By Jason Michael

There are still bodies in the burnt out shell of Grenfell tower and the Conservatives are actually laughing that they managed to keep the cap on public sector workers’ pay. What is more frustrating is that we are taking it.

Listening to the news this afternoon I hear it won’t be until the end of the year at the earliest before the number of those who died in the Grenfell tower fire will be more exactly known. Right now the police can confirm that 80 people lost their lives, but that that number is likely to rise sharply as there are “dozens” still missing. Since the night of the fire the whole of Britain has experienced something of a dénouement; after having watched on as the tangled webs of establishment malice and deceit have come undone under enraged public scrutiny.

Apart from the nightmare realities that have been exposed of gross negligence and indifference on the part of the government and the local authorities, apart from the details of flammable cladding and toxic gasses, there were accounts of heroism. One news programme featured a fireman who, during an interview, explained how his crew breached their own safety regulations by entering the building. Little of the equipment needed to support them was in place when his truck arrived on the scene, and even from a distance he and the other members of his crew knew they had no option but to enter the tower if they were to have any chance of saving lives.

Every day all over Britain women and men in our essential services make such decisions. They put their lives on the line and go further and do more than the rest of us can even imagine possible. Forget your Wonder Woman and your Superman; it is the doctors and nurses, the police, the paramedics, drivers, fire officers, and those in related services who do the real work of heroes. These are just ordinary people with lives and families of their own who do extraordinary things that really matter – that really make a difference in our society.

We would think, wouldn’t we, that in the aftermath of Grenfell – especially in light of the criticism they have come in for over this – that our politicians would be eager to show their contrition? But no, not only did the Conservatives and their supporters in Westminster vote to keep the public services pay cap in place today – they actually had the gall to break into applause when their victory was announced by the Speaker. What we have been reminded of in the past week is the significant number of Tory MPs who are landlords, and when we add to this the fact that so many public sector workers – your fire officers, nurses, and paramedics – live in the same type of social housing as Grenfell tower we are left speechless. We have seen them for what they are and they don’t care.

It is important that we consider well who these people are. We so easily fall into the trap – the trap they have set for us through our education and the media – of thinking that these people are human beings like us. They are nothing of the sort. Our Prime Minister’s husband, Philip May – knowing full well the effect the EU referendum would have on the currency markets – gambled colossal sums of his own and his clients’ money against the pound as it continued to plummet, making billions off the suffering of ordinary, hardworking people all over Britain. These are the people who have followed, almost to a man, the example of David Cameron in squirrelling vast sums away from the exchequer into offshore shell accounts and dark money ventures.

Britain’s establishment, which’s interests are represented in parliament by the Conservative Party, never loses. It doesn’t matter what the calamity is that falls on the rest of us; we are not all in this together. They will make money hand over fist at our expense and laugh – yes, roar and laugh – in our faces when they succeed in pulling another one over us in the Commons – where they make the laws that make us suffer. This is inhumane; by its very definition and etymology not human. These people are not human beings in the way that the rest of us have no choice but to be. Somewhere along the line of their inheritance and privilege they have gotten it into their heads that they are gods.

They are gods of a fashion; those celestial tyrants cast out to forever dwell among us as monsters and demons. It is never ideal to dehumanise our opponents, I am sure, but they do this themselves. Brutality and inhumanity are everywhere the tell-tale signs of their passing. As many as 300 may have been killed in Grenfell, and most of their bodies have still not been recovered. Austerity takes lives every day in every town and city of the country. They did this. This is their doing. They are still making sure that it happens, and they laugh at us because – the truth be told – we are too bloody docile to do anything about it. In this they are the more fortunate. While we wait patiently for another chance to go to the polls, while more suffer and die, they know that the moment our patience runs out it will be them who are running – quite literally – for their lives.

Listening to them laugh and cheer when they have succeeded in keeping essential services workers queuing at foodbanks and living in death-trap tower blocks sickens me. It sickens me to my stomach. It vexes me to frustration that we are still complaining about all of this and not actually doing anything about it. Never again can we take their constant terror alerts seriously, not when they have killed more people than ISIS and al-Qaeda ever could. It is high time we put our heads together and started seriously thinking of ways to rid ourselves of this excrement.


Scrap the Cap Protest: Birmingham

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