Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Emotional testimony from survivors of the Grenfell fire

Issue No. 2606

Survivors, families and friends are demanding justice

Survivors, families and friends are demanding justice (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Survivors and the friends and families of people who died in the Grenfell fire gave a harrowing warning last week.

Their testimonies were heard as the first stage of the public inquiry

And there were powerful tributes to the people who died in the fire.

A friend of Amal Ahmedin described how “she would take the shirt off her back to help you”.

She went on to talk about how much the family loved one another, “That’s how they were when they were being burned alive—holding each other so tight to squeeze the nightmare away.”

Other testimony pointed to the culture of contempt that pervaded Kensington and Chelsea council and its tenant management organisation.

The son of Kamru Miah Hamid said, “My father had had two strokes and a heart attack.

He should not have been on the 17th floor. We complained about this numerous times.”

The commemorations were held after repeated requests from survivors and the friends and relatives of those who died.

The contempt people who lived in Grenfell Tower were treated with has continued.

Video footage of the burning building was shown with no warning at the inquiry last Tuesday, leading about 20 people to walk out.

Karim Mussilhy’s testimony was interrupted by one of the lawyers.

Karim said, “I think, with all due respect, we’ve been censored enough. It’s our time. Whether you like it or not, you will have to listen.”

He went on to say, “I don’t see this as a tragedy—I see it is an atrocity, because essentially there is segregation between the rich and the poor.”

“The inquiry needs to come up with findings, and those findings need to be implemented by the government,” said Edward Daffarn from the Grenfell Action Group last week.

That’s right. And if the inquiry is to get anything like justice it must be put under pressure.

The monthly Silent Walk is set to take place on Thursday 14 June at 6.30pm outside the Notting Hill Methodist Church, W11 4AH.
A solidarity march is set to take place at Downing Street on Saturday 16 June.

Tory Digtial minister Matt Hancock claimed he knows little about technology because of his ancestors. He said, “One of my ancestors was leader of the Nottinghamshire Luddites and got deported to Australia for smashing up looms.”

Shows that there isn’t a gene for politics and that Hancock doesn’t understand what the Luddites were about.

You can’t attend the funeral if you are poor

Councils are banning the poorest families from relatives’ funerals in a cost-cutting ploy.

Bracknell Forest council in Berkshire tells its poorest residents that there are “no invites” to so-called paupers’ funerals.

In an apparent attempt to depress demand for the service, officials refuse to provide details of when a family member’s funeral will take place and say the bereaved cannot take ashes home.

An official told a reporter posing as the representative of a dead man’s brother, “There’s no attendees, no keeping of the ashes.

“Nobody’s invited; you don’t have any say over the funeral at all.”

Asked whether the grieving man could say a reading or scatter his brother’s ashes at a place with a special meaning the offical said, “No. It’s not that sort of funeral. It’s literally as basic as basic can get.”

The House of Commons library has had £368 worth of books go missing in the past 12 months. The most expensive was one on the intellectual roots of the Labour Party, costing £90.

Though Redbrick a “history of civic universities” also went wandering, at a cost of £75.

Prosecution lost tape ‘implausible’

Judge Francis Laird called a halt to a case in Birmingham concluding that evidence was suppressed deliberately rather than “by error, misjudgment or incompetence”.

The prosecution of Eyhaz Mahboob and Tahir Iqbal was halted after CPS lawyers were forced to produce a secret tape.

David Matthew, a prosecution barrister, took the stand but promptly fainted when accused of misleading the court.

Laird said the CPS position was “implausible”, found Matthew’s behaviour “inexcusable” and said the police failure to disclose the tape had been “deliberate”.

“The court is not satisfied that all of the evidence given by the prosecution team is truthful.” Iqbal and Mahboob were charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Police bugged a meeting in Birmingham prison. But there was no discussion of the drugs conspiracy.

Instead talk was on the lack of jelly in prison meals and disgust at cockroaches in the jail.

A cop also fainted while being questioned over failure to disclose the tape’s existence.

New job for bullying cop

A bullying senior cop is in line for a £147,000-a-year job with the Met.

Essex deputy chief constable Matt Horne, threw a rubber stress ball, hitting a chief superintendent in the throat.

He pushed the same man against a desk and swore at a superintendent.

Horne is set to be a deputy assistant commissioner at the Met.

Horne’s boss, Essex chief constable Steve Kavanagh, refused to take sanctions against Horne in February, saying his actions were “utterly out of character and will not be repeated”.

The National Crime Agency, where Horne was on attachment, said it would not be renewing his contract as deputy director of operations.

A panel ruled he was guilty of misconduct but not gross misconduct, for which he could have been fired.

Tories arrested for poll fraud

Two senior members of Tory constitution minister Chloe Smith’s local party were arrested in a probe into electoral fraud.

Police held two men on Thursday amid claims that documents were submitted with forged signatures ahead of this month’s local elections in Norwich.

Daniel Elmer and Alex Jackson-Dennis are the two vice-chairs of Norwich Conservative Association.

That is the local party of Smith, who is responsible for electoral reform.

Elmer was released with no further action to be taken, but

Jackson-Dennis is still under investigation.

There is no suggestion election candidate Iain Gwynne or Smith were aware of the alleged fraud.

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