The consecration of the Grenfell Tower

When future historians look back on the collapse of Britain, they may devote an entire section to the Grenfell Tower. It started as a human disaster born of poor cladding, bad regulations, unaccountable management, and an obsession with green initiatives but quickly became a quasi-religious symbol erected atop a hill on which the ruling classes are prepared to die.

Most of the country thought it was a crying shame then moved on, but many believed it symbolised the utter corruption of British politicians who encouraged mass immigration, hosed foreigners with welfare payments, and ignored wholesale fraud. These feelings were reinforced when professional hustlers, many of whom appeared to be foreign, took up the disaster as a stick with which to beat the government, demanding yet more concessions. On top of that, the charred remains became the focus of possibly the most brazen acts of fraud in British history. For instance:

So as many saw the Grenfell Tower as a symbol of the government’s worst policies, the ruling classes realised their most cherished beliefs – mass immigration, generous welfare payments, and multiculturalism – were under attack. Their reaction was as predictable as the fraud: they attempted to shut down all dissent. The trouble is, while it’s possible to place people in protected classes and criminalise any criticism of their behaviour, it is rather more difficult to do so in the case of an incident like a fire. I can think of many cases of a person being off-limits for mockery and derision; I can think of several objects which must not be disrespected in various parts of the world; I can also think of several government policies and actions which may not be discussed, let alone criticised. But I cannot think of a single instance anywhere in the world when something like a domestic fire was elevated to the status of a holy relic, placed beyond criticism on pain of criminal prosecution. Yet this is what the British ruling classes have done:

In short, the day before thousands of Brits burn an effigy of a Catholic man in celebration of his trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament, someone made a cardboard replica of the Grenfell Tower complete with people hanging out of windows and chucked it on a fire. They then made a video which was passed around on social media. It’s in rather poor taste I admit, but hardly something to concern the police in a country populated by adults. And were this to have been something else, say an effigy of Jacob-Rees Mogg or a bus full of Brexiteers, they’d not have batted an eyelid. But the Grenfell Tower has become a holy relic, and blasphemy is a matter of national importance:

Theresa May tweeted: “To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.”

Unacceptable to whom? The sensibilities of the ruling classes, who know their entire catalogue of cherished beliefs is represented by that cardboard model?

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the group’s actions were “beneath contempt”.

Was there anyone who held them in esteem?

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team, said any offences committed would be “fully investigated”.

“I am frankly appalled by the callous nature of the video posted online. To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile,” he said.

I suspect Commander Stuart Cundy cares as much about the Grenfell Tower victims as his comrades in Rotherham did about the underage girls who were systematically gang-raped with their full knowledge. All he’s doing here is signalling to his masters he’s on-message, and smoothing the waters for when he’s confronted by the mob at the next public meeting. Whatever the case, his personal opinions are irrelevant: if he wants to talk about his feelings, he is free to sign up to Instagram and befriend some teenagers.

Now I’ve written before about how Britain has adopted the Soviet approach of “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”, and sure enough:

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with a model of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire.

The Metropolitan Police said the men – two aged 49 and the others aged 19, 46 and 55 – handed themselves in at a south London station on Monday night.

A public order offence?

The men have been arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers intentional “harassment, alarm or distress” caused via the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or signs.

If this legislation can be used to prosecute those who circulate a video mocking an incident which happened over a year ago, it can be used to shut down speech of any kind. The only reason it’s being brought to bear now, as opposed to when everyone else is insulted, mocked, and derided in appallingly bad taste, is because the Grenfell Tower is a holy relic in the religion of the ruling class. And right on cue, here’s a high priest who’s come to preach to us about sin, blasphemy, and holy punishment:

Moyra Samuels, part of the Justice For Grenfell campaign group, told the BBC the video was “a disgusting attack on vulnerable people”.

She added: “We have no doubt that there are actually decent, generous people across Britain and this actual act doesn’t represent ordinary British people.

“But there is a worrying rise of racism in this country at the moment. And that is concerning, because it’s now starting to impact on us directly, which means that we actually need to be thinking what we do about this, and how we respond to this as a whole.”

Were we asked to sign up to this new religion, or were we simply born into it like with Islam? ‘Cos I’d rather not have to listen to this imbecile lecture me on racism every time someone does something her priestly caste doesn’t like.

Under the Public Order Act, racially or religiously aggravated offences carry a prison sentence of up to two years, a fine or both.

Religiously aggravated, eh? See what I mean?

I think future historians will find this interesting not only because it signifies abject desperation on the part of the ruling classes, but also their departure from reality. I get the impression a lot of people are rather incensed that the entire country is supposed to be in perpetual mourning because, apparently, something was upsetting for Londoners. But just as nobody outside Liverpool cares much about Hillsborough, few outside Aberdeen or who aren’t in the oil industry are still traumatised by Piper Alpha, and hardly anyone remembers the Bradford stadium fire, Grenfell Tower isn’t something which non-Londoners care about that much. They certainly don’t expect the incident to occupy the national government to the point they’re reinstating blasphemy laws. Was this video even made in London? Had the fire happened in a tower block in Newcastle, you can be sure the police wouldn’t be running around arresting people over videos and the Prime Minister blubbering on Twitter.

As they lose their grip on power, the ruling classes cannot see beyond the capital, and attempt to appease only the noisiest mob outside the palace gates. They’re not alone in this, either in historical or contemporary terms, but it won’t end well. The trouble with those who start new religions is they often end up burned at the stake, usually when they’ve overestimated their numbers and begun to annoy everyone else.

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33 thoughts on “The consecration of the Grenfell Tower

  1. I wonder if I write to Commander Stuart Cundy complaining that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are celebrating a regime that killed tens of millions of people with their Soviet tribute act, and are causing me great mental distress as a result, whether he’ll arrest them for public order offences?

  2. Boris Johnson wrote a piece in the Telegraph the other day advocating free speech. He’s right. Our political class is completely out to lunch. We don’t have free speech because my right to be offended trumps your right to say what you think. It sucks harder than the vacuum of deep space.
    Any political party that puts the ending of the concept of hate crimes in its manifesto will get my vote. (and there goes a pig at Mach3).
    We need to have free speech.

  3. When do we think the high water mark was for free speech in the UK?
    Certainly after the US War of Independence.
    Maybe prior to the 2nd World War (lots of censorship then which remained for a couple of decades).
    Perhaps there was a moment, post punk, before New Labour started introducing concepts like “hate speech”?
    It’s a tricky question to answer.

    Old Holborn has this about right; NEVER admit to a nebulous crime such as “hate speech” if plod come to you about it as a jury tends to look far more favourably than the police and CPS do at this rubbish.

  4. I don’t remember seeing this level of outrage about the fraudsters who literally profited from the Grenfell deaths.

  5. “NEVER admit to a nebulous crime such as “hate speech” if plod come to you about it as a jury tends to look far more favourably than the police and CPS do at this rubbish.”

    Here is an even better piece of advice passed on to me by a QC I shared an office with. Never, ever admit liability to anything, even if you shot him dead, in front of eye witnesses, with cctv recording, with your own gun that you brought there, because you are too stupid to know that you may in fact be innocent.

  6. @Jim: no, and if I were you, I’d think very, very carefully before parking on double yellows or exceeding the speed limit by 2MPH if you did that….

  7. @Bardon: the police blogger Nightjack (before being hounded off the net) produced a “survival guide for decent people” and it says pretty much the same thing.

  8. before being hounded off the net

    Exposed by The Times for covering stories The Times refused to cover.

  9. I am concerned about the state of the met’s keyboards, it seems that when you type in “pid” it comes out “art”, and when you type in “t” it comes out “dy”.

    How very peculiar.

    As to your wider point, I completely agree.

    What I am hoping, with no evidence whatsoever other than my damned natural optimism, is that it is a form of brexit derangement syndrome and that once past March 29th we might have a chance of reverting to behaving like grown ups.

  10. Well put Tim. I personally like a sick joke or two, remember the Diana joked that appeared within weeks of her death? Though these guys were idiots to video the thing and then share on social media. I suspect even if not charged their lives will be ruined, and if any nasty ‘accidents ‘ happen to any of them the police will shrug their shoulders and mutter something about them bringing it on themselves under their breath

  11. “When do we think the high water mark was for free speech in the UK?”

    That got me thinking.

    The right to free speech, to rebel, to defend, to have equitable representation, the right not to be imprisoned without cause, right to be judged by a jury of your peers, right to bear arms and use reasonable force including lethal force, habeas corpus, prevention of martial law, petition the sovereign and all the good stuff that is being taken away from us are all enshrined and established by the British Constitution which comprises many things and despite what its enemies say is written.

    It would have been first established by Alfred the Great before those pesky Normans tried to bring in statute law. Then revived with the various versions of the Magna Carta the establishment of trusts by wise monks to protect your assets from the crown. The Election Act, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Rights, The Coronation Oath all clearly bestowed the rights of free speech on the people.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Edw1/3/5/section/wrapper1

    “If the people are not equitably represented in the house of commons, this is a departure in practice from the theory. — If the lords return members of the house of commons, this is an additional disturbance of the balance: whether the crown and the people in such a case will not see the necessity of uniting in a remedy, are questions beyond my pretensions: I only contend that the English constitution is, in theory, the most stupendous fabrick of human invention, both for the adjustment of the balance, and the prevention of its vibrations; and that the Americans ought to be applauded instead of censured, for imitating it, as far as they have. Not the formation of languages, not the whole art of navigation and ship building, does more honour to the human understanding than this system of government.”

    John Adams

    The tide started to fall with the introduction of statute law and the evidence act. The end game will be the repeal of the Bill of Rights and the introduction of a new codified statute that will take the whole lot of our rights away in the one foul swoop. It’s high time to petition the sovereign about this methinks.

    “[executive power] will corrupt the legislature as necessarily as rust corrupts iron … and when the legislature is corrupted, the people are undone.”
    John Adams

  12. When do we think the high water mark was for free speech in the UK?

    Dunno, which is kinda why I didn’t make this about free speech. In the UK, as in most countries, there have always been *some* things you can’t get away with criticising or mocking, to varying degrees. What’s happened is those things have now changed, and whereas we once weren’t allowed to mock the king, blaspheme, or support the nation’s enemies, we are now not allowed to make bad jokes about a domestic fire. This means the fire was important to the ruling classes, and they felt vulnerable when people mocked it. It’s important to understand why.

    What’s bizarre about this isn’t that the government is suppressing free speech – everyone does that – it’s the actual speech they are suppressing. I kinda get that criticising Erdogan gets you thrown in jail, but arresting people for a video of a bonfire? We’ve taken leave of our senses.

  13. Dany Cotton (London fire brigade commissioner) told the public inquiry into the blaze: “I wouldn’t change anything we did on the night.” Such as telling people to stay in a burning building.
    If you disobeyed the authorities that night you lived.

  14. Dany Cotton (London fire brigade commissioner) told the public inquiry into the blaze: “I wouldn’t change anything we did on the night.”

    Of course not: the likes of Dany Cotton, who I’ve written about before, are infallible. That fat plod who cowered in his car while his subordinate was knifed to death wouldn’t do anything differently, either.

  15. “What’s bizarre about this isn’t that the government is suppressing free speech – everyone does that – it’s the actual speech they are suppressing.”

    Absolutely correct. It’s perfectly OK to say almost anything about the “deplorables” now. But just try abusing trans people, or immigrants, or gays, or women in general.

    And can you imagine a black family languishing in the cells while the police work out which laws might be applicable to the expression of their views at a party?

  16. I didn’t care when it happened and if possible I care less even now. Many of these people wish to destroy my nation and culture and so less of them is a bonus and I don’t give a fuck how that makes me seem.

  17. Reminds me of a joke:
    Trump: We want less immigrants.
    Aide: Fewer
    Trump: Don’t call me that yet.

    I find it funny because I basically like Trump. I think some showflakes (who invented the joke) don’t because they think it’s real.

  18. They have to react because if they it’s like they’re endorsing the opinions of those who made that video. They have nothing to worry about because the British public won’t hit them where it hurts: the ballot box. What should happen next is one of those gents should stand for election and be elected to parliament. That would be a proper kick in the pants for the establishment.

  19. Commander Stuart Cundy…

    Well, you can work out this bloke’s entire life and personality from those three words, can’t you?

  20. @Thud

    Couldn’t agree more and I strongly suspect that this is the opinion of a significant minority, possibly a majority, of those who actually believe in this country.

    Why should I care? All I can see are parasites. Financial, political or both just wanting money or to further verminous, hate filled anti British agendas.

    Fuck them all a million times over!

  21. Of course no blame for the fire should rest on the moronic Ethiopian taxi driver who when his fridge mysteriously exploded; like they do (still no recall or safety notices issued) had shut his fucking windows thus stopping the fire reaching the cladding. After calmly packing his suitcases he left leaving his front door open thus exacerbating the effects of not closing his windows.
    What exactly was in his fridge to make it explode ? and why the fuck do we need to import taxi drivers from Ethiopia and then house them in one of the world’s most expensive cities ?

  22. Can the number of flats / family disparity be explained by polyamory?

    Lol, I wish I’d thought of that!

  23. moqifen

    ” and why the fuck do we need to import taxi drivers from Ethiopia and then house them in one of the world’s most expensive cities ?”

    Strangely, no one seems to be able to answer this question.

  24. “This means the fire was important to the ruling classes, and they felt vulnerable when people mocked it. It’s important to understand why.”

    This is a great point.

    My working hypothesis is that it’s a further example of #2 of Milton Friedman’s four ways to spend money (someone else’s money on yourself); it personally costs the police, judges, politicians, press, etc. nothing to criticise or even prosecute the video creators but the benefits of being seen to be righteous flow to them nonetheless.

    Imagine the opposite situation if, when asked for comment, Theresa May said something like, “….as disgusting as this video is, in the UK we have a long tradition of freedom of expression and defending other people’s right to say things that we fundamentally disagree with”.

    That statement would carry huge personal risk for her for likely very little short term gain.

    Hence the instinctive pile-on, which is the equivalent of locking the car door while your colleague is being stabbed.

  25. @Tim N

    In short, the day before thousands of Brits burn an effigy of a Roman Catholic man in celebration of his Failure In trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament And Subsequent Execution

    FTFY

  26. I hope MET Police are treating the public burning of Trump & BoJo as more serious crimes and investigating compared to what’s privately done in someone’s back garden.

    The backgarden cry-babies should step back and think “why” people feel driven to do this. It’s a typical British humour reaction to being patronised & insulted.

    Meanwhile, Bit of a headscratcher

    150 families still have no homes after Grenfell Fire

    – erm …. whut? – there were only 120 flats

    Replies are terrific

  27. One of the major points that became clear post Grenfell for me was the high volume of “buy to leave” investors that have been successfully investing in nearby expensive properties and leaving them empty for decades. In this tale of two cities, many of them are also foreigners such as Sheiks, oligarchs, former statesman that unlike the nearby residents of Grenfell have done very well using London property as a store of their personal wealth in a relatively low sovereign risk state.

    This gives me some comfort that all that is righteous about English law and it’s protection of the freemen via the finest property laws in the world remain intact. If May and co were to fuck around with this, then we would no doubt see the disaffected Baron’s immediately petitioning the sovereign, thankfully some aspects of English law are sacrosanct.

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