Thursday, 15 June 2017
Charity Begins at Home...?
I was impressed by the screaming headlines in the press this morning concerning the tower block fire yesterday. All called for someones head, all yelled about safety, all demanded something ought to be done.
Where were they several years ago when the tenants of this block demanded changes? Where was the press opposition when the Labour Party attempted to ensure landlords made their properties safe for tenants? They were nowhere as these were not important stories for the daily press, sex, scandal, political intrigue and immigrants sells papers not dangerous housing, especially among the lower orders. Especially when some 71 Conservative MPs who voted against the Labour bill demanding landlords took action were and still are landlords themselves! The Tory press would not mention this.
Out of some 400 or so tenants less than half have been identified, I feel for the foremen who have to clear the building once it is made safe.
When these buildings arose in the 1950's they were an answer to a desperate housing problem. It was not long before the dehumanising aspect of the style of building came to the fore, and indeed the misbehaviour of the people living in such blocks. Lack of authoritative control, ignorant tenants and soon these places were wastelands. Only once done up and sold off to paying owners with porters, sorry 'Concierge' at the door could such places work. It is not just the building but the people that ruin such creations. Of course many were badly designed, many have been destroyed and more human housing produced but in the end the people decide whether a housing development works or not.
I liked the idea of being high up, great views, wonderful skies, but if the lift breaks you are trapped. We know know, and ought to have known long ago, that fire is a hazard to be avoided. No block of flats ought to go over four stories in my view, this enables most firemen to gain access to you. It was very difficult to watch the pictures of the trapped high above, or listen to the tales of the survivors. This made worse by endless speculation and repetition of survivors stories over and over again to no-ones advantage.
Of course the £62 million or so taken from the Fire Service has to play a part, closing fire stations, and I read somewhere that yesterday the government sold all the fire engines and equipment to a private company on the very day this fire erupted. That requires checking but sounds just like this government. I was intrigued to find a link on Twitter to an item in the London Evening Standard blaming cuts to services as one factor responsible for the fire, the Evening Standard the paper now 'edited' by one George Osborne the failed chancellor of the Exchequer who brought in the 'austerity' that gave us the cuts and decimated the Fire Service, the Police, the Ambulance crews, the NHS and everything else! I wonder if George read that item?
When I met one of my women today we discussed, among other important topics, the response to the tragedy. People were collecting items to send, food, clothes, blankets and the other daily requirements that the folks from the tower have lost. I noticed some wished to do so round her, others as far away as Fife were offering items and then I began to think something was not right here. For a start this disaster occurred in London, relatively close to the centre of the city and with seven or eight million people and a good number there willing to help there is no real need for people at a distance offering such aid. A friend of mine is in close contact with the Latymer Church which is close to the tower and had things been desperate I suspect a call would have gone out for items.
So what makes people respond this way? When I was fifteen the Aberfan disaster occurred. This was a mining village in Wales where an unsteady coal bing, the residue of coal waste that towered above the village gave way and fell across the village destroying the primary school and killing around one hundred and fifty young children. Far away in Edinburgh watching this unfold on our rented Black and White TV I was gripped with a desire to go and dig out the kids. An absurd idea as if miners and police could not save the I certainly would not.
Years later while working for a charitable organisation I came across a wise item in a magazine where the author asked about those helping at Aberfan, they would come for miles to help he said but would they care about the man next door having a breakdown? It is easy to rush to a disaster, it is hard to cope with daily stress of individual or local group disasters, no less real but not so spectacular. Is rushing to a disaster such as this from far away the right thing to do, is it really 'loving your neighbour?'
Another man who has had a personal disaster is Tim Farron the Lib-Dem leader. His party did not have an great success during the election, it did however grow from I think 8 seats to 12 so it wasn't all bad, but he himself was hounded by the media not on his policies but because he follows Jesus.
When interviewed there were few policy questions merely constant queries regarding whether he thought as a Christian homosexuality was a sin. This was the constant refrain and sadly he failed to cope with this. Instead of loudly brazing it out and saying "Yes it is!" he attempted to compromise out of 'consideration' for others opinions. This was wrong! The other day a senior Liberal in the House of Lords resigned because he objected to the biblical position offered by Tim, this has forced Tim Farron into resigning his position as leader. A mistake in my view. This Lord ought to have been castigated for his intolerance, his prejudice and his religious discrimination and thrown out of the party! It is the Liberal Party after all so why has he now allowance for liberty?
Underneath all this lies the clear anti-Christian forces that dominate the media, that through the gay lobby harass those who stick to Christian principles (the Muslims are however never attacked as they might fight back) and white, middle class socialists, who have never done a proper days work in their lives, dominate the world. We must obey their commands and accept homosexuality and all the other apparently new found behaviours as normal even if they are not. From primary schools now children are indoctrinated to believe such behaviour is normal, instead of accepting people who behave thus, a very big difference! The gay lobby leads the attack on the church as that is the truth that the power behind them hates, Christians such as Tim Farron ought to be given support to take his stand and not attacked constantly because of this.
We are right to wonder if there would have been a Lord grumbling if Tim won a lot of seats, we are right to wonder if all would be different then? Possibly the Lord was only one man involved in a coup and we will soon know if his friend the new leader, whoever he may be, invites him to be a spokesman for something in the Lords.
I was forced out into the sunshine thrice today. Not only did I have to visit two supermarkets to obtain cheap supplies but the brutes at the bird feeders broke one of the feeders and later I had to walk in the heat wearing dark glasses and bumping into things just to buy another. Naturally the young girls at the counter were impressed with my 'James Bond' approach, I could tell by the way they looked at me, one of them even woke up long enough to almost smile. I could see she was finding it tough having spend many years in school learning about many things and discovering work was in fact boring! Having gained umpteen 'O' and 'A' levels and been interviewed as if she was applying for work as a rocket scientist she finds herself at a check out in a far too warm and stuffy store dealing with the public! Poor lass, I hope something better arrives soon. I always like to cheer such as her up by reminding them they can leave at 65 or 70 and enjoy retirement but they always look so glum when I do.
It's a giggle mind!