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Grenfell Tower fire LONDON fake news 'building may collapse'
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Chaotic Grenfell Tower meeting SCRAPPED after council told they can't hold it behind closed doors':
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/chaotic-grenfell-tower-meeting-s crapped-10711729?ptnr_rid=624111&icid=EM_Mirror_Nletter_Politics

'The Tory leader of Kensington and Chelsea council scrapped a cabinet meeting about the Grenfell Tower fire today after just two minutes, after being told he had to allow it to be open to the press.

Leader Nicholas Paget-Brown claimed he had been given legal advice that the presence of reporters could "prejudice" a forthcoming public inquiry.

Labour called for Paget-Brown's resignation after the meeting descended in to a "fiasco".

The council originally said the meeting would be closed to the press and public, provoking widespread outrage that locals were being kept in the dark.

But an 11th hour ruling by a High Court judge forced the council to allow members of the media into the meeting.

Paget-Brown was furiously confronted by opposition councillor Robert Atkinson who stood up to demand the cabinet's resignation.

Journalists had initially been barred from the meeting until an order from the High Court permitted them entry......'

http://brightcove04.brightcove.com/35/4221396001/201706/132/4221396001 _5487760537001_5487750928001.mp4

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or as he's known to the locals
c*** Wielding Felon
Tory in charge of Grenfell Tower refurbishment investigated TWICE over his role
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-charge-grenfell-tower-refurb ishment-10722834

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff from Nafeez Ahmed

ON THAT SOPHIE KHAN NEWSNIGHT INTERVIEW ABOUT THE GRENFELL TOWER AND THE SUPPOSED CONFLICT BETWEEN AN INQUEST AND AN INQUIRY
https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155682770195942&id=541 960941

I write this as people are protesting outside the Kensington and Chelsea Townhall, understandably enraged at the way they have been treated.

In this context, I have an urgent message to everyone jumping up and down after the ridiculous Sophie Khan interview on Newsnight re: the supposed dichotomy between a #Grenfell inquest and an independent public inquiry.

I question why BBC Newsnight would give a platform to someone who displays such a flagrantly incompetent understanding of the law, despite claiming to specialise in the relevant law, which has now led sincerely concerned members of the public down a bizarre garden path.

I was involved in the campaign for an independent public inquiry into the 7/7 terrorist attacks. WE NEVER GOT ONE. Instead, we got an inquest.

I wrote a report into the 7/7 attacks that was sponsored by Garden Court Chambers. The report was made mandatory reading for all legal counsel as part of the inquest proceedings. Despite that, virtually none of the key lines of inquiry set out in that report regarding the colossal and systemic failures of intelligence, counter-terrorism and foreign policy were actually pursued or resolved by the inquest. The findings of the inquest largely ignored key facts and evidence available to the inquest, and followed the line of the security services.

Meanwhile, many 7/7 survivors who had been denied a public inquiry and had pinned their last hope on the inquest were sorely disappointed that their burning questions remained unanswered.

The 7/7 inquest, for instance, exonerated the security services and attempted to resolve the question of the 'preventability' of the 2005 London bombings. It then concluded that there was no basis for an independent public inquiry, thus putting to bed the very possibility of a further wider public investigation - which was very much required (See for instance https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/sabir-on-security-5/)

A simple reading of my report used by the inquest, and the inquest's findings, demonstrates how wide the gap was between the two, and how justified those conclusions were.
(see http://www.statewatch.org/news/2009/jun/Inside%20the%20Crevice.pdf)

So it's important to recall the following facts:

1. A coroner's inquest into an event like this is a statutory requirement.

So really there is absolutely no reason why there will not be an inquest: "The Coroner is expected to open an inquest where there is reasonable suspicion that the deceased has died a violent or unnatural death, where the cause of death is unknown or if the deceased died while in custody or state detention as defined by section 1(2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009."

2. An independent public inquiry does not rule out an inquest.

As the Law Gazette reported, human rights barrister Simon McKay clarifies that public inquiries and inquests are "not mutually exclusive".

But once an inquest takes place, as the 7/7 inquest shows, the inquest itself can fatally weaken the potential for a wider and more powerful public inquiry.

3. An independent public inquiry has a wider remit than an inquest and can still be chaired by an independent judge, with full legal representation for victims.

Under the Public Inquiry Act, according to McKay, a public inquiry "'will almost certainly' be chaired by an independent judge. Victims and other interest groups will be 'core participants' and can be represented by lawyers. Their lawyers can, under the Public Inquiry Rule, ask questions of any witness subject to the chair's permission." In contrast, an inquest "has a narrow frame of reference." (see https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/tower-fire-solicitor-urges-residents -to-demand-inquest-not-inquiry/5061588.article)

On this basis, I can only conclude the following:

Sophie Khan's Newsnight interview was fundamentally misleading. It is simply false to claim so irresponsibly that a public inquiry would rule out an inquest. It is absurd to urge the public to demand an inquest instead of a public inquiry, when an inquest is precisely an expectation by law for incidents exactly like this. And therefore this Newsnight interview is a complete slap in the face to the victims of Grenfell.

I therefore question why Khan would put herself forward on Newsnight to air views which are fundamentally counterproductive to the interests of the victims and their families.

I question why the BBC's producers would allow this flagrantly legally inaccurate information to be broadcast as if it was factual.

I wonder how convenient it is for the Tory junta that Khan's misleading Newsnight interview has provoked some people to begin campaigning against an independent public inquiry.

I should probably add that Khan is a solicitor, not a barrister, unlike McKay. A barrister has specific expertise in the points of law and is the point of authority for any solicitor.

In conclusion: an independent public inquiry is urgently required. A coroner's inquest is also required, and is to be expected under the law. The police have already declared that they have launched a criminal investigation.

Please share this post so that members of the public can be informed of the facts and realities about this matter. Please don't start or support campaigns based on misleading claims made irresponsibly by self-promoters. Please support the victims and their families by supporting a unified call for an independent public inquiry and an inquest.

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155682770195942&id=541 960941

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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fraud squad probe into Grenfell Tower fire alarms firm
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/fraud-squad-probe-into-grenfell- tower-fire-alarms-firm-a3579206.html

EXCLUSIVE: firm responsible for tower's fire alarms facing accusations it installed defective equipment in HUNDREDS of properties

BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER 4 hours ago

The firm behind the fire alarms at Grenfell Tower is facing a probe by fraud police Met Police
The contractor responsible for fire alarms at Grenfell Tower is being probed by fraud squad police after accusations it installed defective safety equipment in hundreds of London properties, a Standard investigation reveals today.

Housing services company Lakehouse is at the centre of a fraud inquiry after a three-year investigation by police and Hackney Council relating to a £184 million government grant to renovate council properties and install fire and smoke alarms and emergency lighting.

The company was identified by the Standard last week as the contractor responsible for testing and maintaining the fire alarms at Grenfell Tower, which some surviving residents claimed failed to go off in the tragic blaze.


Ten people have been arrested by police after Hackney Council received allegations of “fraud and overcharging” from whistleblowers.

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Council leader quits over Grenfell Tower disaster
Further investigation revealed some of the fire safety work was “defective, including incorrectly installed alarms and emergency lighting systems”. Lakehouse denies any wrong-doing.

The council has now written to 166 town hall chief executives warning them to check work done by Lakehouse and subcontractor Polyteck in case more homes could be at risk.

grenfellletter0407a.jpg
Warning: the letter sent by Hackney council
The letter, seen by the Standard, says council bosses “immediately notified the police” after discovering the work was substandard.

It says: “At all times, throughout this, our focus has been on the safety of our residents.

“We have no evidence to suggest that work carried out on contracts to other councils, by Lakehouse, or its subcontractor Polyteck, was in any way at fault, so we do not wish to cause undue alarm.

tower.jpg
Emergency workers walk on the roof of the fire-ravaged Grenfell Tower (AP)
“However, we believe that as social landlords, after the Grenfell Tower tragedy we must share any information with each other that could potentially help to keep our residents safer.

“It is in this context that we are writing to you, so that if you have had fire safety works carried out by either of these contractors, you have a chance to check them carefully.”

Inside Grenfell Tower
13
show all
The defective works were signed off by staff at Hackney Homes, the arms-length management organisation set up by the council in 2006 in order to receive its allocation of the government’s £1.6 billion Decent Homes programme to help councils raise the standards of its housing stock.

Sources close to the case said the allegations date back to the scheme’s inception in 2011.

A well-placed source told the Standard that payments had been made for work that allegedly was not done, including fire safety work.

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A look inside a flat offered to a family of Grenfell Tower survivors
The source said: “Clearly it has implications for the situation councils find themselves in now.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We can confirm that in July 2014 Hackney Council referred an allegation of fraud to the Metropolitan Police Service’s Complex Fraud Team. An investigation was launched and enquiries are ongoing.

grenfell2.jpg
The charred shell of Grenfell Tower in west London (Reuters)
“A total of 10 people have been arrested as part of the investigation and two people interviewed under caution as part of the investigation.”

Three men aged 48, 39, and 34, were arrested on suspicion of bribery. Two were released from police bail but were “still under investigation”, while one was bailed until October pending further inquiries.

One man, aged 50, was arrested on suspicion of bribery and conspiracy to defraud and also released under investigation.

Three men aged 44, 39, and 38 were arrested on suspicion of bribery and bailed until November pending further inquiries.

Two women aged 45 and 36 were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and released under investigation, as was a 66-year-old-man who was arrested in connection with the investigation.

kensington-town-hall.jpg
A media scrum at a Kensington and Chelsea council meeting in the wake of the fire (Getty Images)
Two men aged 42 and 62 were interviewed under caution on suspicion of bribery.

Founded in 1988 and with its headquarters in Romford, Essex, Lakehouse employs 2,400 people and has an annual turnover of more than £340 million.

In a statement, the firm said they “never comment on commercial relationships with clients” but that they “completely refute the allegations of fraud and the other matters relating to Lakehouse”.

They added: “We are aware on an ongoing police investigation and the company continues to fully cooperate with the Metropolitan Police in its investigation and support any actions taken against individuals in relation to the allegations which arose in 2013 and 2014.”

camdenevacuation2406d.jpg
Council blocks in Camden were evacuated due to fears over their cladding in the wake of the Grenfell fire (EPA)
Hackney Council said it has been re-doing the fire safety work at 68 tower blocks “to a standard that was fully compliant with regulatory requirements and our specification, and at the contractors’ own expense”.

Hackney Homes was brought back in-house by the council in April 2016. Hackney’s elected mayor Philip Glanville told the Standard the council carried out a “wholesale restructure” of the surveyors’ team and said: “The majority of former Hackney Homes staff left the organisation.”

He added: “Grenfell and its aftermath raises many issues about the conduct of the construction industry, including sub-contractors, and also about arms-length management arrangements for housing.

“It is right that councils and social landlords should work together, share information and support each other to prevent future tragedies, which is why we have taken this action.”

Scores of blocks of flats across the UK have failed emergency fire safety tests carried out in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster which killed an estimated 80 people.

Lakehouse, which has faced a number of difficulties since floating on the Stock Exchange two years ago - including issuing a series of profit warnings and enduring a boardroom battle with senior management leaving - did not declare its involvement in the tower when announcing its results to the Stock Exchange last week.

gren1a.jpg
Firefighters work at the site of the Grenfell Tower fire in which at least 80 people died (Jeremy Selwyn)
While investigations into the inferno have so far focused on the cladding, it is expected that the role of fire alarms will also be closely scrutinised.

Lakehouse chairman Bob Holt said last week the company had not been asked to give evidence to any inquiry and said: “We are very happy because there have been many people saying they were woken by the alarms.”

Responding to today’s revelations, he said: “I have no comment to make.” The Standard has approached Polyteck for comment.

Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, leading the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster, is preparing to consider the “broad” causes of the fire amid concern from survivors’ groups over its scope and leadership, and will scrutinise issues tracing back to building regulations at the time the block was erected.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Campbell, nominated to take over from Kensington and Chelsea leader Nicholas Paget-Brown, who resigned on Friday amid fierce criticism of the council’s response to the tragedy, said she was “truly sorry” and pledged to “heal the wounds” in the community.

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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Justice4Grenfell agitators: campaign group tries to push Tower inquiry judge to resign
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/04/justice4grenfell-agitators- campaign-group-tries-push-tower-enquiry/

Robert Mendick, chief reporter 4 JULY 2017 • 9:21PM
The Grenfell Tower judge is being subjected to a politically-motivated witch hunt, his allies said yesterday, as a Labour MP demanded he be replaced by someone “who understands human beings”.

Friends of Sir Martin Moore-Bick have been taken aback by the sustained attacks on him since his appointment as Grenfell inquiry chairman just five days ago.

They point out that Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington, who called on him to resign yesterday on the grounds he is a ‘technocrat’ with a lack of understanding of ‘human beings’ has never even met the judge.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grenfell Tower fire inquiry chair heckled as he meets survivors
'If I can't satisfy you because you have some preconception about me as a person that's up to you,' says retired judge
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-inq uiry-chair-heckled-meeting-survivors-a7828141.html



http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wmw4k
Joe Delaney: Kensington Council ‘a flagship like the Titanic’
https://www.channel4.com/news/joe-delaney-kensington-council-a-flagshi p-like-the-titanic



Grenfell Tower evacuated twice since deadly blaze sparking major concerns over possible collapse
Residents of nearby Lancaster West estate say their safety fears are not being listened to
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-evacuate d-collapse-2-times-major-concerns-movement-residents-firefighters-safe ty-a7826911.html
Grenfell Tower has moved significantly three times since the deadly fire last month, twice forcing staff working inside to evacuate the building.
Alarms monitoring structural movement of the tower have been triggered on three separate occasions since being installed, after movement of more than five millimetres was detected.
Staff were withdrawn from inside the building “as a precaution” on two occasions, according to the Grenfell Response Team (GRT). No staff were on site when alarms sounded for a third time.
Grenfell Tower survivors still living in hotels three weeks after fire
Scotland Yard said staff were temporarily stopped from working inside the tower while additional tests were carried out.
“Officers only stopped people working inside the tower, and no one was asked to leave their property because of this," a spokesperson said. "Now those tests have been completed, work has re-started inside Grenfell Tower."
Dr Colin Davie, senior lecturer in civil engineering at University of Newcastle, told The Independent movement was obviously “a concern” if authorities were monitoring it so closely.
“They are being very conservative if they are getting people out at that little movement," he said. "They are doing the right thing by looking after the people working inside a damaged building."
But residents were furious that workers were being evacuated while they were kept in the dark.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grenfell Tower: fire-proof cladding specified by architects used only on ground floor
Non-combustible panels were fitted to base of building but cheaper panels were used for upper floors, documents show
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/06/grenfell-fire-proof-cl adding-specified-by-architects-only-used-on-ground-floor
An “urgent” email on 16 July 2014 from KCTMO’s project manager told its quantity surveyor, Artelia: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding Mellen” [referring to a former deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea].


Rock Feilding-Mellen
https://www.thecanary.co/2017/07/02/think-grenfell-bosses-resignations -punishment-will-change-mind-images/

Rock Feilding-Mellen, until his resignation [pdf] on 30 June, was the deputy leader of Kensington & Chelsea council. He had special responsibility for housing.

According to his council profile, Feilding-Mellen also sits on London Councils’ housing and economic development boards. Furthermore, he is a member of the LGA’s Urban Commission and has sat on its housing and environment board. However, it’s not known if he will be resigning from these bodies too, or whether he will also receive a payoff from Kensington & Chelsea.

Cost cutting

It was Feilding-Mellen who was responsible for overseeing the refurbishment project of Grenfell Tower. The original submission [pdf] by architects Studio E for the refurbishment quoted [pdf, page 3] a zinc-based, non-combustible cladding. However a document shows that KCTMO pressed project management consultants Artelia UK to come up with cheaper figures on a range of items, including cladding.

As can be seen, by opting for the combustible cladding, just under £300,000 was saved:

Grenfell claddiing bid
According to The Times, documents from June and July 2014 show [paywall] Artelia UK apparently coming under pressure to reduce costs:

An ‘urgent nudge email’ about cladding prices from Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO) to Artelia says: ‘We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!’
The email lists three options for reducing the cost of cladding. Using aluminum panels rather than zinc would mean a “saving of £293,368”. Whereas the zinc panels would have been non-combustible, the aluminum eventually used had a flammable polyethylene core.

Artelia declined to discuss the matter with The Guardian, citing “a duty of confidentiality in its contract with KCTMO”.

Properties galore

But Feilding-Mellen’s resignation from Kensington & Chelsea will hardly see him penniless.

Rock Basil Hugo Feilding Mellen is the son of Joseph Chase Hurt Mellen and Amanda Claire Marian Feilding, the Countess of Wemyss and March. The family has royal/aristocratic connections, with a lineage that can be traced back to the Habsburg’s and to Charles II. One of Feilding-Mellen’s family homes is Beckley Park (image below), a Tudor hunting lodge with three towers and three moats, situated on the edge of a fen outside Oxford.

Beckley Park
Another Feilding-Mellen property is Stanway House (Gloucestershire):

Stanway House
And there’s also Gosford House, Scotland:

Gosford

Feilding-Mellen’s other interests

Rock Feilding-Mellen also heads a land development company. He is the owner and director [pdf] of Socially Conscious Capital (SCC). The company describes its core business as:

strategic land promotion: that is envisaging, master-planning, and securing planning permission for the creation of beautiful new places, often on the edge of existing villages, towns, or cities.
One such project is to advise on the planning aspects of a new village, with 450 homes at Longniddry, Scotland. This is not far from the Feilding-Mellen estate at Gosford, which includes a number of art works by Botticelli, Murillo and Rubens.

SCC has lodged a planning application for houses around Longniddry Farm, according to Herald Scotland.

However, a spokesperson for Listen to Longniddry, a group formed to campaign against the proposals, said:

As we see it, the only thing that will be sustained in this ‘sustainable urbanist’ development is the rate of profit to Socially Conscious Capital, the property development arm of the Wemyss and March Estate.
SCC is also involved in the development [pdf] of 300 homes on a woodland site in Norfolk.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firefighters demanded change to ‘stay put’ policy a year before Grenfell disaster
https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/firefighters-demanded-change-stay-put-po licy-year-grenfell-disaster/

Written by Gordon Blackstock, 26 June 2017

A FIREMAN called for a halt to the policy of telling high-rise residents to remain in their homes during a blaze a year before the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Firefighters at a meeting of the Fire Brigade Union’s (FBU) National Health & Safety committee last June demanded the policy be suspended.

The London meeting also heard calls from members for an urgent review of high-rise evacuation policies.

Last week the FBU wrote to Prime Minster Theresa May saying firefighters and the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire have “questions that need answering” about the tragedy.

Many are angry Grenfell residents were ordered to stay in their flats during the blaze, in which 79 people are believed to have died.

Numerous fire safety concerns have been raised and the Government’s response has been criticised.

The FBU are calling for a “broad inquiry” into building regulations and
planning policy – including probing the long-held policy of “stay put”.

But it’s now been revealed the FBU were talking about the policy 12 months ago after a firefighter highlighted concerns in a report.

The report was prompted by a study into a building that collapsed in New York in 2001 during the 9/11 terror attack.

World Trade Centre Building 7 – not one of the Twin Towers – collapsed during a fire and was not struck by a plane.

An official report by the US Government’s National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) found the 47-storey building collapsed due to an office fire breaking out – believed to be the first instance of the total collapse of a tall building primarily due to fires.

Last year, the FBU’s National Health & Safety team heard claims the fire services could not continue with the “stay put” policy after the NIST findings.

The report concluded that: “Buildings at risk include multistorey car parks, large steel portal frames and steel-framed high rise offices, flats and hotels.

“If normal office fires can cause this to happen to steelframed buildings, it is a significant risk we should be exploring on behalf of our members.

“If there is a risk of this happening again, the safety of our firefighters depends upon us being prepared.”

Report author Paul Kayley said the findings showed “stay put” policies were “dangerous”.

He said: “If a modern class-A fire protected structure can catastrophically fail due to fire, stay-put policies are dangerous, with or without unsafe exterior cladding.”

But Dave Sibert, the FBU’s fire safety advisor, challenged that view.

He said: “The ‘stay put’ policy does not need reviewing.

“The fire this officer is referring to is a unusual fire that wouldn’t be repeated in residential properties in the UK.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grenfell Tower families still without homes as Theresa May misses rehousing deadline
In the days after the tragedy the PM said residents of the tower would be rehoused within three weeks at the latest, but London mayor Sadiq Khan says no permanent homes have been found

BY NINA MASSEY 21:15, 13 JUL 2017
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/grenfell-tower-families-still-wi thout-10794220

The Prime Minister's three-week deadline for rehousing families forced from their homes by the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been missed with none of them found permanent accommodation in that time, the mayor of London said.

In the days after the blaze Theresa May said residents of the tower would be rehoused within three weeks at the latest.

But, speaking at Mayor's Question Time on Thursday, Sadiq Khan said, four weeks on from the tragedy, not enough has been done to find new homes for the Grenfell survivors.

He said: "It is clear much more needs to be done to find appropriate housing for Grenfell survivors.

"The Prime Minister's deadline of three weeks for everyone to be rehoused nearby has passed.

READ MORE
Grenfell Tower mum who lost unborn baby reveals he may have been poisoned by cyanide released in blaze

Sadiq Khan says 'much more needs to be done' to help the families (Image: Getty Images Europe)
"And yet, as the deadline was reached, just three households had moved into new temporary accommodation and no families had moved into permanent housing."

Around 255 survivors escaped Grenfell Tower which contained 129 flats.

Mr Khan also criticised Kensington and Chelsea Council, saying residents had no confidence in it.

He said: "I have been to North Kensington many times since the fire.

"Kensington and Chelsea Council are inept, they are incompetent and they are close to being useless in the eyes of the residents. And I concur with the residents.

"They have been missing in action, they have failed to provide the residents with the support they need."

READ MORE
Grenfell Tower survivor, 12, being treated for cyanide poisoning after fears burning cladding released highly toxic gas

Khan accused Kensington and Chelsea Council of being 'inept' (Image: Getty Images Europe)
Mr Khan said the Government could have sent in commissioners to help in the aftermath of the tragedy, but had instead struck a backroom deal with the leadership.

He also said he had asked the fire commissioner for an urgent review into the equipment she thinks she needs, in light of the disaster.

He continued: "I have written the Home Secretary asking for extra support financially to make sure our fire services have the support they need."

On Wednesday, hundreds of mourners gathered at a wall plastered in tributes in the west London neighbourhood to mark four weeks since the blaze.

Among those at the vigil was Emma Dent Coad, the newly elected MP for the area, who told the Press Association: "It is still chaotic, the whole process of housing people, getting them social housing, mental health help, whatever other help they are getting, obviously the people who aren't getting help come to me.

"It's disgraceful, actually, the council are still failing people every day."

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

British 'justice' will punish Grenfell Tower families further - 7/7 families got "no answers"

Link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYFU8y3nGvI

Grenfell survivors were told to sign council form that 'could waive rights'
Documents asking people to confirm receipt of ‘compensation’ money have now been withdrawn, say officials
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/23/grenfell-survivors-cou ncil-form-waive-rights-compensation

Diane Taylor - Friday 23 June 2017

Officials at Kensington and Chelsea council are withdrawing documents sent to Grenfell Tower survivors that they feared could have waived their legal rights in return for receiving emergency payments, the Guardian has learned.

A letter sent from the council this week to families affected by the fire asked survivors to sign a form confirming receipt of the emergency “compensation” money. The form stated: “I confirm that this is required to compensate me for expenses I have incurred or need to incur as a consequence of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”

The document was in addition to the one sent by the Department for Work and Pensions after the prime minister announced the first £5,500 payments in the wake of the disaster, which killed at least 79 people in the west London tower block.

Survivors said they had not been told why they were asked to sign a separate form for the council when the emergency payments were coming from central government. They and their lawyers feared the council form might hamper them from taking any future legal action against the royal borough as a result of the fire.

“The form the council has circulated has increased our anxiety and distress at a time when we are all already deeply traumatised,” said one resident.

A team of black and minority ethnic lawyers are supporting the survivors, many of whom are from similar backgrounds.

The lawyers called for the forms to be withdrawn immediately, and the fire response team, based at Westminster council, commenting on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea, has now confirmed that is happening.

“We utterly condemn the requirement being placed on residents of Grenfell Tower to sign a declaration in order to receive an emergency payment of £5,000 which refers to the payment as ‘compensation’ and states nothing to protect the rights of those who receive it,” the lawyers said in a statement to the Guardian.

“An apology must also be made to those residents who were asked to sign in the absence of legal advice, without any translation into their first language (where appropriate). For survivors who have lost every single possession anything less is simply a disgrace that would add insult to injury.”

Ismet Rawat, president of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said: “We are deeply concerned that victims were presented with this document without any regard for their vulnerability. As BME lawyers we will continue to protect the rights of the victims and take legal action if necessary.”

In a statement to parliament on Thursday, the prime minister said of the emergency payments: “It is absolutely essential, Mr Speaker, that people understand they can keep the money they receive – that these grants are not loans and they will not be expected to repay a single penny. Neither are they waiving any legal rights as a result of accepting this financial help.”

A spokesman for the fire response team at Westminster council said: “There was an original form that was issued to get information to residents as soon as possible. This is now in the process of being withdrawn. As the PM has made clear, no resident is waiving any legal rights by accepting the financial help on offer.”

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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grenfell Tower: Government dismisses conflict of interest concerns over chair of independent buildings review
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-lat est-no-conflict-interest-judith-hackitt-energy-savings-trust-a7883671. html

Dame Judith Hackitt previously director of Energy Savings Trust, a body invested in promoting insulation blamed for tragic high-rise blaze

Ellie Cullen 4 days ago The Independent Online

There is no “conflict of interest” over a former role held by the woman leading a probe into building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, the Government has said.

Dame Judith Hackitt was formerly a director of the Energy Saving Trust - a body which promotes insulation products containing the material blamed for fuelling the devastating high-rise blaze that killed at least 80.

The trust advertises a list of “approved products”, some of which are insulation containing polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam.


It is reported that Dame Judith resigned from her role at the trust 24 hours before communities secretary Sajid Javid appointed her to chair the independent buildings review.

Sue Caro of the Justice for Grenfell campaign told the Times: “The Energy Saving Trust, when she was a director, endorsed plastic foam insulation, the very substance believed to be responsible for the rapid and deadly spread of the fire at Grenfell.


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“A more unsuitable candidate for this vitally important review would be hard to find.”

Dame Judith told the Times she had intended to resign from the trust in 2017 but it had been moved forward due to her appointment.

She added that she had no role in approving products.

At the time of her appointment, on 28 July, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a biography of Dame Judith, mentioning that she was a chemical engineer who was chairwoman of EEF, The Manufacturers' Organisation, but did not include her role at the Energy Saving Trust.

A spokeswoman for the DCLG said: “Dame Judith Hackitt is an independent and authoritative voice in the engineering sector.

“She has stood down from her position on the board of the Energy Saving Trust on taking up her role of chair of the independent review of building regulations and fire safety.

Grenfell tower fire
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“It was determined that there is no conflict of interest and that her previous role at the Energy Saving Trust did not prevent Dame Judith from being appointed chair of the review.”

The department added that its biography of Dame Judith was “not intended to provide a comprehensive list of all the roles she has undertaken”.

Press Association

More about: Grenfell tower fireSajid Javidconflict of interestbuilding regulationsReuse content
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2 days ago
Meranerin
How stupid and vile the UK govt is. Even if this woman is entirely innocent and was not directly involved in promoting the improper use of this material, it is clear that in view of the seriousness of this case and the devastating lack of trust in the authorities, that the inquiry should be carried out by people in no way ever associated with this product and its promotion. The defining characteristics of modern Britain are total lack of respect by the government for the people they are suppposed to be serving and total and justified lack of trust in them on the part of the public.
ReplyShare+3
2 days ago
WendylHarris
The tories are overly confident in their manoeuvring a cover-up it seems...they delude themselves that just because public outrage on social media has abated somewhat, that we forget their culpability in this wholesale slaughter, right from the outset of their vile deregulation of Health & Safety standards...social media might preoccupy itself with the latest scandals but it doesn't mean we forget Grenfell and the survivors who are still struggling - we will see justice, no matter how long it takes!
ReplyShare+4
2 days ago
BarrieD
No government inquiry is independent.
The last forty years has seen every office of state and agency corrupted, every one, without exception.
ReplyShare+3
3 days ago
MightyMax
The cladding around Grenfell would never have ignited unless acted upon by a great heat. The fire was already in full flow before the insulation melted.
ReplyShare2 replies-6
3 days ago
Peter Ormonde
Not how it actually works Max ... once the fire is inside the paneling it's pretty much unstoppable on a chimney like that Grenfell block - immense air pressure - turbocharged ... and smoke as toxic as all heck. Erupts in sheets of flame ... doesn't have a "front" or an edge you can see. Big dump sprinklers might work- all at once. Hoses are a waste if time.

The Australian lab that tests this sort of stuff runs a standard destructive test where they watch the progress of a fire over 30 minutes. They had to shut the test on this stuff down after 30 seconds. Phooosh!!!

The boffins have been campaigning to enforce the existing bans and regulations over the last decade but iffy folks still manage to sneak it in. Merits gaol time.
ReplyShare+9
2 days ago
Edgarscult
Well , what I saw on TV was a fire that escalated quickly BECAUSE of the cladding . Every expert has said the same , but you know different ? That seems unlikely , doesn't it ?
ReplyShare0
3 days ago
oaktree
Emma Dent Coan, the MP for Kensington since the 2017 General Election, has some conflicts of interest which are not being examined by the Justice for Grenfell Campaign. Ms Dent Coan is an expert on modern architecture, and was the only Borough Councillor appointed to the Tenant Management Committee with knowledge of building techniques. As a member of it she was party to a number of decisions which led to hat happened. She is as much involved as a number of Kensington & Chelsea Councillors who have been forced to resign.
ReplyShare4 replies-4
2 days ago
Edgarscult
The MP who took her office a WEEK before the fire ? She achieved a lot in that week , if we believe you . I don't .
ReplyShare1 reply+2
2 days ago
oaktree
The conflict of interest is related to Emma Dent Coan's time as a LB Kensington & Chelsea Councillor and as an appointee by the LB to the tentn Members Organisation that was supposed to administer the blocks of flats - not to her being an MP now.
It would however be worth the press investigating how that past set of positions affects how she should approach the subject now that she is the MP for the area.
Share+1
2 days ago
missy
The only part the whole of the RBKC Council played in the Grenfell Refurbishment Project was approving the Budget. Thereafter, project specific decisions became the fiefdom of the Cabinet, specifically CllrFeilding-Mellen – Deputy Leader andCabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration &
Cllr Nick Paget-Brown – Leader of the RBKC Council& certain people at KCTMO.
ReplyShare1 reply+1
2 days ago
oaktree
Cllr Emma Dent Coan was a member of the Board of the KCTMO for quite a long time. She was appointed to appears because she had studied and written about modern architecture. So the Labour group on the Council put her forward for membership as knowledgeable about modern buildings.
Share0
3 days ago
Ted
Lots of justifiable outrage below
But let us not forget - you voted for the f------ so what did you expect?
These are Tories - this is what they do
ReplyShare+8
3 days ago
missy
First there was Kingspan involved in the Post-Grenfell Fire Cladding testing at the BRE, then Sir Ken Knight who's connected to the Certification of Building Materials by a enterprise that has much to do with finding clever ways around the spirit of Building Safety Standards and now Dame Judith Hackitt, someone, whom here in the US would hold the loathsome title of LOBBYIST but people aren't to question whether government isn't stacking the deck to moneyed interests. The insolence of it all is beyond words. There were other more qualified people who could have filled these rolls.
ReplyShare1 reply+6
2 days ago
fulham1958
Maybe you don't understand British inquiries. They are not held to find the truth. Well at least not for forty years.
ReplyShare+1
3 days ago
Ranmore
Is it any wonder NO ONE believes or has any faith in any review of anything. From Hillsborough to Child Protection to Grenfell ? This lady is the second person on the Grenfell case with compromised interests.
ReplyShare+5
3 days ago
lyonedes
In a sense this demonstrates how gullible the government believe the public are and hardly surprising considering we're in the main docile, obedient and suffer being treated like cattle.
I sincerely hope they're not allowed to get away with this blatant insult to the Grenfell victims.
ReplyShare2 replies+6
2 days ago
BarrieD
Sadly, I think we can predict that they will get away with it.
Just look at historic child sex abuse. A man close to the then serving Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family passes any MI5 scrutiny, when even middle managers at the BBC were subjected to it.
The arrogance of a political and ruling class that presumes we're too stupid to know or care.
We're governed by criminals.
ReplyShare0
2 days ago
Ray Visino
They can get away with anything so assume everyone are idiots, which is pretty close as they got 44% of the vote.
ReplyShare0
3 days ago
Fur-Q
There are very few building materials with any insulation value at all that don't burn. We don't use asbestos for obvious reasons. Rockwool is not that popular as it has a poor carbon footprint. Most other plastic or natural based insulation materials will burn to a greater or lesser extent. Even aluminium used in the cladding will burn in kind of temperatures seen in the Grenfell fire. The problem is most of these tower blocks were built from concrete with little or no insulation as at the time of construction it wasn't needed because we were promised almost free limitless nuclear generated electricity. We are now having to put people first, go back to brick & concrete to provide fire safety and screw energy saving & global warming.
ReplyShare0
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why was councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen apparently pushing for the cost of the refurbishment to be cut?
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/30/grenfell-fire-key-ques tions-kensington-and-chelsea-council-must-answer

Documents from June and July 2014, seen by the Times, allegedly show that Grenfell Tower refurbishment consultants Artelia UK were pressured to reduce costs. An “urgent nudge email” about cladding prices from Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) to Artelia says: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!”

Feilding-Mellen is the deputy leader of the council and chairman of its housing committee and oversaw the refurbishment of the block.

The cost-cutting drive jars with the council’s “usable reserves” of £300m in its 2015-16 accounts.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'The chairman of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry today vowed to unearth the truth about how the inferno could happen in 21st-century London.'
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/judge-vows-to-find-out-truth-as-wit nesses-could-be-forced-to-give-evidence-a3634826.html

'Sir Martin Moore-Bick said he was prepared to force witnesses to appear if they refused to give evidence voluntarily.

The former Court of Appeal judge, pictured today, also promised not to “shrink” from making any damning findings or recommendations which could lead to criminal charges against individuals or organisations.

Assessors will also be appointed to advise Sir Martin. However, he ruled out one of them being a Grenfell survivor or another local resident given that it could impact on whether the inquiry is seen as “impartial”.

After a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the victims of the fire, he said in his opening statement: “It is right that at the very outset of the inquiry I should express on my own behalf and on behalf of all members of the inquiry team the dismay and sadness we feel at the loss of life, devastation and injury caused by the fire.

"We are acutely aware, not only that so many people died or were injured in the fire, but that many of those who survived have been severely affected by their experiences. We are also conscious that many have lost everything and even now are dependent on others for many of their daily needs.

“The inquiry cannot undo any of that, but it can and will provide answers to the pressing questions of how a disaster of this kind could occur in 21st-century London and thereby, I hope, provide a small measure of solace.”

At least 80 people are known to have died in the fire, which ravaged the North Kensington tower on June 14.

Sir Martin outlined how his inquiry would be divided into two phases, which would run in parallel “as far as possible”. An interim report is expected by Easter. Experts on fires in high-rise buildings and building regulations will be drafted in to provide specialist opinions. All hearings will be held in public unless the “particular nature” of evidence requires otherwise.

The first phase will focus on the fire itself and what happened before it was extinguished, as well as the response of the emergency services and the evacuation of residents.

Sir Martin said: “There is an urgent need to find out what aspects of the building’s design and construction played a significant role in enabling the disaster to occur.

“That is important because, if there are similar defects in other high-rise buildings, steps must be taken quickly to ensure that those who live in them are kept safe.”

Former residents will be invited to give their accounts of the night. Footage of the fire and recordings of the calls made to the emergency services will also be analysed. The inquiry aims to ensure that people who lived in the tower will only be asked to give evidence once.

Speaking at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London, Sir Martin said: “For some of those who escaped from the tower... the stress of giving evidence is likely to be greatly magnified by the continuing effects of what can only have been a most traumatic experience. I am acutely aware of the challenges that presents. I intend to do everything possible to ensure that the process of assisting the inquiry does not result in further unnecessary suffering. To that end I shall be looking for particular help and co-operation from those who represent the victims, the families and the emergency services.

“I am open to suggestions about how I can obtain evidence from those witnesses in a sensitive and appropriate way.”

The second phase of the inquiry will examine how the building came to be “so seriously exposed to the risk of a disastrous fire”.

It will investigate the design of the tower, its modifications over previous years, decisions relating to design and construction for those modifications and the “reasons” for those decisions.

Sir Martin said: “I shall also be asking whether at each stage of its development the building complied with the regulations then in force and whether the regulations themselves were adequate.”

A particular focus would be placed on the most recent refurbishment of the building and the fitting of the external cladding.

Communications between residents and Kensington and Chelsea council and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation will also be examined, given that some local people had raised safety concerns over the tower.

The second phase will also probe the “motivation” for decisions relating to modifications, which is likely to include whether less fire resistant cladding was installed as part of a cost-saving measure.

It will also examine the response to the disaster, including steps taken in the days immediately following the fire to provide food, shelter and other basic amenities to those whose homes were destroyed.

Kensington and Chelsea council has been heavily criticised over how it reacted to the fire. Both its leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown, and chief executive, Nicholas Holgate, have quit.

Survivors and victims’ families watched Sir Martin’s statement live on a screen in Notting Hill Methodist Church. Many families who lost their homes are angry that they still have not been found a permanent replacement flat or house.

About 300 individuals or organisations have requested to be “core participants” in the inquiry, which would allow them legal representation during the hearings. Sir Martin is seeking to reduce this number by getting some of them to co-operate together.

The first hearings may start later this year. Sir Martin said he understood the “great sense of anger and betrayal” among the local community, but added: “If the inquiry is to get to the truth of what happened, it must seek out all the relevant evidence and examine it calmly and rationally.

“The scale of the task is enormous.

“We are all searching after the truth about the cause of the fire and the massive loss of life that it caused and we owe it to those who died, and to those whose homes have been destroyed, to work together to achieve that goal.”

Miguel Alves, who escaped the fire, said residents wanted justice, and for either people or institutions responsible to be held to account.

“It’s very important for us that they will come out with some outcome, some justice,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“This is a big opportunity for things to be changed in the near future. If we save lives from now, at least it’s something.”

The key questions

What happened?

The fire was reported at the 24-storey block in North Kensington at 12.54am on June 14, with 40 fire engines and more than 200 firefighters tackling it.

It took 24 hours to get it under control and 151 homes in the tower and surrounding areas were destroyed.

The Metropolitan Police says it will consider manslaughter, health and safety and fire safety charges.

How many victims?

Police say that while 80 people are presumed to have died, the final toll will not be known until at least the end of the year.

What caused it?

The fire began in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer, with the blaze spreading up one side of the building externally, before engulfing the block.

The building’s cladding has come under scrutiny, with experts saying a more fire-resistant type could have been used. Documents suggested it had been changed to a cheaper version during a refurbishment, and both the cladding and insulation on the outside of the building failed all preliminary tests by the police.

A total of 259 buildings out of 600 around the country subsequently failed government fire safety tests.

What has happened since?

Kensington and Chelsea council’s chief executive, Nicholas Holgate, resigned amid criticism over the borough’s response. The council’s leader Nick Paget-Brown also resigned, while the chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the council’s arms-length body which manages the tower, stepped down to “concentrate on assisting with the investigation”.

The Government ordered a task force to take over the housing department, as well as other council operations.

Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick was appointed to head an inquiry.'

'..Assessors will also be appointed to advise Sir Martin. However, he ruled out one of them being a Grenfell survivor or another local resident given that it could impact on whether the inquiry is seen as “impartial”...' - Yes, I'm sure only 'impartial' people will be appointed!!!
Grand Connaught Rooms - nice Masonic venue!!!

'Grenfell Tower inquiry judge has controversial history in housing cases':
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/28/grenfell-tower-inquiry -judge-retired-martin-moore-bick

'....In one 2014 case, Moore-Bick said Westminster council could rehouse Titina Nzolameso, a single mother with five children, more than 50 miles away in Milton Keynes. He ruled that it was not necessary for Westminster to explain in detail what other accommodation was available and that it could take “a broad range of factors” into account, including the pressures on the council, in deciding what housing was available.

In April 2015, the supreme court reversed his ruling, pointing out that the council had not asked “any questions aimed at assessing how practicable it would be for the family to move out of the area”.....'

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Londoner's Diary: K&C’s deputy Rock Feilding-Mellen avoids bash at his family estate
In today's Diary: Kensington and Chelsea council deputy avoids step-sister's aristo party | Grenfell tower artist Khadija Saye shown in Tate | Times up for Gove's newspaper column | Med party | Alternative Tory leadership tip

Monday 19 June 2017 12:14
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/londoners-diary-kc-s-d eputy-rock-feildingmellen-avoids-bash-at-his-family-estate-a3568101.ht ml

KENSINGTON and Chelsea council’s Rock Feilding-Mellen has made one correct call since the Grenfell Tower fire. He decided not to head to his family home, Stanway House in Gloucestershire, for a wild weekend of partying with the aristo-boho set.

Feilding-Mellen is deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for housing, property and regeneration, with a brief covering the Grenfell Tower but he’s also part of a social set a world apart.

This weekend was the 30th birthday of his step-sister Mary Charteris, model and member of the band The Big Pink with her husband Robbie Furze, held at Stanway.

Party time: birthday girl Mary Charteris and friends. @georgianahuddart
He had been expected to go home at the weekend to party but, after Wednesday, he told his friends that is just wouldn’t be right. One friend tells us he was “shattered” by what happened.

It would have made “bad optics”, as they say, had Rocky been seen knocking back champagne with his family and friends. Those who did go to Mary’s party included Cara Delevingne, actor Jaime Winstone and aristos including Scarlett Spencer-Churchill.

19-june-insta-3.jpg
A dawn walk, with Cara Delevingne in yellow. @felixradford
There is a video online of Cara driving to Gloucestershire in a Range Rover. Pictures of the all-night garden party appeared on Instagram this weekend.

19-june-insa-2.jpg
The morning after. @jonte0
Rocky’s mother Amanda is married to James Charteris, the Earl of Wemyss and March. Mary is the daughter of James from his first marriage to Catherine Guinness. Stanway is the family house, set in 5,000 acres with a 300ft single jet fountain, the tallest gravity fountain in the world.

A rather different sort of estate to those in North Kensington.

-----

Gove’s Times column MIA since April

michael-gove-19-june.jpg

SO FAREWELL, then, to Michael Gove’s Times column. It hasn’t been seen since April, when he took a little break for the snap election. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned. A sad relic rooted in the past. Woefully and irretrievably out of touch,” he began one early column. Times readers will surely miss his spot-on observations. It is unlikely that May would let Gove continue to pontificate from the altar of The Times. Boris wasn’t from The Telegraph. And how will the Gove family survive with the £150,000-a-year hit to their finances? Lucky there’s always his wife Sarah Vine’s Daily Mail column to fall back on.

-----

Quote of the day: “My strong feeling is the last thing the electorate wants is more political shenanigans”

boris-johnson-19-june.jpg

As opined to Radio 4’s Today programme by Boris Johnson, minister for political shenanigans.

-----

Giant steps forward on the Côte d’Azur

camilla-rutherford-19-june.jpg
(Dave Benett/Getty Images for Clu)
Dancing shoes were on at Yacht Club de Monaco, where Club Eclectique founders Anna Nasobina and Julia Polivoda held a charity evening in honour of ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev. Russian prima-ballerina Maria Alexandrova performed in a play about dancers to an audience including Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her husband Richard Jones, Yasmin Mills and her chef boyfriend Justin Horne, designer Julien Macdonald and party queen Jo Wood. Singer Camilla Kerslake sang and actress Camilla Rutherford strutted the decks. But who wants to be on a yacht on the Med anyway?

-----

david-davis-19-june.jpg
David Davis in Brussels as Brexit negotiations start today
David Davis’s personal army was briefing furiously over the weekend, ensuring the Sunday papers were riddled with talk tipping him as Tory leader before Brexit meetings in Brussels. But is Prime Minister Davis really likely? Talk from the Tory machine’s rank-and-file is of a very different candidate: MP staffers all keep tipping Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, William Hague’s old seat. Aged only 37, with a background of Winchester College, Oxford and Stanford, is the one to watch.

-----

Tate praise for fire victim

maria-balshaw.jpg
Maria Balshaw, the Tate's new director
Last week, London lost promising young artist Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell fire aged just 24. The Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak tweeted Maria Balshaw, pictured right, new director of the Tate last week, to suggest Saye’s work was hung in their space.

Balshaw has replied. “Our thoughts are with everyone who knew her,” she wrote on Saturday. “We will be marking her creativity by showing one of her works at Tate Britain next week.” The young artist was a friend of MP David Lammy and his wife Nicola Green, who have paid tribute to her talent.

Writing this week in The Sunday Times, Januszczak said he had never met Saye but had been impressed by the quality of her work, shown in the Diaspora exhibition as part of this year’s Venice Biennale. Her exhibition “Dwelling: in this space we breathe” is a series of wet plate collodion tintypes — photographs of women in Gambian dress.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Make all tower blocks safe':
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/2760?

'Make all tower blocks safe
To Sajid Javid - Minister for Communities and Local Government and Local council leaders

Petition text
Prevent another fire like Grenfell Tower. Please urgently make a deal to fund and refurbish all unsafe tower blocks.
Why is this important?
Months after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower killed 80 people, families are still going to bed every night in dangerous homes. The government promised to make tower blocks safer, but essential safety work has been held up over squabbles about who should pay.

Thousands of people are still living in flats similar to Grenfell Tower: homes built with materials that set fire quickly, or lack proper sprinkler systems. Unless we get the government to do something about it now, we could see a tragedy like Grenfell again.

A massive petition, signed by hundreds of thousands of us, could force the government to get vital safety work under way immediately.'

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:01 am    Post subject: Grenfell Tower petition Reply with quote

'Make all tower blocks safe':
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/2760?

'Make all tower blocks safe
To Sajid Javid - Minister for Communities and Local Government and Local council leaders

Petition text
Prevent another fire like Grenfell Tower. Please urgently make a deal to fund and refurbish all unsafe tower blocks.
Why is this important?
Months after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower killed 80 people, families are still going to bed every night in dangerous homes. The government promised to make tower blocks safer, but essential safety work has been held up over squabbles about who should pay.

Thousands of people are still living in flats similar to Grenfell Tower: homes built with materials that set fire quickly, or lack proper sprinkler systems. Unless we get the government to do something about it now, we could see a tragedy like Grenfell again.

A massive petition, signed by hundreds of thousands of us, could force the government to get vital safety work under way immediately.'

_________________
'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judicial abuse of Grenfell survivors & fascism stalking today's West

‘Buchanan has developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. It is now reshaping politics.’
A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy
George Monbiot
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/19/despot-disguise- democracy-james-mcgill-buchanan-totalitarian-capitalism

James McGill Buchanan’s vision of totalitarian capitalism has infected public policy in the US. Now it’s being exported
Wednesday 19 July 2017 05.29

It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible.

The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She says the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch.

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.

Buchanan was strongly influenced by both the neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, and the property supremacism of John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses.

James Buchanan brought these influences together to create what he called public choice theory. He argued that a society could not be considered free unless every citizen has the right to veto its decisions. What he meant by this was that no one should be taxed against their will. But the rich were being exploited by people who use their votes to demand money that others have earned, through involuntary taxes to support public spending and welfare. Allowing workers to form trade unions and imposing graduated income taxes were forms of “differential or discriminatory legislation” against the owners of capital.

Any clash between “freedom” (allowing the rich to do as they wish) and democracy should be resolved in favour of freedom. In his book The Limits of Liberty, he noted that “despotism may be the only organisational alternative to the political structure that we observe.” Despotism in defence of freedom.

His prescription was a “constitutional revolution”: creating irrevocable restraints to limit democratic choice. Sponsored throughout his working life by wealthy foundations, billionaires and corporations, he developed a theoretical account of what this constitutional revolution would look like, and a strategy for implementing it.

He explained how attempts to desegregate schooling in the American south could be frustrated by setting up a network of state-sponsored private schools. It was he who first proposed privatising universities, and imposing full tuition fees on students: his original purpose was to crush student activism. He urged privatisation of social security and many other functions of the state. He sought to break the links between people and government, and demolish trust in public institutions. He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy.

In 1980, he was able to put the programme into action. He was invited to Chile, where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.

None of this troubled the Swedish Academy, which through his devotee at Stockholm University Assar Lindbeck in 1986 awarded James Buchanan the Nobel memorial prize for economics. It is one of several decisions that have turned this prize toxic.

But his power really began to be felt when Koch, currently the seventh richest man in the US, decided that Buchanan held the key to the transformation he sought. Koch saw even such ideologues as Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan as “sellouts”, as they sought to improve the efficiency of government rather than destroy it altogether. But Buchanan took it all the way.

MacLean says that Charles Koch poured millions into Buchanan’s work at George Mason University, whose law and economics departments look as much like corporate-funded thinktanks as they do academic faculties. He employed the economist to select the revolutionary “cadre” that would implement his programme (Murray Rothbard, at the Cato Institute that Koch founded, had urged the billionaire to study Lenin’s techniques and apply them to the libertarian cause). Between them, they began to develop a programme for changing the rules.

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”. (The same argument is used by those attacking the NHS). Gradually they would build a “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

Through the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonisation of Trump’s administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan’s vision is maturing in the US.

But not just there. Reading this book felt like a demisting of the window through which I see British politics. The bonfire of regulations highlighted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the destruction of state architecture through austerity, the budgeting rules, the dismantling of public services, tuition fees and the control of schools: all these measures follow Buchanan’s programme to the letter. I wonder how many people are aware that David Cameron’s free schools project stands in a tradition designed to hamper racial desegregation in the American south.

In one respect, Buchanan was right: there is an inherent conflict between what he called “economic freedom” and political liberty. Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan’s programme is a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to MacLean’s discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is, know your enemy. We’re getting there.




The Grenfell inquiry will be a stitch-up. Here’s why
George Monbiot
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/05/grenfell-fire-pu blic-inquiry-stitch-up-red-tape-regulation-policy-exchange

A public inquiry where the government chooses charges, judge and jury puts the bonfire of regulations outside the frame. An independent commission is needed
Contact author
Wednesday 5 July 2017 06.00 BST Last modified on Tuesday 15 August 2017 11.53 BST

We don’t allow defendants in court cases to select the charges on which they will be tried. So why should the government set the terms of a public inquiry into its own failings? We don’t allow criminal suspects to vet the trial judge. Why should the government approve the inquiry’s chair?

The Grenfell residents should boycott a superficial public inquiry | Jolyon Maugham
Read more
Even before the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster has begun, it looks like a stitch-up, its initial terms of reference set so narrowly that government policy remains outside the frame. An inquiry that honours the dead would investigate the wider causes of this crime. It would examine a governing ideology that sees torching public protections as a sacred duty.

Let me give you an example. On the morning of 14 June, as the tower blazed, an organisation called the Red Tape Initiative convened for its prearranged discussion about building regulations. One of the organisation’s tasks was to consider whether rules determining the fire resistance of cladding materials should be removed for the sake of construction industry profits.

Please bear with me while I explain what this initiative is and who runs it, as it’s a perfect cameo of British politics. It’s a government-backed body, established “to grasp the opportunities” that Brexit offers to cut “red tape” – a disparaging term for public protections. It’s chaired by the Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin, who has claimed that “the call to minimise risk is a call for a cowardly society”. It is a forum in which exceedingly wealthy people help decide which protections should be stripped away from lesser beings.

Among the members of its advisory panel are Charles Moore, who was editor of the Daily Telegraph and the chair of an organisation called Policy Exchange. He was also best man at Letwin’s wedding. Sitting beside him is Archie Norman, the former chief executive of Asda and the founder of Policy Exchange. He was once Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells – and was succeeded in that seat by Greg Clark, the minister who now provides government support for the Red Tape Initiative.

Until he became environment secretary, Michael Gove was also a member of the Red Tape Initiative panel. Oh, and he was appointed by Norman as the first chairman of Policy Exchange. (He was replaced by Moore.) Policy Exchange also supplied two of Letwin’s staff in the Conservative policy unit that he used to run. Policy Exchange is a neoliberal lobby group funded by dark money, that seeks to tear down regulations.

The Red Tape Initiative’s management board consists of Letwin, Baroness Rock and Lord Marland. Baroness Rock is a childhood friend of the former Tory chancellor George Osborne, and is married to the wealthy financier Caspar Rock. Marland is a multimillionaire businessman who owns a house and four flats in London, “various properties in Salisbury”, three apartments in France and two apartments in Switzerland.

In other words, the Red Tape Initiative is a representative cross-section of the British public. In no sense is it a self-serving clique of old chums, insulated from hazard by their extreme wealth, whose role is to decide whether other people (colloquially known as “cowards”) should be exposed to risk.

Letwin’s initiative appointed a panel to investigate housing regulations. It includes representatives of trade unions and NGOs, though they are outnumbered by executives and lobbyists from the industry. And there – surprise, surprise – is a man, called Richard Blakeway, from Policy Exchange.

The panel’s task on 14 June was to consider a report that the Red Tape Initiative had commissioned whose purpose was to identify building rules that could be cut. Among those it listed as “burdensome” was the EU Construction Products Regulation, which seeks to protect people from fire, and restricts the kind of cladding that can be used.

What was the source of the report’s assertion that this regulation was unnecessary? One of the sources was a column in the Sunday Telegraph by Christopher Booker. He has a fair claim to being more wrong more often than any other British journalist – quite an achievement, given the field. While Grenfell Tower was smouldering, the panel members decided that on this occasion they would not recommend the removal of the regulation.

But the Red Tape Initiative, gruesome spectre that it is, continues its work. It is one of many such schemes set up in recent decades, by Conservatives and New Labour. Recent examples are David Cameron’s Star Chamber (yes, that really was the name he gave it), in which ministers were interrogated by a panel of corporate executives; and the Cutting Red Tape programme, which boasts that “businesses with good records have had fire safety inspections reduced from six hours to 45 minutes”.

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems
Read more
One of the results of this bonfire of regulation is the government’s repeal in 2012 of the fire prevention measures in the London Building Act. Had they remained in place, the Grenfell fire is unlikely to have risen up the tower. This assault on public protections is just one element of the compound disaster that neoliberalism –promoted by opaquely funded groups such as Policy Exchange –has imposed on Britain since 1979. Its central purpose is not just to empower corporations and the very rich, but actively to disempower everyone else, through austerity, outsourcing and privatisation.

An inquiry that failed to investigate such possible causes would be a farce. It would do nothing to prevent any similar catastrophes from recurring. It would do nothing to stop the rich from destroying other people’s protections, as the Red Tape Initiative threatens to do.

But this is what we have been offered so far by a government that can choose charges, judge and jury. There’s an urgent need for an independent commission whose purpose is to decide when inquiries should be called, what their terms should be, and who should chair them. Governments should have no influence over any of these decisions.

On 14 June a facade caught fire, in more senses than one. A blinkered inquiry threatens to clad the origins of this great crime, shielding their embarrassing ugliness from public view. We cannot, and must not, accept it.

_________________
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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kensington and Chelsea council leader breaks leg ahead of Grenfell Tower memorial
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/kensington-and-chelsea-council-lead er-breaks-leg-ahead-of-grenfell-tower-memorial-a3716921.html

MARTIN COULTER 4 hours ago

The leader of the council linked to the Grenfell Tower disaster has broken her leg.

Elizabeth Campbell was travelling between two meetings in central London when she lost her balance in a doorway on Monday morning.

It is understood she suffered a spiral fracture, breaking her leg in two places.

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Council said: "Ms Campbell is determined to get back into the office as soon as possible.

"She will continue to work on issues remotely for now, and is likely to be in hospital overnight."

The Tory councillor had made various media appearances at the start of a busy week for those concerned with the tragedy, which left 71 dead in June.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the council had an "army of people out there working 24 hours a day" to get survivors rehoused.

More than 100 households from the west London block are still in hotels, two weeks away from Christmas, prompting widespread criticism of the council.

Second vigil in Notting Hill for Grenfell Tower tragedy

Ms Campbell also revealed on Sunday that she would not attend a memorial to mark six months since the fire, due to be held on Thursday.

Her decision came after bereaved families requested the council did not go to the ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral in any official capacity.

She said: "The service isn't about me, it's for the people who lost everything on that terrible night six months ago, and it is in memory of those who tragically lost their lives."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Russian TV wanted to stir class unrest after Grenfell
Dominic Kennedy
December 11 2017, 12:01am,
The Times
Grenfell Tower
Russia
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/russian-tv-wanted-to-stir-clas s-unrest-after-grenfell-hfnfv399m

A Kremlin-controlled TV station seized on the Grenfell Tower fire to try to foment “class war” in Britain.

RT, formerly Russia Today, misreported that £10 million had been spent cladding the building to improve its appearance to wealthy neighbours.

Afshin Rattansi, one of the channel’s presenters, asked if “state-backed neglect, corruption and cuts to services had led to social cleansing at Grenfell”.

“No one really knows how many people have been killed by government austerity to bail out the bankrupt City of London since 2008 . . . but if anyone wanted an emblem for the slashing of emergency services, social housing and capitalist regulation, this week’s tragic and lethal inferno was it,” he added.

Rattansi introduced a guest he described as Lisa Mckenzie, research…

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