When two students at Chester University won a fancy dress competition by turning up as the burning North and South Towers of the World Trade Centre, our free and fearless press came down on them like the proverbial tonne of bricks. The Murdoch Sun put them on its front page. The Mail published a photo of one of the students’ family homes. So what awaits those who just burned an effigy of the Grenfell Tower does not bear thinking about.
Yes, someone has burned an effigy of the Grenfell Tower on a bonfire. It is hard to comprehend the collective sickness of mind required to perform such an act, but perform it someone has. And what those people should now be dreading is that the press pack is on to them. The Mail has already gone in with both feet: “Britain's sickest bonfire party: Grenfell dead are mocked by 'despicable' Guy Fawkes revellers who laugh as they torch home-made tower with screaming victims at windows”.
The sub-headings make for grim reading. “Cardboard effigy shows victims in the windows including woman in a burka … Group - believed to be from the south-east - howling with laughter at sick joke … Revellers shouting 'help me, help me' while laughing wildly as effigy is engulfed … Others say: 'That's what happens when you don't pay your rent' and 'rob the flats’”. Sick does not convey how nasty this is. And there is more.
“The video, which has been shared online between groups on Whatsapp, appears to have been taken over the weekend, and shows people laughing as the cardboard 'building' went up in flames … It has now been shared on Facebook and Twitter by outraged viewers who say the act is a 'hate crime’”. Condemnation has been swift.
Kensington’s Labour MP Emma Dent Coad has given notice that she is on the case. Grenfell United, the official organisation for the bereaved, survivors and community of Grenfell Tower, has told “It’s a disgusting video. We hope that the police are taking this seriously. Not only is it extremely upsetting to survivors & people who lost family, it’s hateful & offensive to everyone that has been affected by the tragic events of that night”.
They went on to say “We try to keep our focus on the thousands of people across the country who supported us in the weeks after the fire, the hundreds that walk with us every month on the 14th and everyone who is backing our fight for justice and change … Meanwhile this week survivors continue to bravely give their evidence at the @grenfellinquiry today. Our focus & support is with them”. Amen to that.
The thought also enters that, looking at the images of those participating in this sick stunt, that there is a racist tinge to the episode, with the Mail’s article telling “One of the men is heard exclaiming: 'That little ninja's getting it now' - an apparent racist comment about a Muslim woman in a burka depicted on its side”. So it will surprise no-one that “The video is already being called one of the most disgusting ever made and has been reported to Met Police as a hate crime”. Dead right it is. This is bang out of order.
But that is where the bigoted rhetoric of press and politicians leads, especially when combined with ignorance and hatred. This is not humour. It is beyond the pale.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at