Long before the Grenfell Tower fire disaster THINK had no confidence in the ruling Conservatives, who only appear to treat North Kensington as a carve up and investment opportunity for property developers and vested interests at the real cost to our community.
There are many amazing locals campaigning in North Kensington battling to save our area. One, is Edward Daffarn of the Grenfell Action Group. We had been following their excellent blog for years and would highly recommend it to anyone who really wants the full back story behind Grenfell Tower, as well as the countless other issues that residents have had to face. See it here:
Eddie and his group had long warned RBKC on several occasions of the fire hazards at Grenfell Tower only to be ignored (and even ridiculed) by this council and the TMO before the disaster.
At last Wednesday’s emotional, turbulent and highly charged meeting at Kensington Town Hall, there were several statements given by survivors and victims’ families. The horror, grief, and anger that they felt was made very clear to the council.
Eddie, also a survivor of the fire had some words to say new leader Elizabeth Campbell:” The way you treated our community group with contempt was despicable”, pointed out that his group had emailed Mrs Campbell back in 2010 regarding their concerns that the KAA school being built so close to Grenfell Tower would put residents’ safety at risk,
Eddie also said ” If you councillors from the the ruling party honestly believe that you have the legitimacy after everything you have heard here tonight – after everything that has happened in North Kensington over the past few weeks you seriously need to reconsider, because I’ll tell you one thing, the wounds that have been created in North Kensington are not going to heal as long as you are ignorant enough to believe that you have the right to rule over us”.
Also two petitions by incredible local campaigners in our area were presented to the council – one was from Piers Thompson of Save Our Silchester asking that residents of the Silchester Estate get to decide what happens to their homes. The other was from Eve Wedderburn or Friends of North Kensington Library demanding the immediate resignation of the RBKC cabinet. Both excellent petitions were of course, supported and signed by THINK.
When reading out the petition, Eve stated that “we do not recognise your right to govern our community”and went on to say “The problem is not perception, but your actual culpability in an actual crisis. Stand down” . She also pointed out that Dizzy Lizzy has a record of dismantling children’s services.
As we pointed out in our previous post, the meeting, full of distressed and angry residents, was chaotic and the response from the council in locking some of the survivors in a fire exit only added to their upset. Amid shouting, booing, banging on the door and crying, we heard shouts of “resign”, “crooks” and “Shame on you”. Piers pointed out to the council that “maybe things would have been different if they had spent as much time on safety at the tower as they had on controlling the meeting.
Eddie, Piers and Eve are all friends of ours and are outstanding local campaigners who have inspired us. It was the Grenfell Action Group who first opened our eyes up fully to what RBKC was doing to North Kensington, Piers and Save Our Silchester who have campaigned against RBKC’s plans to “regenerate” (socially cleanse) the Silchester Estate and informed us to what the council proposed to do and Eve and Friends of North Kensington Library who have fought a long battle to stop RBKC from leasing our library to Notting Hill Prep School. There would not be a THINK group or blog without their outstanding activism to inspire us – they are local heroes and we are thankful to them – as well as Westway 23, Rap 23 and Save Wornington College – all incredible local campaign groups which we fully support.
THINK will point out that many Grenfell survivors, victims families and many others in our area are severely traumatised, some are not getting the adequate help they need, some are being moved around temporary accommodation outside our borough and others are living in cramped conditions, that we need the council to do their duty and help our community. Also we know some of the Tories are to blame for the shortage of housing in RBKC to offer survivors as well.
The next council meeting is until October the 25th – three months away. We say to Dizzy Lizzy and her Conservative colleagues that we really do not believe that this is the time, when our community is suffering, for you to be taking a long holiday. If any of you run away from your responsibilies, we and all the other campaign groups will do everything we can to ensure that you do not have jobs to come back to. If you are so intent on staying in power, then you had better step up and see to people’s needs as urgently as possible.
THINK have no confidence in the RBKC Conservatives and we believe that the only positive thing you can ever do for this community is to go. In the words of Eve Wedderburn – stand down. Here’s Eve’s brilliant speech: