Since the days of Margaret Thatcher what has become abundantly clear is that at the very heart of neoliberalism, the financial markets, the ‘free market’ ideology and right wing ideologues like the Tories, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy is not just a lack of human values, but absolute scorn for them and arrogant contempt for the lives of ordinary people.
Right now it looks as though the human tragedy in north Kensington might have the power to galvanise people to bring to an end a contempt for common people which stretches at least as far back as the Norman conquest of England which saw England carved up for the benefit of the invaders and home grown sycophants. Time passed and the Industrial Revolution saw the rise of another brand of brutal elites, the Industrialists who amassed enormous wealth on the backs of common people. Britain became the richest country in the world and amassed an empire, yet, then as now, that wealth was concentrated in the hands of the elite few, whilst the many lived as paupers, struggling for a daily crust.
In the last half of the previous century ordinary people saw many advances and improvements in life on the back of WWII which led Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to say in 1957, “most of our people have never had it so good.” There was much talk of the growth of technology, shorter working weeks, shared wealth from the machines which would do the work for our universal benefit. It never happened in the way it was imagined and fast forward to today, Tory policy is that ‘work makes you well’ and if you are not working you will not have support for even the basic necessities of life whether you are just unemployed for whatever reason, sick, disabled, young, middle aged or old and sanctions are routine and rife, depriving people of the means of survival. Whilst Britain is said to be in the top ten of the richest nations, ordinary people have no access to that wealth, it is exclusively in the hands of a very small elite from whom nothing trickles down to ease the age old burdens of ordinary people no matter how ‘hard working’ we are.
Grenfell Tower wasn’t a tragedy waiting to happen, Grenfell Tower was a killing field brought about by policy and wilful neglect and official malfeasance, by people who should have had a duty to make it fit for human habitation, to ensure that all reasonable safety measures were in place, to make provision for front line services which were fit for purpose and adequately manned, to legislate for health and safety, instead of tearing up the rule book for profit and private gain.
This is not, as they say, rocket science, it is ‘common’ sense.
So what do we want?
In the words of Jeremy Corbyn, ‘a fair, more equal and just society’. These are not difficult words to understand, they are kindergarten concepts made complex by adults. They are not weasel words uttered with malicious intent to deceive and anyone who does speak them with intent to deceive is a criminal, because that is what gave rise to the killing fields of Grenfell.
Grenfell carries the sympathy and the love of anyone with a heart for lives shattered by tragedy. The response has been overwhelming, donations are already in million of pounds, the community is overwhelmed with aid. That is what ordinary people do in times of trouble when they are free to do so and not beaten down by politics and a media more intent on spreading lies, hate and division than caring, mutual trust and support.
It can surely be no great mystery that people just want to live and get on with their lives in peace, security and in reasonable prosperity so that they have enough to live on and enough for a rainy day and a holiday, if they so choose. How hard is that to understand, and yet how hard it is to achieve in a country run by those who do not mean us well and who legislate against us?
We are standing on the doorstep of change, a change we must demand and keep on demanding until we, the people, get our way. We need a government that is on our side, with policies that can rebuild our beleaguered nation after years of right wing neoliberal oppression, neglect and destruction.
The time for that is now, the country is in disarray, the Conservatives are a failed party, this must be the end of their world and the start of ours. Nothing else will suffice and nothing else will work. We must have a country for the well being of the many and not just the elite few.
KOG. 16 June 2017