Priv­i­lege rules

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

When Theresa May was mulling over her U-turn to call a gen­eral elec­tion she clearly never gave a sec­ond thought to for­mer Tory PM Harold Macmil­lan’s fa­mous quote made over 50 years ago. In re­sponse to the ques­tion, “what do prime min­is­ters fear most?” Macmil­lan replied, “events dear boy, events”.

Since Theresa May called the gen­eral elec­tion on 18 April events have ex­posed her as po­lit­i­cally clue­less, weak, in­com­pe­tent, out-of-touch and to­tally out of her depth. Her de­ci­sion to dodge ex­po­sure to the elec­torate in the elec­tion cam­paign was rightly crit­i­cised by po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, the me­dia and the pub­lic and helped con­trib­ute to her los­ing her Tory ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment. How­ever, that po­lit­i­cal mis­judg­ment pales into in­signif­i­cance when mea­sured against her ac­tions fol­low­ing the hor­rific tower block fire in Lon­don. Other politi­cians met an­gry res­i­dents who lost rel­a­tives and friends. They looked into the eyes of peo­ple who have been made homeless and heard of their warn­ings and con­cerns about the safety of their tower block. How­ever, our hap­less Prime Min­is­ter did not.

Let us not for­get that this is the woman who said, on en­ter­ing Num­ber 10 less than a year ago, that “it was her mis­sion to make Britain a coun­try that works for ev­ery­one”.

Whose in­ter­ests does the Prime Min­is­ter think is best served by a pub­lic en­quiry into the fire and not in­quests into the deaths? What choice and con­trol do peo­ple have over their hous­ing needs when tory govern­ments since Thatcher in 1979 have pri­va­tised so­cial hous­ing and re­laxed reg­u­la­tion in favour of pri­vate land­lords? And in whose in­ter­ests is the Tory pol­icy of aus­ter­ity? In pol­i­tics ac­tions speak louder than words and con­trary to her Down­ing Street procla­ma­tion she and her Tory govern­ment have shown that they are only in­ter­ested in mak­ing Britain a coun­try that works for the priv­i­leged few.

BRIAN WEDDELL Dol­ph­ing stone View, Pre­ston­pans

The many calls for “sprin­klers in all flats” in re­sponse to the Gren­fell Tower dis­as­ter is one of many side is­sues to this tragedy which are di­vert­ing at­ten­tion away from the cen­tral is­sue, of why fire con­trol bar­ri­ers were not fit­ted in the newly cre­ated ex­ter­nal wall cav­i­ties as an in­te­gral part of the new cladding sys­tem. The omis­sion of those bar­ri­ers, to keep flames from roar­ing up and along the cav­i­ties which now sur­rounded the build­ing, is such an im­por­tant fac­tor that, to any­one with the most ba­sic knowl­edge of build­ing con­struc­tion, that is far and away the most cen­tral is­sue to the whole tragedy.

The ques­tions which must be ur­gently asked re­gard­ing all mod­ernised tower blocks have to con­cen­trate around that ma­jor is­sue, first and fore­most. Sprin­klers and alarm sys­tems may well be de­sir­able, but an un­re­stricted cav­ity around such a build­ing is a sui­cide belt wait­ing to be det­o­nated.

IRVINE INGLIS Re­ston, Ber­wick­shire

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.