Saturday 17 June 2017

#198 Controlling the situation

Apparently the Prime Minister decided not to visit the Grenfell Tower fire victims on Thursday afternoon owing to security concerns. The decision predictably stirred up some already narky members of the public, who tossed around insults like "coward", "murderer" and "Weetab****". Ok I made that last one up.

Ironically, the attitudes of those making the remarks actually support May's fears that a) many people don't want to see her anyway and b) there's a real risk that anger over the incident could be directed at her. Possibly even physically. If it were Arnie or Putin then no problem but Theresa doesn't look like the kind of leader who can take a punch.

It's unfortunate that her TV appearances don't include any emotional engagement. She remains as guarded mentally as she is physically. A destructible, yet inflexible machine-stitched doll, complete with a range of prerecorded messages. Still, she's capable of reciting positive statements and is willing to give interviews, despite knowing that the questions will be tricky.

I got asked to write a post on my reaction to the tragedy for another blog and couldn't help but observe that we first created fire more than a million years ago and yet we still haven't completely mastered it.

Is that true?

Is it the fire we haven't mastered? Or is it something else? We can, almost all of us, create fire at will. My poor parents found that out when I was very young and they left me alone for several minutes with the sofa and a box of matches. What's more, there has never been a man-made fire which humanity has failed to eventually extinguish. So what's the answer? Better hoses?

What about our own behaviour? Now we're getting somewhere and at the same time, we're getting nowhere fast. In those million years, or at least the most recent ones, we've been able to do remarkable things with fire. We've powered steam engines. Lit the streets. Cooked meat. What've we done with human nature? Has it improved? I like to think it has. We're less violent. We might even be happier. We're still pretty darn careless though.

Disasters won't stop happening just because there's a change in government or a change in the law. It might be of some help in specific cases but ultimately we are a careless species. What this means is, it isn't just the government's responsibility to ensure we live safely. It's yours and mine and everyone else's. Did you visit Grenfell Tower when you heard the news? Did I?


Running on empty said...

Do you think you might? What are the ethics of that?

Profound Familiarity said...

I hear no more donations or volunteers are needed.

The ethics of what?

Running on empty said...

Yes, best not to go unless you can help, I guess.

Fizzfan said...

The reason for the anger was because she's accepted a position of 'leader' of our country. When disaster strikes it follows that she be amongst the victims, relating to them, offering reassurance and support.
She ought to have been the 'people's' voice. Instead it was left to public volunteers who rallied and showed they have real concern and more to point, hearts.
To choose not to do that is cowardly and just incited anger and resentment from those suffering from heart wrenching grief.
If you can't fill the shoes don't accept the role.
As far as controlling fire goes, no there is no way to stop accidents happening initially, but yes there are ways to stop the spread of it. These measures were ignored in living accommodation for 100s and 100s of people with only one route of exit.
That is wholly unacceptable and I'm genuinely astonished that after a similar incident a few years ago and numerous letters of recommendations appealing for high rise buildings fire prevention to be looked into, nothing was done.
I totally sympathise with the victims and their families. This was preventable. It is criminal neglect.

Profound Familiarity said...

If she'd met the survivors and victims on the night, do you think any of them might have been angry enough to attack her?

A lot of people would have been in shock that night but I don't know much about how people behave when they're in that state.

Running on empty said...

Maybe appear and give a reassuring speech on a balcony or from a window?

I'm guessing she was off negotiating with minor parties to get the numbers in the house to form a government.