks in Latin and names his children after 13th-century popes.


Bigoted bobbies and rifling Rioja rozzers

Four cops have been sacked for making offensive comments about gay and disabled people.

They used a closed WhatsApp group to trade phrases such as “big gay bear”, mock disabled people and joke about sex crime.

A hearing in Leicester found them guilty of gross misconduct.

Four other cops got written warnings after playing a lesser part.

The cops, who sent 92 offensive messages over two years, were caught when a phone was seized.

Meanwhile in the Rioja region of Spain a cop shot and injured 13 colleagues with a rifle he thought was loaded with blanks.

The officer, a member of Spain’s paramilitary Civil Guard, opened fire with the assault weapon for “a joke” during a training exercise.

One bullet severed a colleague’s artery. There were no fatalities.


Tories steal from miners

Energy minister Richard Harrington thinks his government’s arrangement with mineworkers’ pension schemes is working well.

The Treasury is making £51 million a year out of them. When British Coal was privatised in 1994 the government agreed to act as guarantor for the company’s two pension schemes with a 50/50 share of any surpluses.

They did much better than expected, and the Treasury has mined this rich seam to the tune of £9 billion.


The minister for Sri Lanka?

Ian Paisley Jr faces a Westminster sleaze watchdog probe over £100,000 worth of holidays.

The leading DUP MP is accused of failing to declare hospitality from the government of Sri Lanka.

Paisley posted a picture last week meeting the country’s High Commissioner in London “to discuss NI-Sri Lanka trade deal after Brexit”.

It is claimed the son of the late Ian Paisley accepted two family holidays to the Indian Ocean island in 2013.

He denies “defamatory inferences” he did not declare the trips, which don’t appear in the register of MPs’ interests.


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