If you've been following the news lately, you will no doubt be aware of the deadly fire that swept through Grenfell Tower in London this week, killing at least 58 men, women and children (a figure that is predicted to rise dramatically in the coming days and weeks). While it would be grossly inappropriate to speculate as to the cause of the fire, it is known that residents had been voicing serious concerns about the safety of the building for years. There is now a growing sense of anger in the affected community, who are now demanding answers as to why this disaster was allowed to happen, and above all, justice. I for one share their anger and echo their calls for criminal prosecutions of the people responsible for this appalling crime, and as such, let me take this opportunity to list the things that I want to see come out of this disaster.
Firstly, I want our Government to ensure that Grenfell Tower never happens again. How do we ensure that? By demanding nothing less than a complete reappraisal of our country's fire regulations! Back in the day, we had something called a 11d inspection (named after Section 11d of the Fire Services Act 1947 (now repealed)), wherein the Fire Brigade would come in, inspect the building and make very prescriptive requirements of the building's owner(s) before they could get a fire safety certificate. If the building failed to meet regulations, the Fire Brigade would go to a local magistrate and get them to authorise a prohibition notice. Of course, these days it's the responsibility of the building owner(s) to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. At best, we end up with the blind leading the blind; at worst, we end up with bent landlords marking their own homework. Bring back the 11d inspection, I say; and surely it's time we ban flammable cladding and require segregated fire stairs and firefighting lifts, as they've already done in Germany!
Secondly, I want justice for the victims. That building was a fucking deathtrap and the TMO and the council didn't do a bloody thing about it! I want people to go to prison for corporate manslaughter over this, preferably for life! Those people at Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council and the KCTMO who are responsible for this disaster should be made examples of and receive the harshest penalty the law will allow, i.e. life imprisonment.
Justice for the [insert number here]!