While my Guitar gently Weeps

I struggled with this, to comment or not ? It doesn’t try to be funny.

Just been watching Grenfell House burn. Horrific. Theresa May says we’ll have a public enquiry. A fucking blind man could see what happened. The cladding burned. People wrapped up inside a firework, dying on TV.

Why do we need an enquiry when we have Youtube ? Concrete buildings don’t burn.

Sunday morning, it was Autumn, years ago as a young man I watched a house burn. Stumbled across it through the thick grey smoke filling the street. We used to get fogs like that, for a second or two I thought it was fog, then the dreadful realisation. Running for a phone in the paper shop up the road.

The hall was like a furnace. The ceiling was on fire. Wallpaper curled and flared off the walls. Carpets blazed, front door blistered. Heat rising caused a wind to rush up the stairs. The staircase was a bright yellow tunnel of flame. I can vividly see it now, all ablaze, happened in about two minutes. The heat was incredible. Unapproachable. I’d never seen anything like it.

The mother, bedraggled and blackened, hair burnt off, night clothes melted to her body, danced on the pavement and pleaded insanely with me to go in – you can presumably guess what for. I couldn’t and nobody ever came out. A fire engine arrived and I went home, bewildered.

Some things you never forget.

Years later I occasionally inspected buildings for a fee, it paid the bills. Reported, prodded, poked about. I’ve seen numerous developments signed off and certified by the Building Inspector, both Local Authority and private Approved Inspectors, where fire protection is missing or inadequate, along with other glaring omissions like drains, expensive error, albeit not usually life threatening.

Some I know were signed off without any final site inspection ever taking place. It goes on all the time. Personally I’ve never seen breaches of building regulations enforced against. But you seriously better beware if you lop a tree in a Conservation Area without permission.

We don’t apply Building Regulations retrospectively in the UK. That is why we have so many three storey Victorian death traps, never mind tower blocks.

On a separate note we have no licensing system for contractors, big or small – anybody can be one. Start tomorrow if you want. There is absolutely no legal requirement for any form of insurance. Injure some one through your ineptness and that’s just tough. Drop a brick on a passing head. You may get slapped down by the HSE, if you can find an inspector, but there is no compensation for the paralysed victim.

So we need a public enquiry. Probably 5 – 7 years to tell us what we already know. Gross negligence and incompetence. The buck will be revolving at supersonic speeds.

We vote for these fuckers – the ones that just talk and talk, slag each other off and do nothing. The ones that have never lived in the real world or set foot in a tower block.

It’s like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when you watch MP’s perform together on TV. Hear, hear.

I wonder just how much money is involved – Local Authorities, Housing Associations and Corporations, affordable housing levies, contractors, select tender lists, grants, green tariffs, private finance initiatives.

How can a professional organisation propose a multi-million pound property refurbishment and not address the fundamental issues and faults as a starting point for the design process?

Radio Four announce the first victim has been identified. “A Syrian refugee”.

So the poor fucker doesn’t even have a name? Probably not, just a number – and he was only a refugee after all. I wonder how many thought that as the initial public shock subsided.

The Houses of Parliament are about to be refurbished at a cost of billions. I bet they get a sprinkler system. The building is probably exempt from Building Regulations if it’s a Crown building but no expense will be spared. How many hospitals could be built for the same sum?

As odious as he may be I suspect Trump would swiftly act on something as terrible as this – unless of course he owned the cladding factory.