GRENFELL: A SYMPTON AS WELL AS A TRAGEDY.

Every morning another piece of damaging evidence falls from the crumbling edifice of a burnt out UK government. The utter tragedy of Grenfell provides direct links back to policies  emblematic of an administration which has presided over - as we learned this weekend - an unprecedented level of social inequality.  The Resolution Foundation's most startling research statistic - that 1 per cent of the population now owns 15 per cent of this country's assets (multiple trillions) is as damning as their report that those on the bottom rungs of this carelessly constructed ladder may have no assets to speak of at all, though probably unsustainable personal debts.

The starving of council funds underpinned the cutbacks in essential checks on fire and building regulations, not to mention the cavalier manner in which successive reports on earlier tragedies had their recommendations ignored. Thus no sprinkler systems of the kind deemed essential in new builds, and the quite awful suggestions that cheaper materials with inflammable inserts were chosen over the slightly more expensive, safer variety, or that corners were cut resulting in a lack of firebreaks, and communal alarms. Doubtless the forensic examination by police and fire authorities of both the destroyed and relatively unscathed parts of the building will provide the truth of these allegations.  But the notion that their work will remain unpublished until the end of an inquest which could take years must be immediately rejected.  The very least the bereaved and newly homeless deserve are the fullest possible answers in the quickest possible time.

Let's consider too the social cleansing which resulted from caps on housing benefit meaning  the poor being shippped out of London, sometime hundreds of miles from friends, family and schools. But no cap, of course, on the level of rents which could be charged by ever more rapacious landlords. And no hysteria over immigration where the migrants in question bought up and then mothballed streets full of prestigious properties in the capital perhaps in order to launder dubiously acquired funds.

The push for "a bonfire of red tape" allegedly strangling business growth, but often there as a necessary safeguard for the welfare of workforces and residents.  And of course the stout defence of zero hours contracts leading to the absence of the fiscal security necessary to acquire any kind of mortgage. The Grenfell tragedy revealed a remarkably diverse community living together in circumstances about which they had fruitlessly complained to the management company to whom the council had outsourced all responsibility. A company which, obviously, could not be voted out by disgurntled voters if they screwed up.  (You can't help wondering if the council reponse might have been more appropriate had the residents in question had all been white and of English origin.)

The consummate irony of these lives being lost in the most appalling way in the richest borough in London merely serves to remind us of the selective blindness of those who live a couple of bus stops from improverished neighbours, but whose weekly shopping dilemma consists of fretting about the unacceptable price rise in avocados.  The fact that the area has just voted in its first ever Labour MP suggests that the level of unrest in a constituency where locals appear to exist on two entirely different planets has grown exponentially.

And then there is the Prime Minister.  Her brief appearances at non stage managed events during the election gave us glimpses of a woman deeply uncomfortable in any circumstances not tightly controlled and scripted, and incapable of responding in a spontaneous manner to anything unpredictable.  Hardly the the strong, stable presence to whom you would want to entrust the future of the UK nations during Brexit negotiations. But her totally inability to behave  in a normal human manner when disaster arrived on her doorstep, spooked not just electors but those in her own party who had decided that their best bet was to allow her to limp on until more propitious political times arrrived and an heir apparent could be identified.  It's coming to something when the unelected monarch as more of a common touch.

The Conservatives are nothing if not ruthless, and you might be sure they would have no compunction about stabbing her in the front should their own MP's futurres be put at any risk. Let us just pray they don't imagine party advantage would lie in the hands of that self obsessed, terminally lazy,  perennial stranger to the truth, Boris Johnson, the man who, as mayor, presided over cuts in the fire service in both numbers and resources and then had the gall to suggest that somehow made Londoners safer. As Foreign Secretary he is a European laughing stock. As Prime Minister he would be a total disaster.

Many things have been written about the 2017 election, mostly by the people who got the result so spectacularly wrong. But what a series of unforeseen catastrophes over the last month has taught us is that it is in the people, our communities, our common humanity that salvation lies.  

Those politicians who have forgotten that, or never took the trouble to learn about it may live to rue their indifference.