The Grenfell Tower Fire

hunck

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Yes, crass & appallingly bad taste but not a crime. Or a 'hate crime'.

You have to wonder though about the mentality of people who

1. Make the model in the first place
2. video the burning, clearly identifying at least one of them, with comments
3. then post it to social media

What sort of reaction were they expecting?
 

Quake42

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Yes, crass & appallingly bad taste but not a crime. Or a 'hate crime'.

You have to wonder though about the mentality of people who

1. Make the model in the first place
2. video the burning, clearly identifying at least one of them, with comments
3. then post it to social media

What sort of reaction were they expecting?
Apparently a video had been shared to WhatsApp group and then someone else from that group posted it on social media.

But, as everyone who has commented so far seems to agree, being an arsehole isn’t and shouldn’t be a crime. Nor do we need the police acting as arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable in a private gathering where no crime has been committed. If you want morality police go to Iran...
 

AnonyJoolz

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I agree, the sensible and correct reaction would be to take the moral high ground and educate the people who could've thought this was 'funny' in any way, not criminalise them.

Showing them around the ruin of Grenfell might be a start. Introducing them to survivors might be another move.

In fact, the whole tragedy unmasks a level of ignorance around 'social housing' that is astonishing!

Affordable housing is a hobbyhorse of mine, and I ride it regularly, but the main points of ignorance addressed:

1. Not all people living in what are seen as 'council flats' are council tenants. Many properties have been bought, sold, re-sold and rented out again privately. Therefore people (even brown people!) may actually be home-owners or private tenants. Many perceptions of 'foreigners' getting preferential access to social housing are actually down to them renting ex-council houses from landlords as the rents are usually cheaper.

2. The initially confusing number of victims reflected the housing mix - private landlords and homeowners are not required to submit the number of occupants to any official body. Unless homes are inspected if concerns about overcrowding have been reported to the local council, the authorities just don't know.

3. If people living there had no immigration status or were overstayers then they, again, would not been living in any council-owned flats as by definition, no-one who's an illegal immigrant can access any government housing or welfare services.

4. Not everyone living in social housing is unemployed. Most are either working, retired, disabled and/or carers (in my experience). With regard to Grenfell, the range of people who were killed reflects the demographic of inner London fairly well.

5. Those registered with the Home Office as seeking asylum are not given luxury accommodation. At the most it's basic housing, with basic furnishing and basic utilities provided. There is an allowance paid while the case is pending to cover subsistence (food, clothes and transport). If refugee status is conferred, then their rights to access services is on a par with those with ILR (indefinite leave to remain). ILR can be revoked if a serious criminal offence is committed.

I can't, and won't go into the whys and wherefores, but on these topics I flippin' well do know what I'm talking about!
 

maximus otter

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maximus otter

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3. If people living there had no immigration status or were overstayers then they, again, would not been living in any council-owned flats as by definition, no-one who's an illegal immigrant can access any government housing or welfare services.
“Illegal immigrants who survived Grenfell given path to permanent residency.”

https://metro.co.uk/2017/10/11/ille...h-to-permanent-residency-6994077/?ito=cbshare

“...there does appear to be some firm evidence to support those who claim that the death toll is considerably higher than the authorities are prepared to admit.

Either those who are unaccounted for are presumed dead, but not yet included in the total number of deceased, or they have vanished ‘into the community’ because they are worried about their immigration status.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/...d-questions-no-one-answer-Grenfell-Tower.html

maximus otter
 

Quake42

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“Illegal immigrants who survived Grenfell given path to permanent residency.”

https://metro.co.uk/2017/10/11/ille...h-to-permanent-residency-6994077/?ito=cbshare

“...there does appear to be some firm evidence to support those who claim that the death toll is considerably higher than the authorities are prepared to admit.

Either those who are unaccounted for are presumed dead, but not yet included in the total number of deceased, or they have vanished ‘into the community’ because they are worried about their immigration status.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/...d-questions-no-one-answer-Grenfell-Tower.html

maximus otter
Those who did not have a right to residency were almost certainly subletting their flats from the official tenants. This is a major issue in social housing and it’s clear neither the council nor anyone else knew who was living in the tower.
 

Mikefule

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I wondered if this would come up in this forum.

I think it's important to break down what happened into bite sized chunks for consideration:

1) Some people, privately, did something crass and distasteful for their own amusement. That is not a crime. Elsewhere in the country, some people burned effigies of a Roman Catholic freedom fighter/terrorist (you decide) who was tortured and executed in a most horrible way, and that is a national tradition.

2) Someone filmed it. That was not an offence in itself, as far as I am aware.

3) The film was shared to a private Whats App group. I cannot yet see anything warranting police action, but we're getting closer.

4) The film was then shared more publicly. Here we need to consider a couple of things:

a) There is an offence of "outraging public decency". This applies if someone urinates on a war memorial or has sex in public. I think publishing a film of people mocking the fairly recent tragic deaths of 72 people could reasonably fall within this definition.

b) If there was any identifiable racist element to the chanting and cheering (and I have NOT seen this in the reports) then it may constitute a hate crime. A hate crime is any action designed to cause harassment, alarm or distress (or, of course, injury) to people on the basis of their characteristics: race, religion, sexuality, etc.

So, if just one of the people concerned used a racist epithet which is audible in the film that was shared, then "hate crime" is a possibility to consider. If not, then it was, at best, crass bad taste and, at worst, an outrage to public decency.

Personally, I feel that the label "hate crime", although useful in some contexts, is over used. The law was brought in to make "hate crime" an aggravating factor in sentencing. If you beat a stranger up in the street, that is an offence. If you do so specifically because he is black/gay/Jewish (etc.) then your actions cause fear and distress disproportionately to a large part of the black/gay/Jewish (etc.) community and this should reasonably be taken into account when sentencing.

However, it does not make every silly case of "normal bad behaviour" worthy of a high profile police investigation. In Nottingham, they have been recording "wolf whistling" as a hate crime against women. No it isn't. It's tedious, irritating, hideously outdated, and thoroughly bad manners, but at the level of a whistle or a "Hello darlin'" it should be dealt with using normal social skills, not police involvement.
 
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Peripart

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They showed it on WhatsApp and it then found its way to other social media. It wasn't supposed to go viral. Stupid, ignorant, racist idiots.
Quite right, but if being any or all of those things were to be made a criminal offence, the courts would need to be working around the clock. On the plus side, our town centres would be lot more pleasant, especially at night!
 

Quake42

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Quite right, but if being any or all of those things were to be made a criminal offence, the courts would need to be working around the clock. On the plus side, our town centres would be lot more pleasant, especially at night!
Well yes, but only because 70%+ of the population would be in a gulag.

I’ll take some discourteous behaviour and bad taste jokes over a police state. Any day of the week.
 

Peripart

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Well yes, but only because 70%+ of the population would be in a gulag.
Yes, that's what I meant!

But I agree with you - if the liberties we take for granted mean that people are occasionally able to do something that I find offensive, I accept that price.

We had the discussion a few months back about police recording "non-crime hate incidents", and I still think that social pressure, not policing, is the preferable way to change this sort of behaviour.
 

Quake42

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Yes, that's what I meant!

But I agree with you - if the liberties we take for granted mean that people are occasionally able to do something that I find offensive, I accept that price.

We had the discussion a few months back about police recording "non-crime hate incidents", and I still think that social pressure, not policing, is the preferable way to change this sort of behaviour.
Agreed. It also makes the constant police complaints about lack of resource ring hollow when they positively encourage the reporting of non-crimes purely due to the rather amorphous concept of “hate”.
 

AnonyJoolz

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“Illegal immigrants who survived Grenfell given path to permanent residency.”

https://metro.co.uk/2017/10/11/ille...h-to-permanent-residency-6994077/?ito=cbshare
Because they have now come to the attention of the government in the wake of this awful fire; HMG can either waive rules or remove them from the UK, at the government's discretion subject to legal process. It looks like the Home Office may give some kind of discretionary route to DLR or ILR for some of the survivors.

“...there does appear to be some firm evidence to support those who claim that the death toll is considerably higher than the authorities are prepared to admit.

Either those who are unaccounted for are presumed dead, but not yet included in the total number of deceased, or they have vanished ‘into the community’ because they are worried about their immigration status.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/...d-questions-no-one-answer-Grenfell-Tower.html

maximus otter
Very probably, if there were transient and/or undocumented workers resident in the tower, renting from private landlords or council tenants sub-letting to others.

Many council/housing association tenancy agreements can allow subletting, subject to certain conditions. It varies from social landlord to social landlord. If unscrupulous tenants choose to illegally sublet then it can lead to confusion in situations like this.


Those who did not have a right to residency were almost certainly subletting their flats from the official tenants. This is a major issue in social housing and it’s clear neither the council nor anyone else knew who was living in the tower.
..or from private landlords, or lodging in privately-owned flats. Most social housing these days is a mixture of tenure. Since the 'right to buy' policy was introduced in the early 1980s some estates/whole streets are almost totally privately-owned.
 
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stu neville

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Very probably, if there were transient and/or undocumented workers resident in the tower, renting from private landlords or council tenants sub-letting to others.
Absolutely - to quote myself from last year (I worked in Housing until the late 90s) :
Sub-letting is a massive issue for any landlord, especially social ones. Worst I ever saw (mid-90s) was a three bed semi, ostensibly let to a family of five, which actually had 20-25 people living in it, all illegals, each paying around £50 a week to live there. Over a grand a week to the official tenant, who paid (IIRC) £75 a week rent. This was a Housing Assoc property by the way: they tend to have more isolated properties in otherwise mixed-ownership areas. Council properties are better policed than that, so whilst sub-letting still happens a lot it's less about overcrowding and more about tenancy conditions.
I saw one and two bed flats with ten or fifteen people living in them in a shift pattern so it's not at all impossible that the toll is double the official estimate.
 

McAvennie

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With regard to personal data, where does the law stand on someone publicly sharing content that had been shared within a closed and private group.

Could the person who shared the content in a WhatsApp group theoretically sue the person who took that content and shared it on a public forum (assuming it was done without the consent of the person who initially shared the video)?
 
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With regard to personal data, where does the law stand on someone publicly sharing content that had been shared within a closed and private group.

Could the person who shared the content in a WhatsApp group theoretically sue the person who took that content and shared it on a public forum (assuming it was done without the consent of the person who initially shared the video)?
I've seen many cases of info being leaked from WhatsApp groups but I haven't heard of any legal action being taken. Usually the parties involved don't want to attract more attention to themselves.
 

escargot

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I've seen many cases of info being leaked from WhatsApp groups but I haven't heard of any legal action being taken. Usually the parties involved don't want to attract more attention to themselves.
I'm a member of a Whatsapp group at work where people post about the job. I rarely post as I don't know who all the other people are, but nobody else seems bothered. If management got wind of half of what's on it there'd be trouble.

My phone automatically saves WhatsApp photos and videos so I can see how a dodgy thing could get out. Once it's sent it's out there.
 

stu neville

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A good friend who's a long time journo always says "treat every mike as live, every camera as on, and remember all ears have a mouth between them." It's the unguarded moments that bring people down (though there are those that seem to be disproving this maxim thus far, it may all just be accumulating into an avalanche of shit for them. Which is a cheering thought.)
 

Megadeth1977

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I was watching the news on itv it's looks there trying to blame the firebrgrade claims that they did not turn of the gas for 24h after the fire and electricity.it smells like smear campaign to me.
 

Quake42

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I was watching the news on itv it's looks there trying to blame the firebrgrade claims that they did not turn of the gas for 24h after the fire and electricity.it smells like smear campaign to me.
No doubt the emergency services did some things wrong. For example, failing to evacuate quickly as they were following the manual which decreed that tower block fires are contained in individual flats, even when it was abundantly clear this hadn’t happened in this case.

Questioning decisions taken that night in no way detracts from the bravery of individual firefighters on that day. But we need to be able to ask hard questions about what occurred. It’s the same sentimentally about OUR NHS that prevents poor practice in the health service being challenged.
 

George_millett

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I was going to have a comment with this article but everything I came up with was just a little to flippant.


Grenfell cladding firm: 'fire could have been put out with simple extinguisher'


Arconic tells public inquiry that other materials were responsible for spread of the fire

The manufacturer of the combustible panels wrapped around Grenfell Tower has claimed other materials were responsible for spreading the fire that claimed 72 lives and said it could have been put out with a handheld fire extinguisher.

Arconic, which made the Reynobond aluminium composite panels which were filled with plastic that burned with an intensity that has been compared to petrol, made a combative closing statement, claiming that it was possible no one would have died if other aspects of the refurbishment had been different.

From next Friday, use of combustible ACM panels such as the Reynobond PE 55 material that was used on Grenfell Tower will be banned on residential and school buildings above 18 metres high. ACM panels were being stripped from 457 high-rise buildings across England, where they have been found to be in use. But Stephen Hockman QC, counsel for the US industrial firm, said it was “impossible to argue that ACM PE was non-compliant” with building regulations.

The performance of the uPVC windows in the fourth floor flat where the fire started, the synthetic insulation and other decorative cladding panels across the rest of the building were effectively responsible for spreading the fire, he said.

The fire rose 20 storeys in just 35 minutes to engulf the full height of the tower on 14 June 2017. The inquiry has heard expert evidence that the flames spread through the cladding system and had been fuelled by the highly combustible panels.

Arconic argued that the tragedy at Grenfell was not the result of its panels, but the combination of materials used in the 2016 £10m refurbishment, singling out the plastic window frames through which the fire was believed to have first spread from flat 16 into the cladding system.

Hockman told the inquiry chairman, Sir Martin-Moore Bick: “If the refurbishment of the interior window surrounds and the external envelope of the building had been carried out in a different way, it would have been possible for the firefighters to extinguish the fire in flat 16 before the fire even reached the cladding system.”
More at the link.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Reading that article it seems there is a mass of arse-covering going on - hopefully the enquiry can cut through that and get to the truth.
Hope on. The 2nd anniversary hasn't seen any conclusion to the enquiry (and, as a betting man, I doubt if the 3rd anniversary will).
This is an enormously complex case and I expect the ultimate declaration of culpability to be spread very wide.
This may not be what the bereaved are seeking but, let's face it, there cannot be just one scapegoat for something of this enormity.

The basic 1960s/1970s design of these tower blocks was a disaster waiting to happen.

The insulating cladding should have been more fire-resistant.

The dodgy Hotpoint/Indesit/Whirlpool kitchen appliances have caused many fires.

The local fire brigade should have had proper access and the technology to tackle fires in high-rise buildings.

The instructions to residents to stay put, rather than evacuate, was catastrophic.

I get the impression though that activists are looking for a single whipping-boy in this tragic case.

That isn't going to happen.

There were multiple points of failure here.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The long-awaited enquiry has been particularly damning about the Fire Brigade's instructions to stay put, rather than evacuate. Unsurprisingly, many of the bereaved are calling for LFB Commissioner Danielle Cotton, who infamously declared she would have done nothing differently on the night of 14th June 2017, to resign.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50230188
 

OneWingedBird

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I think it's time to repost this from the first page of the thread, a prediction made by the Grenfell residents 7 months prior to the fire.

Seems fairly obvious who they consider to be responsible.

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.

Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation. We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes.
 

Tribble

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Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry "must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies", with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing "serious questions".

Hopefully they'll also question the wisdom of closing fire stations and laying off fire crews as part of the bigger picture of long-term fire safety.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Can't help commenting on the irony (of the pots and kettles brand) of rapper Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo (aka. "Stormzy") coming over all righteous and branding Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg "an actual piece of shit" who should resign, for saying it is common sense to evacuate a building that's on fire.

This is the same rapper who is on record referring to gay people as "f*cking fags" :

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/nov/22/stormzy-apologises-for-unearthed-homophobic-tweets

and whose vile lyrics glorify gun-crime and knifings ("Yeah, yo / Call me Gunshot Mike or Mr Skeng ").

Personally, I feel Rees-Mogg should have left Grenfell well alone. Some subjects are understandably so sensitive that you're forever treading on eggshells, but being criticised by the likes of "Stormzy" just goes beyond irony!
 
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Mythopoeika

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Personally, I feel Rees-Mogg should have left Grenfell well alone. Some subjects are understandably so sensitive that you're forever treading on eggshells, but being criticised by the likes of "Stormzy" just goes beyond irony!
Mr R-M said what many people think and gets told off for having the nerve to come out and actually say it. It's a very touchy subject.
 
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