You might have heard the recurring motif that ‘a government’s first obligation is to protect its citizens’. It’s a trope often trotted out when there is a national crisis, such as a terrorist attack – however, after this platitude of “the government is on YOUR side” is announced by various broadcast mouthpieces, what actually happens is the government can then seize on such tragedy as an opportunity to make a reduction in the public’s civil liberties. e.g. Theresa May considers sex to be appalling, so clearly after Manchester’s and London’s devastation, something has to be done about our wanking and she plans on further internet regulation.
It’s important to remember that, in a capitalist/neoliberal society, the ruling government has only one obligation and that is to ensure the survival of ‘business’ (read that as ‘profitable companies’); your individual life is completely worthless in the eyes of a neoliberal government; but the life of a bank is so priceless that there is no limit to a potential purchase-for-recovery bid when that bank/company/business hits a colossal catastrophe (think quantitative easing after the 2008 capitalist disaster). Only in a fairy-tale of LSD proportion would an author describe a government’s paramount role as “a responsibility to ensure the safety of the population”.
Twelve people died in the Grenfell Tower disaster, and the accounts so far describe an excellent response of the firefighters – interviews with these firefighters explained they had to go through 4 or 5 oxygen canisters to constantly go in and out the of the building in order to check for survivors – but this wasn’t enough, they would have needed 10 or 15 oxygen tanks to do the job properly. When Westminster cuts hit the emergency services, this is an easily understandable example of why such cuts are both dangerous and immoral – a large supply of oxygen tanks means a relay team of firefighters can get far enough up the floors of the tower to ensure no one is left behind; to ensure no one burns to death, to ensure all residents are alerted to the emergency. In December 2011, after the financial fall-out, the National Audit Office concluded that the max support made available to banks was £955bn with minimum figure closer to £512bn. A government guarantee, promised by the income generated from public funds. Ironic but completely expected, that for the last 7 years, the Tories have angrily ordered everyone in the country to make less go further.
My leftist stance is known to you all, and it’s highly transparent; I’m happy to always engage in debate, I’m a rationalist and I respect contrary opinions. But for anyone still suspicious of my socialist leaning, let me ask the pertinent question: how do you MORALLY make the choice between Fred Goodwin buying another Desmond Merrion Supreme Bespoke suit for £40,000 and an impoverished family in a wretched block of West-London flats burning to death. In all sincerity, I don’t know how the right-wing live with themselves (unless their wealth includes a gin/heroin blood transfusion).
Here’s Boris Johnson, in 2013 in his second term as London mayor, telling the London Assembly (the group which scrutinizes the London mayor’s activity) to “get stuffed” when his mayoral plan to reduce fire stations, firefighters, fire equipment, etc. is confronted. Boris Johnson… a man of the state… a statesman if you will… responding with “fuck off” to the 12 people who have just lost their lives in Grenfell Tower.