Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I have a knack for efficient and stubborn complaining. Probably from the French half of my DNA. In my adult life I must have written hundreds of complaint letters, some for myself, some for family or friends who thought I'd do a better job of it than they would. In all fake humility I must admit that, in most cases, (maybe in all cases but I can't remember) my complaints got the desired result.

Thing is, I'm not afraid to rock the boat. Especially when a boat is demonstrably and outrageously leaking. Injustice, deceit, misleading advertising, shoddy goods, negligence, broken contracts, slander, exploitation etc. instantly light my fire and l'm ready for sharply worded battle, all evidence in hand. In my next life I might be a lawyer for human rights. If any humans are left on the earth by then.

Sometimes a local or global crisis starts the complaint wheel spinning in my head and I lie awake inventing stratagems. Admittedly some situations are too big, too complex, too stuffed with experts and deskperts and despots for my little knack to be of any use at all. But the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been in my thoughts and in my heart ever since it happened and now there's also the issue of all the other tower blocks which are at risk of a similar tragedy. Yes, 'authorities' are now thinking about it and there will be meetings, committees, proposals etc.

 But HOW LONG will it take before action? Months? Years? Not good enough!

Look at THIS
and THIS
and tell me if anger as well as despair is not justified. Constructive anger, anger which triggers and energises immediate constructive, effective action.  In a month, maybe less, the tragedy will slip under the carpet, that vast carpet which hides a mountain of wrongs. The issue will be postponed yet again.  Positive anger has a role to play, a vital role.

I had a thought this morning while walking in a cemetery:

Could the families of those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster lodge a complaint with the Consumers' Association about inferior material used in the cladding? Residents of the building were, after all, consumers. They paid rent and taxes to the Council and therefore all of the building's appliances were products they bought. Could a case be made for them to sue the suppliers of the inferior, dangerous merchandise? As well as the Council, of course. Just as you could sue the makers/sellers of a sofa which burst into flames even though it was labelled fireproof.

 Astonishing clairvoyance in this 1993 House of Cards televison series.


Tom said...

You feisty young thing, you! But seriously, Natalie, I have a great deal of sympathy with you over this matter. It did seem to me that some of the people involved in this tragedy responded in ways which were appropriate. For example:

The government came up with cash. One might argue that their response wasn't quick enough, but some effort has been made.

The Church chipped in and did what they tend to do best....help those in need.

Local voluntary organisations worked tirelessly to assist.

But what have the media done? Largely to ignore the helping aspect, and fire up the anger. That of course makes headline news. And I'm afraid I was not impressed with anger directed at the Prime Minister [not someone I particularly like!] because she didn't appear immediately and "kiss their hurts all better", like mummy looking after her children.

These days, anger is all too readily indulged in - and any violent action arising therefrom - considered to be justified.

Having said all that, there is a need to investigate what has happened and steps taken avoid any such event occurring again. This must be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. You have no argument from me there. As to blame, punishment and retribution and the rest, I'll leave that to those who think they are qualified to judge.

Look after yourself, and try to stay safe.

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Tom, I have been ranting about the media so much over so many things in recent months and would generally agree with you on this.

However, concerning the Grenfell Tower fire I think that public anger and outrage is perfectly justified and necessary. The tragedy was not an accident nor a natural disaster: it could have been avoided. It was a crime, literally murder of all those people trapped helplessly in an inferno, and the devastated lives of those who survived.

Reading the personal account of one of the firefighters who was there is enough to make one weep...I weep.

Indeed the kindness and incredible generosity of the public towards the firee's victimscontinues to be wonderful and moving and deserving of the greatest praise. I don't think it's been ignored by the media.

But it's impossible to forget that this tragedy need not have happened. Those responsible know who they are, even if they won't admit it. Bandage-money handed out to survivorss can't bring back the loved ones they've lost and the damage to their own lives.

Hattie said...

What horrifies me is the possibility that the fire might have been set deliberately.
What devastation. Those poor people.
Everybody has a right to live.

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, no, the fire was not started deliberately. It has been confirmed that it was caused by a faulty fridge-freezer which blew up in one of the flats. The makers of thes type of fridge are now recalling this model. If it had not been for the poor quality cladding on the outside of the building (installed because it was cheaper than than one which would have been fireproof) that fire could easily have been put out in the one flat, but it instantly spread throughout the tower block setting off a terrible, and avoidable, tragedy.

Davoh said...

Luv ya .. dingbat .. heh.
Hey, have recently purchased a 3.35 metre (what's that in feet and inches??) .. Am, methinks, becoming too elderly, with smidge of curmudgeon ..

o, where was i .. aha - have a small dinghy to go search for fish ...

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Hi Davoh, hope you're fine. 3.35 metres (almost 11 feet)sounds good - you're talking about your boat/dinghy,right? At first I thought you meant a piece of land!

Hope lots of fish will gather round.