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By Jason Michael
What would be the harm in the government and the media rephrasing their refrain from “thirty confirmed dead” to “more than a hundred feared dead?” It’s in the numbers. The bigger the number the faster the government falls.
All day I have spent watching the social media updates of volunteers and volunteer organisations at the scene of the Grenfell tower disaster, and everywhere the same question is being asked: How many have really died? People are angry and frustrated, no less that this catastrophe happened in the first place, with the media repeating the same inanity; “thirty confirmed dead.” Somewhere in the region of 70 to 150 people are still unaccounted for – missing. No one on the streets of north Kensington wants to say it or think it, but everyone knows what “missing” means.
Idea that around 150 have died in Grenfell Tower fire just raised by Lily Allen on C4 News and not denied by Jon Snow. Catastrophic if true—
Harry Taylor (@HTaylor_KHFC) June 15, 2017
Watching Lily Allen’s interview with Jon Snow on the Channel 4 News it was impossible not to feel that sense of nervous anxiety. She said what she was hearing on the street, from her friends and neighbours, that many, many more people had died, and that the media was refusing to tell people. Of course Jon Snow was right, there has to be a thorough search before exact numbers can be known. But this is not what Ms Allen was saying. She was angry, having broken down in another interview, that the numbers were being muted. Why “confirmed dead” and not “up to a hundred feared dead?”
In a “regeneration” refurbishment the Grenfell tower was, as we all know, fitted with a hazardous fire accelerating exterior cladding that greatly contributed to the speed the inferno spread up and around the entire building. More than this, the internal gas lines were fitted all the way up the emergency stairwell. Grenfell tower was primed to ignite and burn at breakneck speed – as it did – killing as many people as it possible could – and quite evidently it did a damn good job of that. Long after people stopped emerging from the ground floor exit dozens of people were still shouting from the windows on the upper floors. One witness told of how he saw a child in flames shouting for help. Everyone had been told to remain in their homes in the event of a fire.
Those who are missing – “unaccounted for” – are dead. Families and friends need closure. It is verging on the criminal of the government and the media to withhold this from them. In this case, especially in this case, no news is not good news. All of this is bad news. It doesn’t need sugar coated, but, then, that’s not what the media is doing. It is deliberately running with the smaller, “confirmed,” number because this is the sort of bad news that topples governments – and Theresa May’s government is hanging on by a thread. The truth will out. May knows this and so does her party’s pals in the media. That is precisely why they are slowing this down as much as they can. They are hoping the public’s attention wanders off.
Lily Allen Interview (C4N) (Jon Snow)