After video was posted showing a group of white and mainly male people laughing and mocking as a model of Grenfell Tower was burned on a bonfire, there was revulsion at the callous act. That the figures in the model were not white people, along with the occasional racially tinged comment, did not do those involved any favours. Some in the print and broadcast media were especially angry about this exhibition of unpleasantness.
But one media outlet could be counted on to tell anyone not yet asleep that this kind of behaviour should be tolerated. To no surprise at all, that outlet is Spiked, so named because it should have been a very long time ago. Here, tedious contrarian Brendan O’Neill, taking a break from “triggering Libs” (see Zelo Street post HERE), has taken up the task of explaining that it’s fine to be shockingly offensive.
Bren admits “the video is horrible” before going off on the usual libertarian riff. “But criminal? That would be even more gross. Living in a society that criminalises people for what they say in their own back gardens would be worse, infinitely worse, than living in a society that has small numbers of prejudiced twats who think mocking the Grenfell calamity is funny”. And there is more. A lot more.
“And yet it looks like we live in that society. The commander of Scotland Yard, no less, issued a plea for information about the video, declaring himself ‘appalled by the callous nature’ of the people in it and by their ‘vile’ comments. I’m sorry, but I don’t want the police investigating videos in which no crime has been committed. In which no one’s property has been damaged or stolen and no person has been harmed. In which there is merely an act of expression”. There is, though, a problem with O’Neill’s approach.
And it is simply this: those who laughed and jeered as they burned an effigy of the Grenfell Tower did not just do so in their own back garden. Had that been the case, O’Neill would have been quite right to say that, no matter how offensive such behaviour may seem to others, it’s their business and no-one else’s. End of story.
But they didn’t just burn the effigy in their own back garden. The videoed it and posted the video online for the whole world to see - including the Grenfell survivors, relatives of those who died, and the wider community that is still trying to come to terms with the tragedy.
As Natasha Elcock has written in the Guardian, “There can be no excuse for the cruelty that was shown in that now infamous Grenfell video. It’s disgusting and vile. Unfortunately, many survivors and bereaved families endured the pain of watching people mock the trauma we all suffered that night. There is enough pain - we don’t deserve this”.
You see, Bren, it wasn’t just a group of white blokes having a laugh over a few cans in a back garden. It was a leering, mocking, racially intolerant and insensitive “fuck-you”, not just to the Grenfell families, but to tens of thousands of Londoners just about getting by, and having no alternative but to live in ageing and potentially deadly tower blocks.
That may be difficult for the comfortable metropolitan middle-class “Lib-triggering” inhabitants of the planet Spiked to understand. But not for those of us in the real world.
But if Brendan O’Neill had kept his obsession in the back garden, it would have been OK.
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That argument presumes two things a)that the video was posted publically by the people in the video itself and that b) what they did was illegal as well as vile (which it clearly is).
There's been a number of reports (which I can't in any way substantiate) that the video was shared by the participants (or some of them) on snapchat and then re-shared publically, by someone who saw it there. From where it was re-published all over the place.
That's supported by the need for the police to appeal to find out who was in the video, as, most public sharing systems like Facebook and Instagram require someone to start the sharing - so someone would know who they were at some point if they self published.
Arguably a snapchat group is private, in the same way that a group of people in a room or garden is private, and the person who made the information public is actually committing the offence.
And even if the people in the video did post it online, it doesn't meet the threshold of a public order offence.
When 5 people turn up at a police station and hand themselves in, I can imagine the police having to arrest them to avoid some awful PR disaster and choosing the public order act because that's a useful catch all. It's used to arrest people all the time. But they're actually charged much less often - the main aim is to arrest them for "something" and defuse a situation. As it was here.
No matter how many times he is asked Brendan O'Neill will not tell us who funds him(or for that matter, who funds Spiked). He travels the world constantly appearing at gabfests (although fortunately not on Australia's popular Q&A current affairs program anymore where a viewer revolt over the "pompous git" saw him rejected for future programs). Spiked carries no advertising.
O'Neill is handsomely paid by the loss making Oz newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's beloved The Australian which has a circulation of 300K (with many giveaways) in a country of 25 million but his main paymasters are the very creepy extreme right "think tank" the IPA which is funded by a handful of billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart with policies like a sell off everything not nailed down including public broadcasting, ditch universal healthcare, trash wage controls, trash all financial protections and so on.
Actually TF people have a choice where they live, it never ceases to amaze me why so many recent migrants attempt to cram into London when there are at least equal employment prospects in places that have better affordable, even on housing benefit, and available accommodation elsewhere. Methinks legality and black economics may be one reason, but why else?
But I think you are confusing sinful acts with criminal ones, have you become religious? There are far worse things to fret about and worse things online.
But what about Kelvin Mackenzie and his Hillsborough lies......?
Yup, time for O'Neill to appear on a TV "press preview" (aka Even More Ranting Righty Garbage).
Yeah, blame the victims. That'll work.
As for legality, leave that to the law-makers, the police and the judicial system.
There are 470 high-rise blocks around the Britain with Grenfell Tower-style cladding so, the horrific fire could have been outside of London.
One of my workmates survived a house fire and he still gets nightmares about it even though the trauma happened years ago.
Grenfell is not a subject for fans of sick jokes and alt-right solutions.
@ posts 11:22 and 12:12.
That's Del Boy "logic".
It might go down well in the Queen Vic ale house, but not where people think for themselves and prefer decency.
Who is blaming the victims, it is merely an observation on TF's remark that "tens of thousands of Londoners just about getting by, and having no alternative but to live in ageing and potentially deadly tower blocks.". There is an alternative and are all tower blocks potentially dangerous?
On the same day as this sick but probably not criminal act was reported the following occurred. I would say heap your opprobrium on his far more sinful and criminal act:
From the BBC
"A man has pleaded guilty to fraud after claiming more than £100,000 intended for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.Sharife Elouahabi, 38, of Chelsea Manor Street, south-west London, said he was living in the tower at the time of the fire in 2017.
However, an investigation revealed he had been living at another address and not at Grenfell Tower.Elouahabi will be sentenced next month following his plea at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday.
He admitted making a false representation to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, namely that he had been living in Grenfell Tower and was therefore entitled to housing.Elouahabi received support worth about £103,476 for accommodation and financial assistance between 23 June 2017 and 25 June 2018, the Metropolitan Police said.He was due to receive further resettlement payments worth £14,730 to go towards a flat and free utilities, when the fraud was discovered."
Nice chap, so far 14 people have had their collar felt over Grenfell fraud, most are migrants, some illegal. Where is the witch-hunt to have them banged up and then deported to make room for deserving people?
As you were.
Gallows humour, an old British tradition, l believe in Lewes they burn an effigy of the Pope without redress.
The actual fellow who burnt down the actual Grenfell tower has escaped all criminal and legal sanction, and has also spared the opprobrium of the media. All the illegal sub-letters have also escaped any criminal action. Numerous fraudsters, all it seems from ethnic communities, have been nabbed, without it kicking off.
But an effigy tower on a bonfire produces confected outrage . .. ...
and yet the police who claimed not to be able to deal with serious offences because of dealing with non-criminal acts get involved!
GET A GRIP!
Saying that the victims had a choice to live elsewhere is blaming the victims.
Did those who made fraudulent claims boast about it on social media networks? If they did, you have a point otherwise you don't.
Anonymous at 16:48.
You might get some traction with your racist muck if the number of fraudulent claims wasn't dwarfed by the number who died in an avoidable fire caused by deliberate, brutally-ignorant penny pinching by a morally corrupt council. To say nothing of the legalised racketeering culture that pervades London and encouraged the council mindset.
Your deliberate attempt to divert attention from the victims and the rotten politics that killed them is disgusting even by far right standards.
The first comment from jpkeates is 100% spot on. No offence was committed by whoever made the video as it was done to a private group. There is quite literally zero chance of them being found guilty (and almost zero chance of a charge being laid).
I've defended the police against the savage cuts on many, many occasions but quite frankly they don't do themselves any favours when wasting their resources on things like this. They should simply have issued a statement saying " no matter how disgusting the video was, no criminal offence was committed, if you don't like that, blame the politicians who make the laws!"
Anonymous at 17:29 - "The actual fellow who burnt down the actual Grenfell tower has escaped all criminal and legal sanction"
WTF are you on about?
Why not go the whole hog and blame the victims?
It's the tory way.
It's not for you to decide, thank goodness. The police have a duty under the 1986 Public Order Act.
All six men handed themselves in at police stations, but you reckon that they should have been shown the door. Have you considered what would happen if the police behaved like that?
Neither TF's remark about "tens of thousands of Londoners" or my reply refers to the victims, so you are wrong to say I am blaming the victims, but you insist on reading what isn't there . .. ...
Speaking of which, how on Earth am l diverting attention from victims and how is it racist muck and what are far right standards - not supporting fraudsters and somehow seen to be supporting racketeering using your logic. When the far-right call leftism a disease, I used think not, but it now seems it may be an afflication that warps the mind and stops it making objective decisions from the facts and sees things that aren't there.
Of course you don't refer to victims. That would be far too obvious.
The fact is, 71 innocent human beings were killed in the most awful circumstances. They died because the local tory council used a cladding system that was not fit for purpose and which was chosen on the grounds of its cheapness. The council was warned time after time by residents that the building was unsafe.
Your post is racist muck because virtually all the victims were people "of colour". Which makes it easy for you to strip away any conscience you may have. It is standard behaviour in an institutionally racist society.
It becomes even worse when you concentrate on a few cases of fraud. Fraud that is utterly dwarfed by the trillions of fraud sliding through the sewers of Canary Wharf and "the City", quite literally just down the road. Fraud that encourages the morally corrupt tory council in its disgusting cowardly behaviour.
But, given your posts, I don't expect you to understand any of this. Or to have a trace of conscience.
Did you post this? - "Actually TF people have a choice where they live, it never ceases to amaze me why so many recent migrants attempt to cram into London when there are at least equal employment prospects in places that have better affordable, even on housing benefit, and available accommodation elsewhere."
And this? - "Who is blaming the victims, it is merely an observation on TF's remark that "tens of thousands of Londoners just about getting by, and having no alternative but to live in ageing and potentially deadly tower blocks.". There is an alternative and are all tower blocks potentially dangerous?
The subjects of the article are the Grenfell Tower fire and a sick video.
You say that your posts don't blame the victims - Oh yes, they do.
That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And for the record I am about as anti Tory as you could possibly get.
Public Order Act is so wide ranging it is basically meaningless. Even so, their actions still did not fall foul of any part of it.
And to answer your question, I would have asked them exactly what crime they were confessing to, and when they told me what they had done, I would have expressed my utter disgust in no uncertain terms, and then shown them the door as they hadn't committed an offence.
Your post does not answer my question.
Here is my question again: Have you considered what would happen if the police behaved like that?
They might not have broken the law......but by any measure of human civilised decency they HAVE breached a moral code.
They can hide behind as much faulty law and sophistry as they like, but it won't make them any less miserable wretches.
Here is my question again: Have you considered what would happen if the police behaved like that?
The police would have come in for a load of media and social media criticism.
They have no "duty" to act in relation to the Public Order Act (or any other legislation) even if they are the enforcing authority unless the law is broken.
In order to fend off any criticism, they used a commonly selected "helpful" piece of legislation, which the CPS will later say isn't prosecutable in this case.
And it isn't. The section of the act they were charged with requires an act "with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress". As they were in private (the video was made public by someone else) the person to whom they meant to intend to cause harassment, alarm of distress would have had to be there. And the morons all seem quite happy to me.
Are you wildcat using a different username?
If you're not wildcat, he suggested that a police officer should make the following public announcement: " no matter how disgusting the video was, no criminal offence was committed, if you don't like that, blame the politicians who make the laws!"
Gonzoland, no, we are completely different people who share nothing in common other than a greater knowledge of the law than you clearly do.
Yes, obviously the police would be slated if they did as I suggested. In case you haven't noticed, they get frequently slated anyway. Doesn't mean it would be the wrong thing to do.
I'm not anybody using a different username.
I have come to the conclusion that what the police did was pretty much the best thing they could.
The people who behaved like dicks are now sitting wondering whether they'll be charged and, after a time, the CPS can make a statement along the lines suggested by wildcat (probably without the "if you don't like that" part).
There are two schools of thought about publishing these stories. One says that it teaches people not to do this kind of thing because they see there are consequences. The other says that it contributes to a shift in public acceptance because it diminishes the shock the next time and into the future.
Woo! wildcat praises himself. Care to mention where on this thread my knowledge of the law in England and Wales is at fault?
I agree, jpkeates, the police handled the situation very well.
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