Grenfell Tower laid bare the disconnect between the so-called ‘elites’ and ordinary people. From local councillors all the way to senior ministers, the policies that led to the fire and the response were inadequate, with charities and local volunteers left to step into the vacuum.
It is not only the politicians who were revealed as out-of-touch, but the media too. Jon Snow, the Channel 4 News presenter, in his MacTaggart lecture said “we, the media, are comfortably with the elite, with little awareness, contact, or connection with those not of the elite.” As media becomes centralised, and local papers close down, the voices of oppressed communities are lost with them.
Why ATLAs RESEARCHER, Ollie PHELAN, chose this moment...
“Grenfell Tower thrust into the limelight an uncomfortable truth: that poor people’s concerns are too often marginalised in modern society. For the media, politicians and society in general, it is a shockwave that should force us to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable members of our country are not ignored on this scale again.”
The scale of the moment
- £8.6 million: cost of installing the new cladding, which is believed to have contributed to the speed at which the fire spread.
- £2,000,000 – average price of properties in the borough.
- £123,000 – average salary in the borough.
- £32,700 – the median salary in the borough, the largest gap in the UK.
- 10% - Grenfell Tower was in the bottom 10% of poorest areas in England.
- 151 – homes destroyed in the tower and surrounding area.
- 8 months before the fire that residents wrote a blog warning that only a serious fire would prompt safety changes that had been demanded for years.