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Friday 29 September 2017

Press Sneers At Grenfell Victims

Few would envy the lot of Kensington’s Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, whose constituency includes the Grenfell Tower, and whose responsibilities therefore include advocating for survivors of the fire, trying to maintain the public profile of their plight, and get them all re-housed. In these duties she is a tireless campaigner, not that you would know from a perusal of our free and fearless press this week.
Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington

She highlighted the desperate situation for many of the former Grenfell residents in a statement yesterday. This has not been covered by the press, but it will be here.

The government has recently found £.3bn to restore Buckingham Palace, a palace with 52 Royal and guest bedrooms and 188 staff bedrooms. It is lived in by just three members of the Royal Family. In addition, the Government finds £.3bn a year in total to support the Royal Family, including millions to refurbish apartments for their use in Kensington Palace” she tells, before contrasting this with the lot of the Grenfell survivors.

Meanwhile, a short walk away, survivors of the Grenfell Tower in pokey hotel rooms for 15 weeks because there are no homes available for them. One woman is heavily pregnant and is heading for a Caesarian any day now. She has nowhere to go after birth to recover apart from back to her room which is so small there is no room for a cot and baby clothes - which have been begged from Mothercare by a volunteer”. There is more.
Her constituency - from the privilege of Buck House ...

Another survivor, who is disabled, has been moved six times, and was forgotten by her carers, so she spent a day lying in bed in her own excrement … Many are refugees, and some are former soldiers. I have total respect for them and the sacrifices they have made for their home countries and for ours. Army veterans are treated very poorly by the Government; a close associate served in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned suffering from shock and PTSD. It took years to get a diagnosis, the system is punitive and he suffered unimaginably”. And then she gets to the reason the statement had to be made.

On Monday night I made a joke. It has been taken the wrong way. Can we look as the real issues facing us now?

That her joke - a swipe at Prince Harry, who, regardless of all the good work he undoubtedly does, is not about to face the hardships of the Grenfell survivors - was taken the wrong way is one of the great understatements.

The press went over the top in no style at all in response. The Murdoch Sun was quick off the mark. “A LABOUR MP is facing demands to apologise to Prince Harry over slurs about his Afghan war record … Emma Dent Coad, 62, wrongly told an anti-monarchy event at Labour’s conference that Harry could not fly an Apache helicopter, adding: ‘He just sits there going, “Vroom vroom”’”. And there was more in the same vein.
... to the despair of the Grenfell Tower survivors

After Ms Dent Coad declined to grovel before the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker, the paper ranEmma Dent Coad today refused to apologise for her comments after they were revealed by The Sun”. Good for her. But the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail went further.

Following their sighting shot telling “A Labour MP has refused to apologise after sparking fury by mocking Prince Harry's Army career and accusing Prince Philip of cheating on the Queen … Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad abused the senior Royals at a fringe meeting at Labour's party conference in Brighton”, the Dacre artillery really opened up.

First came “Heroes rally to defend Harry: Wounded veterans fire back at MP who ridiculed the prince's Army record … Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad attacked Prince Harry's service record … She wrongly told the Labour conference that the prince cannot fly helicopters … Veterans and friends of Harry have lined up to defend his Army service record”. And then came the routinely spiteful hatchet job.

Under the headline “The sneering MP who's to the left of Corbyn: ANDREW PIERCE profiles Emma Dent Coad after her distasteful jibes about Prince Harry”, readers were toldMiss Dent Coad’s loathing for the Royal Family borders on the obsessional. But the recently elected Labour MP for Kensington has plumbed new depths with her distasteful jibes at the party’s conference in Brighton this week”. She’s 62. “Miss”?
Ms Dent Coad's statement yesterday

It gets worse. “So who is Emma Dent Coad and what exactly is driving her? Her background was undoubtedly privileged and on the Spanish side her family is descended from explorer Christopher Columbus and the Borgias, notorious aristocrats who produced two Popes - it is an ancestry she takes great pride in”.

And what relevance does that have to her work for the Grenfell survivors? You know, Dacre doggies, the constituents who elected her? While the Sun and Mail are draping themselves in the nearest available flag and coming over all righteous - and the resident idiocy at the Express is even pushing stories such as “Labour MP urged to resign after Harry remarks ’betray’ vow of loyalty to the Queen”, what are they doing for survivors?

Whatever your view of the monarchy, the contrast between their life of guaranteed comfort and security, and the plight of the Grenfell survivors nearby, is a stark and indeed jarring reminder of the grotesque inequalities in society, and not just in the capital.

Worse, that the press ignores those survivors, even when they train their guns on the MP who is working hard to try and improve their lot, is unforgivable. Those who wrote the hatchet jobs on Emma Dent Coad do not have to worry whether they will have a roof over their heads tonight, or food to put on the table. They will not be driven to the despair experienced by those who escaped the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Ms Dent Coad also told yesterday “We heard last night at the council meeting about some survivors who have given up hope and are contemplating suicide”. That is the grim reality which the MP has to face in her everyday work.

This filth masquerading as journalism should hang its collective heads in shame. It will not. Our free and fearless press will carry on ignoring the weakest and least fortunate in our society and sneering openly at those who champion them, its conscience numbed by the reassurance of regular and generous paycheques and the demands of management.

If anyone ought to say sorry, or even resign, as a result of this episode, it should be the editors and executives of the papers lambasting Emma Dent Coad. Shame on them for ignoring the poor and needy, while worshipping money and privilege.


Anonymous said...

Thus far the Grenfell survivors have one infinitesimal crumb of comfort: They haven't had the quarter century of lying attacks suffered by the Hillsborough families. Not yet anyway.

And those lying attacks were delivered by the police, local and national politicians, civil servants, coroners/judges/lawyers, government ministers and of course mainstream print and broadcast media. The entire establishment, root and branch rotten-to-the-core. AND ALL OF IT STILL IN PLACE.

Yet in the end the families won. Well, almost. There's still nobody in jail, a situation we hope will change shortly - if true justice is to prevail.

The likelihood is the Grenfell survivors and their families will probably be put through the establishment wringer in the hope they give up. That wringer will be cranked by the usual Murdoch/Rothermere gang of boot boys and cowards. Meanwhile other broadcast and print news outlets will stand by and do virtually nothing, as they did even when it became obvious early on in the Hillsborough tragedy that there was at the very least deliberately organised sabotage of truth and decency.

In this case, Emma Dent Coad is being used as a diversion. Which is one of the standard devices of the Murdoch/Rothermere gang. Anybody who thinks they'll ever change is living in cloud cuckoo land. The people who deliver this sort of disgusting muck have no conscience, no decency and no regard for the truth or society.

Everybody with the slightest trace of humanity will wish the Grenfell families all success. But they have a long hard grind ahead of them, obstructed all the way by the Murdochs/Rothermeres of this world. They might find some solace and help by consulting the Hillsborough families. It cannot bring back their lost ones, but it can help to deliver another important blow against the whole rotten, corrupt system that has brought this country so low.

Of course neither Murdoch, Rothermere or their employees will understand any of this. Nor should we expect them to. There's a part of them missing. The part that makes human beings.

A Kelly said...

What's wrong with calling an unmarried woman of 62 "Miss"? The correct form of addressing an unmarried woman is miss or ms.

As for all the stories she tells about new mothers who have had to have people begging at Mothercare etc. where is all the money and goods donated? I know, lets look here:


A Kelly said...

I see in her statement she talks about the baby "who has been hospitalised due to being given out of date milk by the council". Ignoring the fact that the mother should have checked the date of the milk beforehand as mistakes are made, dates on formula are "best before" and not "use by". The date on this formula was 14th August. So it is highly unlikely the formula was the cause of the baby's illness.

Dent Coad's pulling stuff out of the air without any sort of corroboration isn't doing the Grenfell survivors any favours at all. Just look at the comments the mother of this baby is getting in the media.

Anonymous said...

To Ann Kelly.

The point is not "...comments the mother of this baby is getting in the media".

That is precisely the way said media want all this to go.

Which is AWAY FROM THE CAUSES AND TRUE MEANING OF THE GRENFELL FIRE. Which of course is unsurprising given hard right media ownership and agenda.

Like you, I think the mother foolish. But let's not allow that to divert us from the real issues of this awful tragedy. We had that at Hillsborough. Let's not repeat horror.

Ceiliog said...

Of course, it would be very different for The Sun and The Daily Mail if the fire was in a Royal Palace and caused by someone placing a very hot spotlight next to a highly flammable, large curtain. See: Windsor Castle 1992.

Tim Fenton said...

@2 @3


The problem with all the charitable donations received is that it's not getting through to the families. So quoting a BIG AND IMPRESSIVE NUMBER is not helping your argument.

Ms Dent Coad is not merely "pulling stuff out of the air". The situation for the survivors is not good. If in doubt, spend some time there and talk to people. Like their MP does.

A Kelly said...

I'm involved in Grenfell, I'm involved with the ongoing response and I see how and when the money is distributed. I've seen for myself how their MP is conducting herself. And I have seen how she has conducted herself in the past as a councillor. I've been involved in situations like this for 25 years. That's why I comment.But if you want to think what you want to think and take what Miss/Ms Dent Coad says at face value, go ahead.