“These People Died Because They Were Poor”



Mobo-award winning artist and writer Akala spoke to Channel 4 News last night about the Grenfell Tower fire in West London which has claimed 17 lives.

“We are in one of the richest spaces not just London but in the world. Repeated requests were ignored. There is no way that rich people would be living in a building without adequate fire safety.

“Everybody I spoke to couldn’t hear alarms, there was no sprinkler system…”

Local resident Joe Delaney, who managed to escape the fire and also help some of his neighbours get out of the building with their children, backed up Akala’s claim that there were “no alarms”.

Responding to presenter Jon Snow’s comment about spending on refurbishments for the building last year, Akala said: “It was an eyesore for the rich people who lived opposite.

“So they put panels, pretty panels on the outside, so the rich people who lived opposite wouldn’t have to look at a horrendous block.”

Akala on the Grenfell Tower fire: ‘These people died because they were poor (Independent.co.uk)

Yesterday: Seven Months Ago

Pic: PA

67 thoughts on ““These People Died Because They Were Poor”

    1. Kenny U-Vox Plank

      He’s right. What a disgrace. Utterly contempt for human beings. Sadly I think the figure of 17 will be higher.

  1. anne

    and people keep wanting these types of eye sores here.. you can see these big blocks being built here…we have plenty of space, there’s no need for them.

    1. nellyb

      Shall we stop using mobile phones too? They explode sometimes, reduce sperm motility in lads and ring in the middle of a concert.

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      I know Anne, but there’s loads of country lads here who’ve been to New York, and think it’s the best place ever. What can you do in the face of that. There is plenty of room to build plenty of low rise dwellings and amenities in and around Dublin. However, this would mean wrestling the huge landbanks away from people and entities who are “well got” with the political establishment. This is a country of four and a half million people – space is not a problem since that is half, if that, of the population of an average City elsewhere.. Now there’s a conundrum for you.

      1. classter

        That’s moronic.

        There isn’t plenty of space.

        Dublin already sprawls too much. Sprawling settlements are worse in almost every way – more isolation, harder to provide public services for, more car use, etc.

    3. Happy Molloy

      I hear ya anne but Dublin needs to build up rather than just sprawl. we just need to ensure standards are met

      1. realPolithicks

        “we just need to ensure standards are met”

        What are the chances of that happening though?

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          In Right Wing Fantasy Land where the powerful just want what’s best for everyone and anything bad that happens is just an honest mistake if they’re at fault for it.

      2. anne

        We don’t need to build up..there aren’t that many of us. Building up is just to maximise profit.

        Go to India.. then you might have an argument for building up.

        1. classter

          There are massive cultural and economic advantages to agglomeration.

          Turning the country into one large car park isn’t an enticing or responsible way forward.

    4. classter

      The problem here is not that it was a tower block.

      In large part it seems as if the borough (via the TMO they had set up) carried out a shoddy upgrade (cladding, fire stops, etc.) and cut corners in maintaining the building and others like it.

      This same council, one of the richest in the UK, provided a council tax rebate this year because they had cut costs and have amassed a cash pile.

      The headline here, ‘These People Died Because They Were Poor” is bang on.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        The likes of him never will. I wonder how he feels about Dear Leoder? Gay, only half Irish (obviously not the gay part!!) and a little too much on the brown side for comfort.

        1. rotide

          It’s funny how, apart from when he was elected leader, literally the ONLY time i see Varadkar referred to as gay or half irish, it’s on here.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You need to get out more then. What rotide has seen or hasn’t seen doesn’t really matter to anyone plus it’s probably a teeny tiny specrtrum you’re working off. You’re not exactly the most informed person in the world, are you.

        2. Rob_G

          I wouldn’t have thought that any commenter would be able to make a story about people dying in a tragic fire in Britain into somehow being about FG, but fair play to you, you got there in the end (with casual accusations of racism and homophobia thrown in, to boot).

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You saw someone sarcastically mock people for getting angry at the rich and powerful who created the conditions that led to this tragedy and you get offended at Daisy. You don’t get to take the moral highground, Rob.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            A +1 from Clamps. If you needed any more proof that you’re just as much in the wrong as you’re accusing Daisy of being, there it is.

          3. Rob_G

            @ Moyest – I’m sure she could have addressed Eamonn’s silly point without resorting to nonsensical non-sequitors, and then further accusing him of being a racist and a homophobe

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            I’m sure you could have addressed Eamonn’s silly point at all if you wanted to. But you didn’t. You got more offended at the person taking offence at his ideological drivel. Probably because deep down, you agree with him. You don’t get to take the moral highground.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            Neither of us are a patch on you though. You could have chosen to also take issue with the despicable comments made by Eamonn. You chose to have a go at someone who took offence to them.

          6. Rob_G

            @ Daisy – why couldn’t you have just said that, instead of suggesting that he was in some way a homphobe and a racist?, which you seem to have made up from whole cloth?

        3. rotide

          The first Taoiseach to announce a referendum on abortion in over 30 years and you hate him.

          How very liberal of you.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            That’s right, I’m not a troll. Good lad. You are though. A seriously dimwitted one, as well. I legit don’t understand how you haven’t been banned yet. Remember calling Anne an idiot this morning? You probably don’t. You were probably in the middle of one of your emotional tirades.

        4. Shayna

          I’m liking Leoder, as a title for our leader. I wished I’d dream’t of Celtic Tiger as a title for our economy back in the day.

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    Who / what started the fire seems to have been obliterated by hysteria in some reports. In one it says a fridge. RIP those who didn’t make it. A densely-populated block of flats with no fire controls is criminal.

    1. classter

      What started the fire is not really the point (I have also heard that it was wiring on a fridge in one apartment).

      The point is that a tower block design and construction & maintenace should have been such that this fire was contained and nobody lost their lives. That’s what the ‘hysteria’ is about

  3. The Milk Man

    The early reports said it was a fridge which exploded.

    There is a total double standard in fire safety. I expect that block was full of cheap furniture, matrices etc etc which had very low fire retardency and let off toxic fumes once alight adding to the issues. d

    1. dav

      Well the flammable cheap cladding added to the exterior of the building kind of messed up any fire prevention measures that would have been in place – but you go ahead and blame the residents for not being able to afford expensive furniture..

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      And in a properly constructed, properly maintained building the residents could still have escaped with their lives, Milkman. What exactly is your point? Fridges explode, chip pans catch fire, mobile phone chargers overload, people are careless and/or fallible – it doesn’t have to end in a total disaster.

      1. The Milk Man

        I wasn’t blaming the residence for not being able to afford expensive furniture. I was agreeing with the sentiment of the headline – these people died because they were poor. I was attempting to highlight the fact that cheap goods sacrifice safety and that that is a bad thing. More needs to be done to ensure cheap goods are as safe as expensive goods.

  4. Daisy Chainsaw

    Current Tory Minister for Fire is a landlord who voted against proper safeguards… admittedly he’s only in the job 4 days, but it shows you the mindset of Tories. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-vote-down-law-requiring-landlords-make-their-homes-fit-for-human-habitation-a6809691.html

    Boris Johnson closed fire stations in 2014 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/firefighters-cry-as-10-london-stations-including-clerkenwell-close-due-to-cuts-9050079.html

    Profit before people.

  5. Charger Salmons

    The tower was built in 1967.
    Politicians of both major parties have had ample opportunity to make safety adjustments over the years – not that you’d hear that from the cretinous Labour luvvie Jon Snow.
    Moreover,virtually every survivor I saw being interviewed and the names of those missing appear to indicate that a large number of residents in the tower were foreign immigrants.
    If that’s the case in one tower I can imagine it being similar in vast swathes of social housing across the country.
    Perhaps if Blair and his cohorts hadn’t operated an open-door immigration policy for so long with their disastrous multi-cultural ” experiment ” and governments since then had been honest about the problem of unfettered immigration there might have been more money to spend on fire safety in social housing.
    The reality is housing,education,the welfare system and the NHS is groaning under the strain of immigration.
    God help dear old Blighty if that terrorist-loving lunatic Corbyn ever got into power.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Some of the residents have been there for almost 30 years. Who was in power 30 years ago?

      Also, you want to see links I posted above. Labour tried to introduce a private members’ bill in 2016 to upgrade building regs from the victorian era the legislation covered. Tories, including 72 mps registered as landlords, voted against it because it would have impinged on their profits. Scores of people are dead because landlords didn’t want to pay for sprinklers, but of course it’s the fault of de immigrants… which ironically, you’d be too if you lived in London.

      1. hans landa

        The state is the landlord of the Grenfell Tower and the State shall be responsible. This is but one example of the type of public housing replicated all over the UK. Poorly planned, designed, constructed, and even more poorly managed for decades. Aside from the fact that the state essentially created ghettos by clustering all of these types of properties together, it has shown that they can’t be relied upon to deliver decent quality housing on their own. Private investment is by no means perfect (as we have seen in Priory Hall) but it is far less likely to result in a tragedy like this

      2. anne

        +1. Landlords are at the same lark here by the way..lobbying to not have standards enforced.

      3. DaithiG

        “Some of the residents have been there for almost 30 years. Who was in power 30 years ago?”


    2. classter

      1) The Tories have largely run that borough since the tower was built.

      2) It is not clear that the real problem was with the original construction (it is still standing) but rather with the ‘upgrade’/refurb’ works and with the management of the block.

      3) There did appear to be a reasonably decent proportion of foreign-born residents but this is London after all. That won’t be true in blocks in Newcastle etc.

      4) Those ‘immigrants’ also pay tax. Per capita immigrants to the UK pay more tax and take less in benefits than the native-born. They are a net positive to the economy. They are not an excuse for strained social services.

    3. classter

      Btw @Charger Salmons, that borough is ridiculously wealthy.

      They returned Council tax charges to full-paying residents this year as they didn’t need it.

      A lack of money for social services is an ideological choice in the UK rather than a necessity forced upon them by ‘unfettered immigration’

  6. Junkface

    Having Landlords in Government is clearly a very dangerous conflict of interest, in Ireland as well as the UK.

    17 people burned to death, probably the worst way to go, so that Tory landlords could make more cash. They are sickening scumbags.

    Don’t think that a similar thing couldn’t happen here, our builders can inspect their own properties and give themselves an A1 for everything. Totally corrupt. Rage rising…

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Could they exclude people who are landlords from voting on such issues, ie they’d have to recuse (maybe that word is just for judges, though) themselves because of the conflict of interest?
      Does that happen anywhere, I wonder?

    2. hans landa

      Self certification no longer exists. Nowadays you need assigned certifiers and design certifiers who are backed by professional industry bodies.

      There is nothing to suggest that those building regs they voted down would have produced a different result – there are plenty of regulations in place already. Plus, the borough runs this building. Plenty of Labour (& Tory) governments have come and gone since the 60s where they could have improved the buildings in their charge

      1. Cian

        This. The British certification of building is a lot better that our own self certification.

        We need to learn from this tragedy and implement changes to ensure it doesn’t happen here.

    3. :-Joe

      Agreed, there’s a serious conflict of interest.

      Simon Coveney is a landlord and just dropped his brief dealing with the homeless for foreign affairs…

      Typical form and fashion…


  7. Termagant

    You can get fire alarms, they’re about 10 quid

    makes a loud BEEEP BEEPing noise when there’s a fire

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