Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

The Grenfell Tragedy and Class War.

with 14 comments


“Our fears over fire were ignored because we are working class.”

The Evening Standard has just reported,

Grenfell Tower estate residents: Our fears over fire were ignored because we are working class.

Distraught residents of the estate where at least 17 people were killed in a horrific tower block blaze have told how they believe safety concerns were ignored because officials “don’t care” about working class people.

Residents living in tower blocks close to Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West estate said they were now “scared” for their own safety, and that managers and the council had not acted on concerns raised in meetings.

It comes after it emerged a resident of the tower block had written a chilling blog post after a renovation in 2016, saying only a “catastrophe” would lead to changes being made.


Scrawled alongside tributes to victims on a wall outside Latymer Community Centre were messages calling for “justice for Grenfell.”

Another referenced “poor people politics”.

Cye Elliot, 75, a visa adviser who lives close to the estate, said: “It’s just total neglect.

“It’s arrogance, disrespecting people. Because they were working class they can get away with it.

He added: “You see the block where all these people were killed and then you see the people coming along with the kids going to private schools. It’s poignant.”


The Grenfell Tragedy is Class War

Writes Phil, A Very Public Sociologist.

The victims of yesterday’s fire at the Grenfell tower in north Kensington are casualties of the class war. There is no other frame, no other explanation that can convincingly thread together the answers to questions about how this unnecessary and entirely avoidable tragedy happened, and why it was allowed to happen.

Shiraz Socialist posts,

Grenfell Action Group: “All our warnings fell on deaf ears”

It is becoming apparent that the residents of Grenfell Tower had made repeated representations to the (Tory) Council and the so-called Tenant Management Committee, about their fears over the safety of the building. But these were poor working class people, isolated within a prosperous borough. They were ignored, as the Grenfell Action Group’s blog demonstrates.

The Guardian carries this story,

Grenfell Tower fire is corporate manslaughter, says Labour MP

David Lammy, whose friend is missing after the blaze, calls for arrests, as confirmed death toll rises to 17.


Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, whose friend Khadija Saye and her mother, Mary Mendy, lived on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower and were missing, gave a voice to the growing anger in the community.

“This is the richest borough in our country treating its citizens in this way and we should call it what it is. It is corporate manslaughter. And there should be arrests made; frankly, it is an outrage,” he said.

“Many of us across the country have been caught up in an election knocking on housing estate doors, travelling up to the top floors of tower blocks and we know as politicians that the conditions in this country are unacceptable.”


The newly elected Labour MP for the area, Emma Dent Coad, said there was growing fear among residents made homeless by the fire that they would be rehoused outside of the borough, in cheaper housing in places far from London, such as Hastings or Peterborough, where the council has tried to rehouse tenants previously.

“I can’t help thinking that poor quality materials and construction standards may have played a part in this hideous and unforgivable event,” she said.

The Mirror says

Grenfell Tower fire shows that the poor and working class are once again left behind to live in danger

The face of Grenfell is like the face of so many tower blocks across Britain – residents rely on the state to keep them safe and I fear they have been failed


There are real questions about the viability of these buildings.

New high rises being built across the capital are largely luxury apartments and pent-houses, and of course they are equipped with sprinkler systems, fire-proof walls and fire escapes.

Yet again we have one rule for the rich and the poor are being left behind and left in danger.

There is also this claim (Vox Political): Outsourcing firm Capita runs ‘catastrophic’ dispatch system that delays firefighters.

The Tories outsourced the fire and rescue service dispatching system to outsourcing profit-maker Capita in 2012. As a result, it doesn’t work.

After the horrific scenes we witnessed there is great sadness and great anger across the country. There is little doubt that nobody is going to stop talking about the class issues involved; the simple reason is that it the contrast with the Tower bloc’s neighbours is so stark, as anybody who has visited the borough can see, feel and touch. The image of the burning building is imprinted in millions of minds. A kind of whirling machine of faults that surrounds the origins and response to the tragedy, and the response to it, incarnated in the gruesome figure of Theresa May, the Council and its outsourced companies.

More than anything, it’s that the residents will not keep  their rage to themselves.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    June 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

  2. ” a leaked letter reveals that officials at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tried to silence the campaigners, sending a lawyer to threaten O’Connor.

    “I am instructed that you previously posted blogs that have in general been critical of everything that takes place at Lancaster West in relation to the Kensington Academy Leisure Centre and investment on the estate,” solicitor Vimal Sarna wrote to O’Connor in July 2013.

    It then instructs the group to delete the blog – an order the group did not follow.”

    That is exactly the kind of arrogant behaviour that local dignitaries and, above all notables who a re also either business people or the people responsible for contracting out to dodgy outsourcers, take when they find that somebody in their manor has the gumption to use the web to publicise criticisms, or even different views to their own.

    In this case it’s left them looking beneath contempt.

    Andrew Coates

    June 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

  3. […] Unite the Union appeal to raise funds for those affected Statement from the Radical Housing Network The Grenfell tragedy and class war, by Andrew Coates Property, profit and death, by Rees Arnott-Davies Grenfell: the lie of London’s urban […]

  4. From Len McCluskey:

    Dear friends,

    The full horror of the fire at the Grenfell Tower is yet to unfold but we do know that there has been fatalities, serious injuries and hundreds of people are left destitute and in despair.

    Once again our emergency services have been called upon to display the selflessness and heroism we are sadly becoming all too accustomed to. Unite will be sending its solidarity to our colleague unions to express our very deep thanks for all that they do to in the name of public service.

    But we also need your help. We need you to donate to the fund to support the residents of Grenfell Tower.

    Unite has members who live in Grenfell Tower. We are doing our utmost to locate them, and to offer every support to them and their neighbours. Our community members are already mobilising collections for essentials such as clothing, food and toiletries.

    Clearly there are very many questions to be asked about the cause of last night’s blaze, and when the time is appropriate this union will be redoubling its efforts to put decent, safe social housing back on the political agenda. There are thousands of such towers around the UK. We must ensure that they pose no risk to human life.

    But for today we need to rally around our fellow members and this devastated community.

    Can your branch make a donation to help those affected by this horror through these very dark times?

    If so, please donate to

    London Fire

    Account 33201148

    Sort code 60 83 01

    With very many thanks,

    Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the union

    Jim Denham

    June 16, 2017 at 1:05 am

  5. On the outsourcing,

    “London outsources 999 fire control service
    Fire and Emergency Planning Authority is outsourcing its 999 emergency control service to Capita.

    Capita will supply a new “high-tech” 999 control system and run it on behalf of the Brigade, said the authority. The contract will run for 10 years and promises to realise over £5 million of savings over the lifetime of the contract.

    “This will ensure the best possible deal for London taxpayers and allow the Brigade to focus on its core business of putting out fires, rescuing Londoners and saving lives,” said the authority.

    Capita has existing contracts with other police, fire and ambulance services to provide emergency service mobilising systems, but London will become the first Brigade in the country to outsource its emergency call handling.”


    Andrew Coates

    June 16, 2017 at 11:49 am

  6. From the Radical Housing Network:

    Hi folks,

    You will all have seen the unfolding tragedy at Grenfell Tower. We are organising solidarity for our member group the Grenfell Action Group, which became part of the Radical Housing Network about 3 years ago. They have been pressurising the local council for its failings throughout that time, and it’s horrific to see the implications of the council’s intransigence now.

    I hope to see many of you at the demonstration at DCLG tonight (Friday), 6pm by Victoria.

    As well as that demonstration, we have called a solidarity meeting tomorrow morning at 9.30am, at Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk, London W10 6NQ – we will walk down from the meeting, to the demonstration we’ve called at midday tomorrow.


    Action outside Kensington Town Hall to demand that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are held accountable for the deaths and tragedy of Grenfell, and that the residents’ and housing movement’s demands are met. This atrocity must never happen again.

    Saturday 17 June, Midday

    Kensington Town Hall

    Hornton Street


    W8 7NX

    Please can you forward this about – this has to mark a turning point in British housing policy, and it might well do.

    The meeting and action will focus on ongoing solidarity for the residents and the Grenfell Action Group. This means supporting them in achieving their demands and ensuring their voices are heard in the oncoming political debate. Here’s some lines from an RHN member about the feeling on the ground:

    I’ve spoken today with Eddie and also David Collins, who worked closely with Eddie on the campaign. They are clear about their immediate demands – they want all the residents to be housed locally and together in the aftermarth as well as long term. And they want a full inquiry into what happened and into the Tenants Manangement Organisation.

    Even straight after the fire the council were trying to break up the residents – Eddie was allocated a single, emergency accomodation flat and had to fight to be put up in a decent hotel with other Grenfell families. He is organising to make sure this is the same for all residents. Therea May might have promised an inquiry but today said that “the government will make every effort to make sure that they are rehoused in London and as close as possible to home.” NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Also, yesterday, the head of the council refused to give a straight answer when questioned if the land would not be privatised.

    I have been down at Grenfell today, coordinating with Grenfell Action, dealing with press, speaking to journalists, organisers, survivors and those at the site. There is a lot of anger, and desire to hold the council to account. The action today is focussing on the government, but no action is yet being organised against the council. From what I’ve heard the community would be incredibly supportive of this. Chalking the town hall would enable people to literally write large their demands and anger on this symbol of local governance.


    Grenfell Action Group demand that no stone is left unturned in investigating what led to this horrific event, and that those responsible are held to account.

    Residents must not be broken up in the immediate aftermath of the fire. In the long term are must be offered local, secure and affordable housing. The community must be allowed to heal together.


    Radical Housing Network demand that the estate is fully rebuilt so that not a single unit of social housing is lost – this must not be an opportunity for the council to privatise homes, or for someone to make quick cash.

    Gavin Barwell, Conservative Chief of Staff and ex-Minister for Housing, who sat on a report warning that tower blocks were vulnerable to fire, must resign immediately, along with anyone else whose actions or neglect led to Grenfell. Criminal proceedings must be brought against those responsible.

    Bring banners and noise. Open mic and other action.

    Called by Radical Housing Network and our member group, Grenfell Action Group

    Jim Denham

    June 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm

  7. Andrew Coates

    June 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm

  8. […] Tower fire was an act of class war. You can read his blog post in all its bombastic risibility here. If that isn’t shocking enough, the North London Cabal that rules the Labour Party have been […]

  9. Labour should run this guy for the local council against the Tories.


    June 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm

  10. Indeed. See also


    The Conservative media in that case would smear him as a ‘terrorist’; like they did to Corbyn and very moderate London Labour mayor Khan.


    June 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm

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