It conducts a Cover Up and Whitewash of the Tragedy by Blaming the London Fire Brigade and Firefighters who fought the Blaze! For a proper Workers and Tenants Enquiry of the Tragedy!
Article by Joseph Adams, 7th November 2019, www.thecommunists.net
Sir Martin Moore-Blick, chair of the public enquiry into the Grenfell Fire Tragedy of June 14th 2017 has concluded in the first part of his report that the London fire brigade and its watch commander were responsible. Moore-Blick, who was appointed by former Prime Minister Theresa May back then, does blame the Cladding Company but at no time does he apportion any blame to the directors of the Cladding Companies involved. The companies Rydon, Arconic and Celotex are responsible for the combustible cladding which caused the fire and led to more than 70 deaths of social housing tenants.
“The London fire brigade’s readiness for the Grenfell Tower fire was “gravely inadequate” and fewer people would have died if it had been better prepared, a long-awaited public inquiry report into the disaster that killed 72 people have concluded.
The first phase of the report into the biggest single loss of life in London since the second world war also ruled that the building had been refurbished in breach of safety regulations and that contrary to the evidence so far of the cladding panel manufacturer, Arconic, “the principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly up the building” was its aluminum composite panels and the “melting and dripping of burning polyethylene”. 
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which managed Grenfell Tower through an arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) and the cladding companies bear responsibility for the social murder of the 72 people who died in the fire. The majority of tenants in the block were either black or migrants from from semi colonial-countries. The decision to erect the cladding over the top of the building was taken by the Tory controlled Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea through the ALMO, saying that the sight of Grenfell Tower was abhorrent to the more wealth owners of property in the surrounding area of the very rich Kensington and Chelsea area.
The Metropolitan Police have not arrested one corporate person responsible for the death of the Tenants until today. Instead Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police pointed the Enquiry to the London Fire Brigade and said they were at fault and responsible for the deaths at Grenfell. This of course is sheer nonsense as the deaths were also caused by cuts in services, particularly the London Fire Service, who made decisions based under the informations they hold at that time. The local authority through their total mismanagement of the property and the cladding companies on the other hand used the cheapest and in consequence highly inflammable material, which helped the fire spread in no time. In addition they did not informed the London Fire Service about their unusual and dangerous choice of material, which would triggered the experts intervention long time before the fire happened.
Who was responsible for the Deaths at Grenfell Tower?
The cover up and whitewash of those responsible at Grenfell was pure class justice, blaming workers and the oppressed. The Metropolitan police showed that they had no intention of bring to justice the corporate individuals associated with the cladding companies or the Tory leaders of the local authority. In their statement the Metropolitan police explained how difficult it would be to bring anyone to justice, a cop-out and a complete abdication of trying to find the killers at Grenfell.
“The criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 71 people, is unlikely to be completed until 2019 at the earliest and could take years, the head of the Metropolitan police has said.
Scotland Yard has previously said individual and corporate manslaughter charges were being considered but the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, said on Wednesday that detectives were a long way from passing files to the Crown Prosecution Service and that she had asked for extra government funding over several years to help cover the costs of the inquiry”.
As soon as the enquiry commenced in 2017 the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea closed down the arm’s length management organisation to avoid prosecution which could have led to the Tories in control of the London Borough being questioned by the police. In his report Moore-Blick criticises the 'Stay Put' policy for high-rise buildings of the London Fire Brigade. The Fire Brigades Union have correctly pointed out that the correct policy was stay put as the safest way to protect yourself against the fire until the firefighters save you. In general more people are hurt and die in such buildings if they do not stay and in their flats waiting for the fire brigade. This is because the walls of the flats themselves have a protective character except in the case of the Grenfell Tower. The usage of the cheap and highly inflammable cladding would be sharply opposed by every firefighter as it easily becomes some sort of fire accelerant in emergency cases.
Politicians and Government ignored Cust in Services which enabled the Tragedy
“We are determined to defend firefighters from unfair criticism and, where appropriate, to highlight the relevant failings of policy makers and politicians.
Around one thousand firefighters, mostly from the London Fire Brigade (LFB), were interviewed by the police about the fire. Last year, the GTI questioned 88 firefighters, control staff, officers of the LFB and other Brigades in its public sessions. It has published more than 250 firefighter witness statements on its website. This has resulted in unfair and unjustified criticism of individual firefighters and emergency control staff in some areas of the media. It has also raised questions about evacuating high-rise residential buildings. This circular explains the background to these issues and why ultimately it is central government that is responsible for any failures with this policy. The assumption should no longer be made that buildings must be evacuated if a fire occurs and high residential buildings should, therefore, be designed so that the occupants of floors above a dwelling which is on fire, may, if they choose, remain safely on their own floor”..
The FBU is right to criticize government cuts. Since the election of the Coalition Government in 2010 and further Tory governments the crisis of austerity has led to cuts in services and the starving of funds to local authorities particularly in the area of fire fighting. Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister and former mayor of London is responsible for what happens at Grenfell yet he has not even been considered for investigation by the Metropolitan police. As mayor he cut vital services to the London Fire Brigade reducing the number of firefighters and selling off 14 fire engines which they claimed they no longer required and closing 10 fire stations as well as laying off 500 firefighters. While the fire was being fought there were reports of a lack of safety equipment and on some floors no fire extinguishers to fight the fire.
The fact that very few sprinklers worked or there was an absence of fire alarms shows why it was a tragedy about to happen. The Blairite Labour Governments of 1997 and 2005 are also culpable reducing the strict building controls and allowing builders and developers to skip corners and avoid proper health and safety regulations which would prevent fires like the one in Grenfell. It was a tragedy waiting to happen and those responsible will get off scot-free. It was also the decision of Theresa May when she set up the enquiry that it would be in safe hands and that capitalist justice would protect those guilty of the murder of 72 people in 2017.
“It was a Labour government under Tony Blair that relaxed building regulation controls and allowed building companies to bypass very important health and safety regulations that may be responsible for tragedies like Grenfell occurring. In his drive to carry out capitalist policies very similar to the Tories, Blair hoped and wished to emulate himself as a savior for the ruling class. Boris Johnson, the present Foreign Secretary who was Mayor of London, cut and reduced the fighting capabilities of the London Fire Brigade, cutting services reducing staff and selling off fire engines which are essential in fighting fires”.
The RCIT’s Response to the Fire
The RCIT in Britain has always maintained that the guilt of who was responsible for the deaths at Grenfell would never be apprehended or arrested. The accusation against firefighters has a disgusting ring to it. The state has decided that firefighters saving people’s lives are responsible for the deaths whereas the corporate elite in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea go free as well as the directors of the cladding companies which de facto ensured that the fire spread so quickly.
“A year after the tragedy the police have not arrested anybody for the murder of these 79 tenants who died in the fire. It was social murder orchestrated through social and ethnic cleansing by the wealthier tenants of Kensington and Chelsea who did not want to see social housing tower blocks. Cheap and combustible cladding was erected to hide the outside of the building. The police are now interviewing the London Fire Brigade and apportioning blame on them for the cause of the fire. Firefighters and the Fire Brigades Union are innocent of any wrongdoing in their advice to ask tenants to remain in their flats. They gave the advice based on the estimation of a fire in a building that is built according to the regulations. Based on the information’s which the firefighters had their decisions were correct. This is just a blame culture to allow the real culprits top escape punishment. The police are direct agents of the state. Their role is to protect the state and its institutions and they will not prosecute directors responsible for erecting the cladding or the tenant management organization which managed Grenfell Tower on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea borough council”..
The RCIT in Britain restates the following demands to unite tenant’s workers and the oppressed over the campaign to determine the way forward.
* A Tribunal to be organized by the Grenfell Action Committee and the Radical housing group to investigate the real reason for the fire and the punishment for those responsible, the KCTMO Management and the directors of the building company that erected the cladding and knew it was unsafe and highly inflammable.
* Open the books and let the tenants see how much was spent on cladding and why no sprinklers or proper safety alarms were fitted in the years before the fire happened.
* Unoccupied houses and flats have to be immediately occupied, especially proper housing for the former tenants of Grenfell Tower has to be offered. An action committee formed to protect tenants from any right wing provocation must be organized in time.
* Stop the closure of Fire stations and support the local London Fire Brigades Union in its campaign to keep fire stations open and firefighters employed! No to cuts and closures! Take back all sackings of firefighters who lost their job because of retrenchment! Occupy fire stations which are threatened with closure and organize solidarity protests including strikes to fight back planned closures!
* Social housing is a right that must be defended! We call on Jeremy Corbyn and Emma Dent Coad (Labour MP for Kensington and Chelsea) to support this campaign inside the Labour Party and throughout the trade union movement. However, we say: Do not rely on Corbyn and Dent Coad and don't believe blindly that they will fulfill this task. Instead organize a militant rank-and-file campaign in solidarity with the tenants, especially the migrants and their families, who suffered from the fire independent from the Labour leaders! All of us owe it to the families of the victims to organize such a solidarity campaign by any means!