This wasn't the blog I was planning to write today. I had a pleasant, jaunty, upbeat one, about what a great night we had on Friday and how great our community is, after the Mill Hill Music Complex 40th Birthday party. And then a friend posted this article stating that Jacob Rees Mogg had claimed Grenfell residents lacked common sense for not scarpering when the building caught fire.
There is no limit to my contempt for these comments and my natural response was simply a stream of rather rude words. I'm a pacifist, but Rees-Mogg pushed this to the absolute limit with his comments. the crass insensitivity of the man has been laid bare and if Boris Johnson does not immediately sack him, then it is clear that he condones such a horrible statement. I would hope that no decent person would vote for any party that tolerates such people as Rees Mogg.
That was my emotional response. However, I was brought up by a father who was a trained air accident investigation officer. He impressed on me from an early age, never to get emotional when dealing with difficult situations, don't be guided by fear, anger or panic. Keep calm and rationally analyse the situation. Only last week, I blogged about Grenfell and how we are being mislead, and the culprits are literally getting away with murder. Now there is another guilty party to add to the list. Lets look at Mr Rees Mogg's statement with a calm head (difficult I know).
What Mr Rees Mogg is saying is that we should ignore the directions of the emergency services in emergency situations. The report has not said what the result of this would have been in the Grenfell situation. It may well be that some people who perished, would have survived, but it may have not had that effect at all. In a fire situation, what is required is an orderly evacuation. If you have a free for all with residents running down the stairs, ignoring the directions of fire officers making their way up to notify and evacuate the residents on upper floors, would this really have helped. Of course Rees Mogg comes from an 'I'm alright Jack' school of political thought. But if everyone had abandoned their flats, ran en masse into a smokey, crowded stairwell, as firemen were making their way up, who knows what this chaotic scene would have resulted in?
What we can be fairly sure of, is that next time, when there is a large scale emergency in the UK, some people will think of what Mr Rees Mogg has said and think "You know what, I'm going to ignore the police, the fire services, the army, etc and do my own thing". What will be the net result? there will be chaos and people will die. Who will be to blame? Whilst Mr Rees Mogg's statement is grossly insensitive and repulsive, the real issue is the fact it is highly irresponsible.
When it comes down to it, we have to place our trust in the emergency services. Sadly they will occasionally get it wrong, but 99% of the time, they get it right and listening to what they say will ensure your safety. So put the crassness of Rees Mogg to one side, he is a dangerous fool for making such a statement.
I await a response from the Barnet Conservative MP's, Matthew Offord, Mike Freer and Theresa Villiers. If anyone could be described as lacking in common sense in the whole sorry Grenfell saga, it is the Conservative Council that allowed a building to turn into a death trap. Strangely it is the poor people who died, rather than his friends in power at the Council, that the leader of the commons turned his fire on.
Please join us on Friday 13th December at 8pm at The Midland Hotel, Hendon, for the Barnet Eye Community awards and annual Xmas party. We are also looking for nominations for our community awards, click here for details. Free admission