There was a power surge in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. That surge may not have been the cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but it lies in the ashes on the streets and in the hearts of those affected.

The motto of the local authority of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council is “Quam bonum in Unum habitare” (‘How good it is to dwell in unity’). Nothing now sounds more hollow.

There is much speculation as to the cause of the tragedy:

  • A gas explosion?
  • A faulty fridge?
  • Power surges in faulty wiring?
  • Lack of entries and exits?
  • Conflicting evacuation advice?
  • Lack of sprinkler systems?
  • Combustible external cladding?
  • All of the above?

These are technical issues to be resolved by those with relevant expertise. They are secondary to the root cause, most vociferously and vividly said on the streets by Ishmahil Blagrove.

and Lily Allen

There is indeed much disunity in the Royal Borough, exacerbated by social divide. That it should emerge within the backdrop of a burned out tower block and grieving families is truly horrendous.

The palpable despair goes beyond grief and is turning to anger. The Danse Macabre of blame shuffling begins with the Council who seem to be off-stage. The unity, such as it is, can be seen in the food and clothing donation points; the disarray in the chaos of its distribution.

There is a discrepancy between the legitimate expectations of residents and the elected bodies that are supposed to represent them. There is a clamour born of the divide between the rich and poor, the odd and the even, the needs of the people and the rubric of government.

How high this clamour will reach is epitomised by the sad shell of Grenfell Tower. When a segment of society is wrapped in aesthetic cladding, a single spark can ignite and destroy the façade and expose the dispair of shattered lives.

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