How will this become Tory Austerity?

More than 1,000 fire doors have been found to be missing from a number of tower blocks, which were evacuated over ‘safety fears’ following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Camden Council announced on Friday evening that more than 800 households had been told to temporarily leave their homes to allow ‘urgent fire safety works’ to take place.

It’ll be interesting to see the twists and turns which make it so. But do not doubt that it will become so.

35 comments on “How will this become Tory Austerity?

  1. “Are the inhabitants stealing them?!”

    They have to make their placards out of something!

  2. Here’s how: fire doors have a second-hand value of £75, so of course residents hard-pressed under austerity and desperate to feed themselves often felt they had no choice but to remove and sell them while the local authority, for its part, lacks the resources to inspect the properties to ensure this is not happening. But, says Des Umbungo-Sloane of the Local Government Association, “Even if local authorities had the resources to check, they certainly would not be able to afford to replace the doors”.

    Then the Tories will agree, apologise, mumble something about ‘lessons learned’ and just about everyone will pretend that this theatre has meaning.

  3. Fire doors aren’t much use when the green insulation has turned the exterior of the building into a flaming torch.

  4. I like the idea that a canny resident, possibly wearing a hi-vis jacket for added authenticity, diligently unscrewed 1,000 sets of hinges and carried away 1,000 doors in his van over a period of several months. When questioned, he ironically told people that the fire doors were too heavy and would prevent elderly residents evacuating in an emergency,

    But the more likely, more banal truth is that the doors that were installed aren’t sufficiently fire-proof by today’s standards.

  5. John McDonald and Owen Jones will no doubt opine on the matter of fire doors eh? – and the BBC will “report” it…

    I wonder if there’s enough identifiable door parts in the burnt out block to see how many were removed there?

    I won’t hold my breath….

    Edward Lud seems closest atm. Heavens above! – we couldn’t accuse all councils of being incompetent self serving gits – could we? I still wonder at the KCTMO -CEO’s salary vs. his professional provenance….

  6. “Perhaps the residents used the fire doors to have open fires in their flats to cook their traditional meals.?”

    Bushmeat or camel kebabs all round!

    A friend once let a house in Colchester to a Nigerian family, who used the banister and kitchen cupboard doors as fuel. They did so much damage that he sold the place to a developer ‘as found’.

  7. Of interest. https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmenvtra/109/10902.htm

    After the fire on the outside of the high rise in Scotland in 1999 that led to Scottish building regulations being tightened, the information was passed to Westminster, and the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs produced the above report in 2000. The recommendations included the following – which Camden amongst other obviously ignored.

    “We recommend that DETR and the Housing Corporation instruct local authorities and Registered Social Landlords to undertake a review of their existing building stock with a view to ascertaining how many multi-storey buildings are currently using external cladding systems; and how many cladding systems are in use which, whilst complying with the regulations in force at the time when they were installed, do not comply with current Regulations. Competent fire safety assessors should then be called in to evaluate what work may be necessary to ensure that no undue risk is posed by any of these systems, with particular reference to the lessons learnt from the fires at Knowsley Heights and Garnock Court. Local authorities and Registered Social Landlords should also be instructed to monitor existing cladding systems carefully to ensure that the materials from which they are constructed do not degrade over time and become less resistant to flame spread than they were at the time of construction (paragraph 22).”

  8. “A friend once let a house in Colchester to a Nigerian family, who used the banister and kitchen cupboard doors as fuel. They did so much damage that he sold the place to a developer ‘as found’.”

    I’ve heard similar stories about apartments in Geneva being let to diplomatic types that have to be gutted afterwards cos they’ve lit fires in the middle of the living room floor, smoke damaging absolutely everything.

  9. I don’t think they need any logical argument at this stage. Just claim it is so, and the BBC and Sky, who seem to have decided a Corbyn government would be a bit of a giggle, will lap it up.

  10. 1,000 missing fire doors and no one noticed!
    Labour wants to “own” this scandal. Let them have it. It will turn round and bite them on the bum, hard.

  11. Josephine,

    What we need to know is whether or not they were instructed as recommended. If not why not and if they were than why didn’t they act.

  12. Theophrastus,

    “Are the inhabitants stealing them?!”

    They have to make their placards out of something!

    Schoolboy error number 1. Thinking the sort of people out with placards live in council flats. They either live with mummy and daddy or in a private rental somewhere trendy.

    Judging by the reports around the dead in Grenfall Tower, most of those living in London council housing are either foreign-born, elderly, children or apparently not officially registered to live in the UK. Not actually the normal demographics for placard waving (although it is an interesting question as to how we ended up in this situation).

  13. Watchman,

    > They either live with mummy and daddy or in a private rental somewhere trendy.

    They live in a trendy private rental, paid for by mummy and daddy.

  14. Theophrastus 6:36

    No expense spared on the printing there then… every page… A Kindle edition too … that was inspired.

    Possibly outstripped by the 7000 page “The Norwegian Book of Humor”

  15. Utterly off topic:

    In this article we account for the way plants respond to salient features of their environment under the free-energy principle for biological systems. Biological self-organization amounts to the minimization of surprise over time. We posit that any self-organizing system must embody a generative model whose predictions ensure that (expected) free energy is minimized through action. Plants respond in a fast, and yet coordinated manner, to environmental contingencies. They pro-actively sample their local environment to elicit information with an adaptive value. Our main thesis is that plant behaviour takes place by way of a process (active inference) that predicts the environmental sources of sensory stimulation. This principle, we argue, endows plants with a form of perception that underwrites purposeful, anticipatory behaviour. The aim of the article is to assess the prospects of a radical predictive processing story that would follow naturally from the free-energy principle for biological systems; an approach that may ultimately bear upon our understanding of life and cognition more broadly.

  16. John Band was quick to claim that Kensington and Chelsea showed the bad results of Outsourcing… Has he commented on this? Will he? Not holding my breath. He makes Polly and Richie seem like intellectual titans

  17. This old stuff to us in the Canadian colony.

    Our Indians, or aborigines, or whatever, live in government built homes provided for free.

    Every year or two there is a “scandal” because some Indian band calls in the camera toting media to show the horrible conditions in which they have forced themselves to live by beating the living shit out of nice houses in about 5 years. It’s our damn white man fault of course.

    Then we stupid Canadian taxpayers build them nice new houses to destroy.

    Here’s a nice sampling of small houses that once were quite nice.
    http://tinyurl.com/yaxock4p

    Oh, and they burn themselves to death quite regularly too, of course.

  18. The fire doors are actually useful even when the outside of the building is acting like a green candle. They enable the residents to escape via internal stairways by isolating the emergency escape routes from fire for a s long as possible.

    A long time ago I was involved with a company making fire doors, fibrous plaster and rather heavy, but the testing showed them resisting a simulated fire for a long time and it was usually the walls and door frame that went first. Sadly cheap imports of inferior products killed the business, political lobbying got the standards reduced to a level that the cheap stuff could meet, just, so no incentive to fit good fire doors.

  19. I’m intrigued how the Establishment will get themselves out of this Grenfell mess, because its pretty much symptomatic of how everything works nowadays – there is the paper version of what is happening, and the real version and the two do not always match, especially in the State sector.

    The private sector have to be a bit more careful because a) by and large the complicated stuff (manufacturing, transport, resource extraction, etc etc) is in private hands and errors are a bit more likely to kill people in obvious ways, and b) the State will always be seeking corporate blood when a private company fucks up. So private businesses tend to be a bit more careful on the whole ‘will this kill people’ front.

    Whereas in the State sector they have less connection to reality. The paperwork file IS reality for most State bodies, and has been for years. The days of the State having experienced people who can make judgements based on knowledge are long gone, replaced by a tick box system, policed by well meaning idiots. And Grenfell is a logical conclusion of that attitude. If you had asked anyone in K&C council a month ago about the fire safety status of Grenfell, someone would have inspected the file and given you the green light. Yet the reality was different.

    This case goes to the very heart of how you organise complicated stuff in mass population societies – the question is dare they admit that the approach of the last 20-30 years has been utterly wrong, across the board?

  20. Jim:

    “In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice, they are not.”

    -Yogi Berra, baseball player and destroyer of one of the bases of socialist thought.

  21. Jim,

    “The private sector have to be a bit more careful because a) by and large the complicated stuff (manufacturing, transport, resource extraction, etc etc) is in private hands and errors are a bit more likely to kill people in obvious ways, and b) the State will always be seeking corporate blood when a private company fucks up. So private businesses tend to be a bit more careful on the whole ‘will this kill people’ front.”

    It’s also that it typically means that the reputation that you’ve spent decades building up is destroyed.

    The problem with the state is that no-one has that level of personal investment. Did those people running Mid Staffs create it with their own money? Spend years of long nights building it up? Own shares in it? So, when it failed, what’s the worst that happened? Lost their jobs (but of course, never with disgrace, just quietly leave, to be employed elsewhere), kept their pensions.

  22. “It’s also that it typically means that the reputation that you’ve spent decades building up is destroyed.”

    Precisely, killing your customers is (unsurprisingly) bad for business. Whereas killing your customers in the State sector is a sort of thing to be avoid if possible, but not the worse thing that could happen – that would be the outright abolition of your department.

    Perhaps we need a version of the Roman decimation – if a State body fucks up (someone dies/criminal behaviour is found) then the top management are immediately canned, no pension, plus 1 in 10 of the rest are also canned by lot, but keep pensions.

    This might focus the mind a bit.

  23. Those evacuated from the Chalcots estate in Camden qualify for £20/day per person until they can return. Plus rent, council tax, and reasonable hotel expenses up to £200/night. Generous package compared to those homeless during the Cumbrian floods, but people are at risk of death rather than being damp so maybe there’s a case for the extra generosity.
    What are the consequences of this though? One guy has been claiming a single person discount on his council tax account is declaring that there are 4 people residing in his flat, and he hadn’t got round to informing the council of the 3 newbies yet. Could be genuine, just no way of knowing yet.

  24. Jim,

    “Precisely, killing your customers is (unsurprisingly) bad for business. Whereas killing your customers in the State sector is a sort of thing to be avoid if possible…”

    Only if you can’t find an angle to blame the Tories.

    Bongo,

    The poor saps on the Somerset Levels got SFA by comparison even though their plight was caused by commission rather than omission.

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