Incendiary Truths

We probably won't learn the real lessons of the Grenfell Tower horror.

The world is horrified by this week's disaster at Grenfell Tower in London, where an entire apartment skyscraper went up in flames like a blowtorch, immolating an unknown number of residents over a period of many hours while the fire brigades were unable to reach them.

The story has everything you'd expect: unheeded warnings, politicians pointing fingers at bureaucrats and each other, disputes over funding, agonized families throwing their children off balconies, and heartrending tales of escape and death.  Blue-ribbon investigations have been launched, which we'll no doubt hear from in a few years, well after the world has moved on.

Unfortunately, we have no confidence that we'll ever learn the truth, or that the true lessons of this horror will be made known because we flatly have no trust in the powers-that-be who are investigating it.  Let's look at some of the known facts and contrast them with public statements from powerful people to understand why.

Setting a False Frame While The Flames Still Rage

Grenville Towers is what the British call "council housing," which is roughly the equivalent of "the projects" in the United States except for a slightly higher income diversity of the residents.  It sits anachronistically in the middle of Kensington, one of the most expensive districts of one of the most expensive cities in the world.  Yet it's occupied by the poor, owned by the local government, and apparently operated under contract.

You might think that a disaster of this magnitude would be an inappropriate time for scoring partisan political points, but that would be thinking like a conservative.  The Left's view was best expressed by now-Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste.  And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

In keeping with this principle, the left-wing Labour Party leader, openly Marxist Jeremy Corbyn, immediately blamed the ruling Conservative Party for cutting the housing budget, thus presumably leading to shoddy maintenance and a firetrap.  In keeping with the second part of Emanuel's advice, Corbyn called for re-housing the now-homeless tower residents in homes confiscated from their rich owners - not bothering to discuss whether market price, or anything at all, should be paid to purchase them.

Even if the tower was poorly maintained, that's no explanation for why it went up like a rocket.  It was a standard concrete block built in the 1970s, and as everyone knows, concrete doesn't burn.  Of course the contents of any building are flammable, but with floors and walls made of fireproof stuff, how could it go up so quickly and burn for so long?  Indeed, the central core containing the fire escape stairs is the one part of the building which is still structurally sound.

Plenty of Money - but For What?

As in America, the leftist accusations fly in the face of the reality that 11 million dollars were spent a few years ago to refurbish the building.  The Telegraph reports:

Fears were raised that green energy concerns were prioritised ahead of safety as it emerged that cladding used to make the building more sustainable could have accelerated the fire... Alongside the cosmetic appeal of cladding, it is used as an insulation to make buildings more sustainable to meet green energy requirements.

The most visible part of the refurbishment was that the entire exterior of the tower changed its appearance: from stark 1970's concrete, it was now wrapped in clean-looking insulation panels.  All the windows were replaced with modern energy-efficient multipanes with insulated vinyl framing.

Improving energy efficiency is no bad thing.  Your humble correspondent spent a tidy sum on new high-efficiency windows, and sure enough, energy costs dropped precipitously.  This is presumably good for the planet; it's definitely good for whoever is paying the utility bills provided that interest rates are low enough.

However, as anyone who's tossed a Pepsi bottle into a campfire knows, not only does plastic burn briskly, it lets off extremely thick and foul black smoke you can neither see through nor breathe.  Watching the harrowing video of the tower fire's progress makes it clear that the outside of the building caught fire, and the fire then burned its way in.  Buildings are simply not designed to resist this type of fire; it's not supposed to happen, because you're not supposed to put super-flammable stuff on the outside of a skyscraper that spreads a fire faster than firemen can hose it down.

Yet this flammable cladding is perfectly legal in England although banned in the U.S. - and it has been mounted on 30,000 British buildings including 87 more apartment towers in London alone.

The tower block had no sprinklers and no central fire alarm system; most residents were awakened by their neighbors pounding on their doors in the middle of the night or by phone calls from worried relatives who'd seen the fire on the news.  That was far, far too late for many of them.

Perhaps the money would have been better spent on obvious safety essentials, instead of pretty-looking plastic panels to "greenwash" the place?  Really, this ghastly mistake is an argument against public ownership of housing.

Decades of experience shows that politicians always go for the pretty photo-op instead of the invisible but essential work inside where the TV cameras can't see.  Private companies aren't immune to keeping up appearances either, but they also have a very powerful vested interest in their buildings not burning down because it bankrupts them, particularly if something gives the insurance company the slightest excuse not to pay out.

But you'll never hear environmentalism blamed, much less feckless government bureaucrats.  No, the villain will be Tory budget cuts and austerity measures, which must be reversed by "taxing the rich."

The Sum of Even More Fears

So far, we've explored two obvious explanations - but there's a third, even more disturbing one.

For all that Grenfell Towers is in the middle of London, looking at the photos you'd never know it.  Half the women are emburkhaed; the only couple shown that possibly resembled Englishmen turned out to be Italian.  Interviews of the residents find them mostly named Mohammed Hussein, Hussein Mohammed, or some variant of the above; there's not a John Smith in the lot.  A shocking number are casually reported as being refugees.

In other words, many of the residents now enraged at not being provided with a safe home have no clear justification to be living in England at all, much less living at public expense.  Perhaps if England had tighter control of its borders, there'd be far fewer poor foreigners that the longsuffering British taxpayer is expected to foot the bill for housing, and more money to go for fireproofing the buildings already in existence?

It so happens that unhappiness with outrageous levels of immigration was a major force behind the recent Brexit vote; the English voting public rightly views the European Union as a strong supporter of open-borders multicultural political correctness and wants it to stop.  Yet even now, nobody not already expelled from the mainstream media is pointing to Grenfell Towers as an example of the consequences of unlimited third-world immigration because that would be racist.

But once we've opened that particular Pandora's box, new questions arise.  We saw how the fire spread, but how did it start?

Dad-of-two Mahad Egal said the first he knew about the fire was when Mr Kebede, who is originally from Ethiopia, knocked on his door... “Outside, we were confronted by my neighbour who said, ‘Are you OK? It was my flat. My fridge exploded.’”

Refrigerators, being electrical devices, can certainly catch fire from an electrical short circuit.  But when was the last time you heard of a fridge exploding?

What's more, the flammable cladding that made the tower a deathtrap was on the outside of the building - that is, on the other side of a cement wall from the inside, where the exploding refrigerator was.  How did the fire get from inside to outside?

Well, fires will do that, and as we've seen, the new windows were vinyl-framed which is also flammable.  But that would take time, and according to many news reports and timelines, "Firefighters arrived within six minutes."  That doesn't seem like enough time for any normal electrical fire to get that far out of control when it had to ignite the insulation on the other side of a concrete wall.  Yet within fifteen minutes, the whole side of the building was ablaze.

That does not seem normal for a fridge used to store food.  However, knowing the origins of large numbers of occupants of Grenfell Towers and recollecting the infamous article published in ISIS' glossy magazine "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom"... well, is it too much to wonder if, just possibly, yet another Islamic "refugee" was planning yet another terrorist assault and fell victim to his own incompetence?

Let us clearly emphasize: we have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this was the case.  We have no grounds, and are making no accusations against anyone, but our cynicism and our suspicions have been aroused.

The problem is - look at the mess of what's left of the building!  If the root cause of the conflagration was terrorist activity, or if it even contributed to it -  maybe the fire spread to stockpiled terrorist combustibles in the next apartment over, say - it would be a tremendous challenge to amass the evidence amidst the thousands of tons of wreckage.  Only a highly-trained, well-funded organization could have any hope of discovering the truth, and the only available candidate is the government of the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, the mayor of London is a Muslim who has said that citizens should just get used to terrorism and that sacrifices both financial and otherwise must be made to enjoy the glories of multiculturalism.  Do you think he will work hard to discover something he refuses to even recognize?

Perhaps the national government would do better?  Well, consider people like Salman Abedi, the recent suicide bomber at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England who brutally murdered dozens of teenage girls:

He was a "refugee" from Libya, a famously violent Muslim failed state.

He was thrown out of a mosque for preaching violence.  How evil do you have to be for your mosque to kick you out and report you to the authorities?

He traveled to Syria, going the opposite direction of millions of Syrians invading Europe, in order to learn to be a terrorist.  He also stopped by Libya, a state of anarchy run by warlords, for the same purpose.  U.S. intelligence took note of this behavior and warned Britain's MI5.

But apparently none of that counts as a big enough red flag.  Youssef Zaghba, a member of the terrorist gang who ran over and knifed tourists on London Bridge a few days later, was detained in an Italian airport on his way to Turkey because, to quoting his statement to Italian officials, "I'm going to be a terrorist."  This, too, was reported to MI5, who left him to freely walk Britain's streets with a butcher knife.

And really, that's nothing compared to his comrade-in-evil and appropriately-named Khuram Butt.  Mr. Butt - we kid you not - appeared in a documentary on British television entitled "The Jihadi Next Door."

And the British government did nothing.  These obviously evil foreigners were not interned, or deported, or even watched until they slaughtered British civilians and legal guests.

Even if they had been as pure as the driven snow, they had no natural right to be on the Sceptred Isle; but every possible warning sign, including literally broadcasting their evil intentions to millions of television sets like some James Bond villain, still wasn't enough to get the authorities off their fat, lazy tails to do their job and protect the public.

Is it truly possible, though, to be that fat and lazy?  Even Inspector Clouseau and the Keystone Kops would be able, willing, and eager to solve this case.  Yes, we shouldn't immediately assume malevolence where mere incompetence is sufficient, but this is a monumentally unimaginable level of incompetence.

Once again, we have no no evidence of any malfeasance whatsoever, and are making no accusations.  All we have are news reports that don't add up in any rational world we know of... and a deep and growing fear that those who claim to protect the West, or at least a powerful minority of them, are working for the other side.

England needs a Winston Churchill.  Instead, they have a fatally-wounded Maybot, likely to be replaced by Karl Marx reincarnated.  Get in your tour of London while you still can.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Immigration.
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