Yesterday marked six months since the Grenfell Tower fire, which is now known to have cost the lives of 71 people. Many more were left traumatised and homeless. And, as so often with these events, those who suffered were the little people, the ones just scraping by in an increasingly expensive and exclusive city. To mark the event, a service of remembrance was held at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.
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Those attending included survivors of the blaze and their families, relatives of those who sadly didn’t make it, as well as faith leaders, representatives from Parliament, and a full turnout of working Royals. The Dean of St Pauls told those assembled “Be united in the face of suffering and sorrow” and spoke of “the unspeakable tragedy, loss and hurt of that June day”. But not everyone observing proceedings was of such generous spirit.
Despite the grief still being raw, and many of those survivors still being homeless six months on, pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins clearly sensed an opportunity to generate More And Bigger Click Counts For Herself Personally Now. And in this, she was at her vicious, intolerant, dishonest and ignorant worst. Smearing the survivors, whipping up the hate mob, and defaming the memory of the dead, these were her priorities.
So it should have been no surprise at all to read “4 in 5 residents from #GrenfellTower are still in hotel accommodation because they are holding out for luxury flats. Dry your tears of sympathy”. This is totally untrue. It is yet another unresearched and malicious smear. But the invention and malice levels were about to be ramped up further.
En route to this destination, Hatey Katie paused briefly to claim “Conservative councillors were refused places at the memorial. The church, #StPaulsCathedral & the Royals should not be endorsing politics in grief. #GrenfellMemorial”. This is also totally untrue. Survivors and their relatives REQUESTED that no Tory Councillors from RBKC attend. They were, after all, the ones who endorsed all the fateful decisions concerning the Tower.
And then comes the pièce de résistance: “The locals from the tower I spoke to said it was not a fridge, but an open hot oil cooker - for breaking Ramadan fast”. This is the most monstrous and malicious lie. No other report of this has been published, because Ms Hopkins (a) did not talk to any locals, so (b) she is just smearing out of prejudice. And after Ms Hopkins drops this poison to her 800,000 plus Twitter followers, she knows some will be gullible enough to believe it. This is hate speech, pure and simple.
And we know who her targets are: once again, it’s all about blaming the Scary Muslims (tm) for the fire. We can deduce this from her dismissive response to those still grieving: “The politics of grief. Grenfell fire: a service at St Paul’s plus Royals. Manchester slaughter: carry on as normal, suck on a tea candle & hug a Muslim”.
Half a century ago, the Katie Hopkins of this world would spend their evenings sat in a corner of the snug down the local pub, sipping a Mackeson and lying maliciously, but only to themselves, ignored by everyone else. Now they can poison lots of other minds, too.
Anyone still out there in the media world prepared to indulge this seriously unhappy and unpleasant person? I have only one question for you: why?