16 thoughts on “British Conservatives damage fire safety

    • Indeed. The Kensington and Chelsea Conservative local authority is said to be the worst in London, as they care only about millionaires in South Kensington, and threatened Grenfell Tower bloggers who blogged about fire hazards before the disaster with expensive lawsuits to silence them.

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  1. Friday 10th November 2017

    Prime Minister under pressure to come clean about ‘unauthorised’ ministerial meetings

    THE political storm over former Cabinet minister Priti Patel’s secret meetings with senior Israeli officials threatened to engulf Downing Street yesterday amid accusations of a government cover-up.

    Prime Minister Theresa May has serious questions to answer over exactly how much she knew about Ms Patel’s meetings, argued Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard.

    He alleged that the pair had discussed Ms Patel’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and her plans to funnel aid to the Israeli army, with Ms May agreeing that it was “a sensible idea.”

    Ms Patel resigned as international development secretary on Wednesday evening after being recalled from an official trip to Uganda.

    She was replaced by former disability minister Penny Mordaunt.

    However, the Jewish Chronicle is standing by claims that Downing Street ordered a cover-up over Ms Patel’s meetings to avoid embarrassing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

    Mr Pollard said Ms Patel “had clearly messed up and had to go,” but the real story was about No 10.

    He added: “Far from being unaware, No 10 knew in full about her meeting with Mr Netanyahu, because Ms Patel had discussed it with the Prime Minister in September, prior to the UN general assembly.

    “I then discovered this morning that No 10 had been told by Ms Patel about her meeting with Israeli Foreign Office official Yuval Rotem in New York and had specifically asked her not to include it.

    “It is a truism that with most scandals the real fallout comes from the cover-up.”

    The newspaper claimed that while Ms Patel’s meeting with Mr Netanyahu had not been authorised in advance by the FCO, the government was made aware of it within hours.

    Mr Pollard suggested that the revelations raised serious question for the government and Prime Minister “over who knew what and when.”

    Ms Mordaunt, a naval reservist, had been tipped to replace Michael Fallon as defence secretary before the post went to then chief whip Gavin Williamson.

    Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor welcomed Ms Mordaunt’s appointment.

    She added: “The new Secretary of State faces an immediate challenge of restoring integrity to British international development policy after the actions of Priti Patel.”

    “Unlike Priti Patel, who too often used the department to prop up her personal networks and leadership ambitions, Mordaunt must also quickly commit to the central cause of the department: to help the world’s poorest.”

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-01aa-Patel-Israel-cover-up-claims-threaten-to-swallow-up-May#.WgWNADuDMdU

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  2. Friday 10th November 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    APPOINTING Penny Mordaunt to replace Priti Patel as International Development Secretary shows that the Prime Minister’s overriding priority is to hold her Cabinet together.

    While the Tories insist that Cabinet ministers, irrespective of how they voted in the referendum, are equally committed to respecting the electorate’s decision, this choice demonstrates the opposite.

    Mordaunt has been appointed because, like Patel, she supported the Leave side in the referendum and, also in common with her predecessor, is a woman and a member of Conservative Friends of Israel.

    She demonstrates no previous expertise in international development aid, having bounced around over a three-year period, prior to her latest appointment, between the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Work and Pensions.

    This Royal Navy reservist’s most prominent leap fleetingly into public awareness hitherto saw her enter a debate on poultry welfare so she could utter the word “cock” as many times as she could.

    This rib-tickling intervention was, she said, set up as a dare or forfeit by naval reserve chums on some pretext or another.

    Voters will be overjoyed that Theresa May has appointed a Cabinet member with such a well-developed sense of fun who can be guaranteed to show her parliamentary duties the respect they merit.

    That charge could never be levelled against Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who continues to treat serious political responsibilities as a bit of a lark, acting the Old Etonian buffoon and failing to prepare properly.

    The Prime Minister condemned as “not an appropriate choice of words” Johnson’s oafish remarks last month, suggesting that the Libyan city of Sirte could become a new Dubai — “all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away.”

    The Foreign Secretary certainly has previous form in this area, having referred to the Queen being greeted in Commonwealth countries by “cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.”

    He suggested that then prime minister Tony Blair might be seduced by “foreign politeness” in the Democratic Republic of Congo when “tribal warriors” would “break out in watermelon smiles.”

    As with all such examples of Johnson’s ignorance, racism and lack of empathy, Tory leaders have tut-tutted before making excuses for him on the grounds that he’s supposedly a bit of a character to whom normal rules can’t be applied.

    That process continues, with colleagues still effectively condoning his abject performance at the Commons foreign affairs select committee last week when failure to prepare his brief led him to undermine the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who languishes in an Iranian jail. His subsequent assertion that his comments to the committee “could have been clearer” is nonsense.

    They were as plain as a pikestaff. He misled the committee by saying that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been training Iranian journalists despite her declaration to have been on a family holiday.

    Pressed by his shadow Emily Thornberry to apologise to the Zaghari-Ratcliffe family, he refused, accusing her of political point scoring.

    Yet Iranian state media has highlighted Johnson’s comments, calling them an “unintended admission” that Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is serving five years and could be hit with a further five-year sentence, is guilty.

    He has promised to meet her husband Richard Ratcliffe and to visit Tehran “in the next few weeks.”

    Who knows what nonsense he will spout there? Far better that this arrogant, abusive and lazy embarrassment should stand down now along with the rest of this ramshackle government.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-f6b2-Must-we-abide-Mays-fools#.WgXeTTuDMdU

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  3. Friday 10th November 2017

    Corbyn’s call for sprinklers is about more than Westminster – it’s about people not having to live in fire traps, writes NATHAN AKEHURST

    AS GRENFELL Tower burned there was one question being asked, desperately, both in my home borough of Kensington and beyond. Why? It is not a question that has been answered satisfactorily five months later. We continue to live in hope that the public inquiry may go some way toward the forensic side of the explanation. But we know the broader answer; we always knew it. Because not enough people in positions of power cared.

    That’s why residents were silenced, why stairwells went un-numbered, costs were cut on external cladding, fire stations sold off for luxury flats and official reports sat on.

    And that’s why in 2014, proposals to enforce the installation of sprinklers in high-rise buildings were quashed — in case billionaire property developers were scared away by the imposition of a life-saving precaution.

    Just a year earlier, two coroners’ reports in 2013 into high-rise fires at Lakanal House and Shirley Towers recommended that sprinklers be fitted in social housing blocks, and other research indicates they contain fires in 99 per cent of cases.

    Now there’s a chance to do things better. Jeremy Corbyn has launched a campaign to pressure the Chancellor to include funding for sprinklers in every tower block in Britain.

    Currently 49 out of 50 are not covered. He will doubtless be accused by Conservatives of “politicising” the fire.

    In doing so they draw attention to an uncomfortable truth: it’s taken political action from the leader of the Labour Party to even get sprinklers onto the agenda, scant months after the most deadly fire in modern British history.

    The fact that this has to be a matter for public debate speaks volumes about what, and who, this government prioritises.

    The cost of sprinkler installation is less than the cost of Theresa May’s deal with the DUP, and hundreds of times less than the amount of money owed to us that was revealed to be stashed in offshore accounts this week. The cost of failing to do it doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Westminster may attempt to pass the buck to local government. Of course irresponsible council leaderships exist (as Priti Patel’s replacement Penny Mordaunt, a former director of communications at Kensington and Chelsea, would be able to attest).

    But with councils having lost two-fifths of their funding and in many places struggling to keep the lights on, let alone the libraries open, major refurbishment projects are simply not feasible. Westminster needs to act.

    The lack of action has meant that over a longer period of time, the fire inspection regime has been degraded and privatised in the interests of profiteering.

    As shadow fire minister Chris Williamson says: “Planning departments used to be run by local authority building control teams and then competition was brought in. People would offer the same service as local authorities at a reduced fee. This affected the number and quality of staff at local authorities.”

    Sprinklers in the budget would be a small step to reverse this process.

    From Salford to Slough, people in inadequately protected high-rise buildings have watched north Kensington burning and are worrying right now about whether they can feel secure in their own homes.

    Theresa May committed after the Grenfell fire to reflecting on how things could be done better in public housing. She is making continuous concessions to appease her own backbenchers. If she can’t show that she is able to concede instead on an issue of urgent public safety, her legitimacy will plummet even further.

    But this is about far more than the relative strengths of May and Corbyn at next week’s Prime Minister’s Questions. It is about people not having to live in firetraps in the 21st century.

    It is about redressing an imbalance which has seen people living in social housing denied control, ignored and placed second fiddle in the political priority list to property developers and speculators — to the point where not just quality of life but preservation of life has been put at risk.

    All of us want to live in safe homes. None of us want to be looking at another burning building and asking “why?” in a few months or a few years’ time.

    We have just a few days to get the Chancellor to listen.

    You can sign Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to Theresa May on sprinklers here:

    https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/make-homes-safe/

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-defb-Asking-for-proper-fire-safety-does-not-politicise-the-Grenfell-Tower-tragedy#.WgXfSjuDMdU

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