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