Britain’s capacity for generating Inquiries is matched only by its growing desire to indulge in emotional incontinence and disinformation. The Grenfell forum must be cool, focused on forensics and brave enough to nail the guilty. Yesterday’s opening session left me with the uneasy feeling that it has lost the plot before it even starts.
When Princess Diana died, I admit it was a shock. But then Britain spiralled into a tear-fest of lachrymose tributes, most of which were ridiculously over the top. When Blair uttered Campbell’s truly vomit-inducing “She was our Princess of Hearts” I began to wonder where the whole thing was going. When people started chucking gladioli at the funeral cortege, I blinked in disbelief.
The process may not have started with this one event, but certainly it was the first time I noticed that the coming generation of Brits had lost any real sense of balance about the big issues…that they preferred fairy-tale princesses and the starry-eyed Disney cartoon view of life to reality.
Just over two decades later, the British People have matured from blubbing touchy-feely neo-Americanisms into lachrymose idiocy. I didn’t see a single second of the Harry-Meghan wedding, but I did pick up a Times “souvenir issue” (Price £2.70) at the airport yesterday. Not a single columnist in the Newscorp stockade took a cold, hard look at Meghan’s track record, nor did any of them question the gushing optimism about “how wonderful it is that a really high-up Royal has married an American person of colour”.
But there you go: I wish them well, I really do – but I don’t share the general confidence about the outlook for this marriage. The Windsors are dysfunctional as a Royal family, and Ms Markle is as hard as nails. The British Royals are not “bringing the institution up to date”: they are signing its death warrant. Charles remarried – to a divorcee he’d been shagging for years. Then William married an aspirant commoner with grasping parents who don’t do good behaviour. Now Harry has landed a minor-league Californian actress. Perhaps William’s son George will wed a transsexual. Possibly Prince Louis will hitch up with an Antifa activist dedicated to the destruction of the Monarchy. I mean, what on Earth could go wrong?
Media and public analyses of where the Windsor dynasty is going are even more silly than the public reaction to Diana’s demise. But the inability to discriminate between fibreglass and candy floss applies in many walks of life. When in 2010 Nick Clegg managed to handle a TV debate without either being the other two or soiling himself, the next day 34% of voters wanted him to be Prime Minister. When Remainers lost the Brexit vote in 2016, they actually said Orwellian robostuff like “All the good people voted to Remain” and “those who voted Leave were just thick, Little Englander racists”.
For a socio-political group that claims to loathe “stereotyping”, the LibLeft excels at it: they really will believe any old tosh. Equally, we are still getting Tory clones applauding the use of private suppliers (a policy that has been an unmitigated disaster) and wittering on about “trickle down wealth” in the face of all the swag gushing upwards.
And now – starting yesterday – we are going to get months of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
The portents are not good. It transpired yesterday that up to the first two weeks of the Inquiry will be taken up with personal tributes to those who died….from their friends and relatives. I watched some of it yesterday. For about ten minutes. Then I went for a long walk to try and decide whether I am just a nasty old man, or whether any “inquiry” is likely to sift the facts in a balanced manner ever again. Leveson certainly got 0/10 on that one. The Grenfell job looks set to limbo under that bar.
From Day One, the Left has turned the Grenfell Tower disaster into a political cause celebre. That was and remains dishonest, given that anyone surveying the circumstances that led to the fire will quickly realise that there was a massive compliance and due diligence failure between those who supplied the cladding, and those who ordered it. Somewhere down the line, the building regs and specifications of the cladding were totally forgotten. Perhaps money changed hands, perhaps the specifiers were just lazy, perhaps the developers can’t read. What I can observe is that the makers of the cladding are in the clear, because they made it abundantly clear what the product would and wouldn’t do.
This is what the enquiry should focus on. Will it, for example, make clear that the original ‘fake story’ put out by the Left – that the Grenfell cladding was chosen on aesthetic grounds “so as not to offend the fat cats living in private apartments near to the tragic Tower” – is complete bollocks….and that such private apartments are using the same cladding?
These are the sorts of things we need to know. I would like to hear a lot more on who knew about illegal subletting in the Tower, and when they knew it. I’d like a more full explanation of how and why the fire started…that’s to say, the immediate cause of the conflagration, rather than the disgracefully unfit cladding that turned an accident into a holocaust.
Last but not least, I’d like some informed, expert testimony to quantify exactly how big the under-specified cladding problem is nationally.
But what the Left wants is to milk the tragedy for all it’s worth – and so far, they do seem to be getting what they want.
During the period of this inquiry, certain myths will pass into the public arena:
- Only unique, loving parents ever die in fires
- Only the Good and Innocent ever die in fires
- There were no profiteering tenants in the Tower
- The tenants’ association predicted this would happen
For myself, a heartfelt opening address by the man in charge of the Inquiry (using excerpts from the in memoriam statements of relatives) would have been fitting and proportionate. But no, the activists wanted their people to get their day in Court…even though those memories will be sanitised and biased by the pain of loss.
It is not the job of this Inquiry to establish that lives were lost needlessly – we already know that. Nor is it a fitting place to have the emotional devastation and rage on display. The goal of this institution is to – without fear or favour – establish what went wrong, assess all the contributory factors, and then make recommendations to ensure that such a thing never happens again.
I hope somebody remembers that. The signs from yesterday are that we’re going to get a spectacle shot in Blubbarama. And that isn’t going to help anyone except the élites of Right and Left who wish, respectively, to achieve a successful whitewash or a blackening propaganda.
Cue dozens of threads, tweets and emails raging about what a complete bastard I am.