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Friday 30 June 2017

Grenfell Tower - Beware Cover-Up

The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster continues to generate headlines and controversy, as questions not only remain unanswered, but more are generated by the actions of those in power. And all the while, the death toll nudges upwards, with the suspicion that what is officially revealed is far short of reality.
From such suspicions come the easily sown thought that some kind of cover-up may be beginning. Councillors, local Government officers, civil servants, members of the Westminster Parliament, those involved in devising, monitoring and enforcing safety standards and regulations, all are now watched as never before for evidence of bodyswerving, backside-covering, or other creative methods of blame avoidance.

Into this febrile atmosphere has been pitched retired Judge Martin Moore-Bick, chosen to lead a public inquiry into the disaster. His initial reaction bears careful study: “I can honestly say I have never seen anything like that building which is now completely gutted … I'm well aware the residents and the local people want a much broader investigation and I can fully understand why they would want that”.

But then he cast doubt on that aspiration: “Whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that I'm more doubtful and I will give that some thought and in due course make a recommendation … But there may be other ways in which the desire for that investigation could be satisfied”. He is at least being candid about the limitations of the inquiry which he will chair. But if his inquiry will not provide the answers, what will?

Certainly not the evasion exhibited by the local council, which held a meeting yesterday evening from which the public and media were intended to be excluded. When an order was made that media representatives must be allowed in, council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown decided that the meeting could not continue, as he alleged that this might “prejudice” the public inquiry. This was feeble in the extreme. It was also untrue.

It is not possible to prejudice an inquiry which is sitting without a jury, and Moore-Bick will be sitting without a jury. But it is possible for the actions of Paget-Brown and his pals to fuel the belief that a cover-up is under way, that those with an interest in keeping information out of the public domain are already working to do so.

What might they not want to come to light? Consider the new information coming to light on the Grenfell Tower cladding. As the BBC has noted, “Cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower during its refurbishment was changed to a cheaper version … Documents show the zinc cladding originally proposed was replaced with an aluminium type, which was less fire resistant, saving nearly £300,000”. And on whose watch did that happen?

The Beeb again: “the local tenant management organisation had sent an ‘urgent nudge email’ to project management consultants involved in the refurbishment … It says the email urged them to provide ‘good costs’ on cladding that could be shown to the councillor overseeing the work”. The councillor overseeing the work.

Whose fellow councillors are now running for cover. Survivors and their supporters must beware any tendency to cover-up. Because, as the death toll rises, that will follow.


ashie said...

Everything the Council have said and done since the tragedy has broken Rule 1 for dealing with major crises: "Don't say or do anything to make things worse". They have done the exact opposite. They cannot be trusted.

Arnold said...

What I want to know is why Westminster didn't follow Scotland's example in 2005.
"How 1999 Scottish tower block fire led to regulation change"

Anonymous said...

Ironic and timely that, as the Hillsborough travesty is reaching it's end game, we now have people in positions of power desperately trying to manage a situation in such a way that their own backsides are covered by whatever devious means necessary.

When will these people realise that the truth will always come out.

Anonymous said...

The key to any government inquiry are the Terms of Reference which set it up. These control everything that follows. If they are too narrow or prejudiced they ensure the full truth will not emerge during the inquiry.

The classic example is the Taylor Inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster. The TOR for that tagged on a requirement to look into card ID systems and other hooligan control measures. The implications were obvious and lingered long after Peter Taylor's admirable efforts to find the truth.

In order to ensure there is COMPLETE transparency it is necessary to know who wrote the TOR, including ALL formal and informal advice to that end from goverment members, civil servants and private individuals. Plus publication of the process for selecting the chairman and staff of the inquiry, and which individuals were responsible for appointing them. There should be absolutely no hiding place.

By now terrible tragedies have ensured the public are only too aware of just how rotten and corrupt is the British establishment and its mainstream media, and just how extreme are their lying measures to avoid responsibility and the truth. That is "conspiracy" by any definition.

Trust none of them. They're all lying, cowardly cunts until they show cause for us to think otherwise.

SimonB said...

Maybe we need to crowdfund a truly public inquiry?

Arnold said...

At least we've been spared a Sun "THE TRUTH" above a story blaming the residents.

Nigel Stapley said...

@Anonymous @1225,

There's an equally glaring case in the Waterhouse Enquiry into child abuse at children's homes in North Wales.

William Hague (aka "Billy The Pop"), who was SoS in Wales at that time deliberately had the TOR limited so that they only covered abuse which took place in children's homes by staff there. This completely excluded any evidence (of which there was a fair amount) which showed how the poor kids in those homes were farmed out for abuse by prominent members of the political, business, judicial and law-renforcement 'communities' in North Wales and Cheshire.

There's no point in having an 'independent' member of the judiciary chairing an enquiry when that enquiry can be (and usually is) purposefully hamstrung by the politicians who set it up.