Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

So What Really Caused Grenfell Then?

By Natalie Oxford –, CC BY 4.0,

The report on the Grenfell Tower fire is about to come out. At which point, who is to blame?

Grenfell Tower: ‘The fire was no accident. Now we must go after those responsible’

Assume that it wasn’t an accident, yes, obviously, go after those who killed in that non-accident.

Phase one of the public inquiry, chaired by the retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, examined the events of the night, including how the fire started in a fourth-floor flat and spread to the top of the building in less than 30 minutes, and the response of the fire brigade and other emergency services. Phase two, due to start in January, will investigate the lead-up to the fire, including decisions made by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tower’s landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), architects and contractors.


He also wants to see the “behaviour and culture” of KCTMO, the company that managed the tower, scrutinised in the report. “We were up against an incredibly powerful and incredibly abusive non-functioning mini-mafia, and I hope and pray that by the end of the inquiry this is widely known.”

That might indeed be true. We don’t know yet but it’s obviously a possibility. The thing is, well:

The TMO has a board comprising eight residents, four council-appointed members and three independent members. Labour councillor and now MP, Emma Dent Coad was a council-appointed board member from 2008 to 31 October 2012.

Membership is open to any named tenant or leaseholder of a property owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who is over the age of eighteen.

If it is true then it turns out that tenants managing their own housing doesn’t work very well. Which is a bit of a problem for those arguing that private landlords should be abolished and tenants should manage their housing.

It’s also a problem for those who argue that the entire economy should be managed this way. You know, that “democratic” economy where all decisions are made by the workers, voting and sitting on committees after full and frank discussion. That not being the lesson that is going to be taken from this of course but perhaps it should be.

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