Attempts to deflect blame from Tory politicians for the Grenfell Tower fire reached their nadir yesterday, as the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart London turned their attention to the subject and responded by doing what they do best - lying. The lead was taken by their alleged editor-in-chief Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, an appallingly immodest being with much to be modest about.
Raheem Kassam. No, don't laugh
Kassam took to Twitter to talk well, but lie badly, as he asserted “Local Govt: Lab … Planning Cmte: Lab MP … Mayor: Lab … Built under: Lab … Blame? ‘TORRIEEESSSS!!!’” This was yet another routine pack of lies.
Lie Number One: The “local Government”, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, has a Tory majority of impregnable proportions - 40 out of 50 Councillors.
Lie Number Two: the majority on the Planning Committee is also Tory. The Labour MP he mentions, Emma Dent Coad, was not on the planning committee when the refurbishment decisions were taken on Grenfell Tower (and nor was she on the management board of the organisation that looks after the borough’s social housing at the time).
Lie Number Three: the Mayor of London at the time the refurbishment decisions were made, and the work done, was not Labour.
Lie Number Four: Grenfell Tower was built in the early 1970s, and the Westminster Government at that time was Ted Heath’s Tory one. But that is of tangential relevance: the Government responsible for building the tower was the local one, and that was also Tory.
And Kassam does not stop there, going on to claim “Ok I see some people don't understand how local democracy works. Here's who #GrenfellTower residents elected to rep them. 3x Lab”.
Lie Number Five: the majority on the Council, and in the planning committee, is still with the Tories, whatever party voters in individual wards choose.
Could he pull another whopper? He certainly could: “Also I love how some people don't know the new Lab MP was on the planning committee before being elected. Only those who can read get this”. Patronising, much?
Lie Number Six: Emma Dent Coad was on the planning committee in 2013-14. So “before being elected” as an MP, as in this year, she wasn’t.
Then Kassam hands over to one of the Breitbart gofers, for an article titled “Far Left Co-Opts Grenfell Tower Tragedy to ‘Bring Down Government’ with Foreign Cash”, which spins the Kassam whoppers once more, telling “Residents in the area have over the past few days expressed their outrage at the situation. Their three local councillors were all Labour Party members, the Mayor of London is a Labour Party member, and the block was built in the 1970s”. As has been pointed out, either wrong or irrelevant.
So does it recycle Kassam’s lies any further? It certainly does: “The area’s new Member of Parliament, Emma Dent Coad, was even on the housing planning committee which scrutinised work on Grenfell tower as recently as 2015”.
Lie Number Seven: Ms Dent Coad was not on the planning committee when the decisions were made on Grenfell Tower, and certainly not in 2015.
Then, just to put the lid on it, the article talks about a group called Movement for Justice: “Breitbart London revealed last year MFJ is foreign-backed, with close links to the U.S.-based organisation ‘United for Equality and Affirmative Action’ (UEAA)”.
Er, hello Breitbart inmates? You calling out another group for being “foreign-backed”, and with close links to an organisation in the USA, puts you in the draughtiest of glasshouses.
Raheem Kassam and Breitbart London: the finest idiocy money can buy.