Breaking news this morning is that the ‘Times’ newspaper has documents suggesting the cladding on the burnt out tower block was not that which was originally specified and the metal coating was aluminium rather than zinc which means that as aluminium melts at a lower temperature than zinc, someone decided that the fire risk was very low. It also happens to have saved over £300,000 on the refurbishment cost which was over budget anyway. The full story will no doubt emerge in due course, but I wonder if anyone will be found accountable for the 80+ unnecessary deaths at the end of the day as the ‘Times’ story is pointing the finger initially at the Council and contractor who won the new, lower specification, contract after the original contractor appears to have priced to the original specification. As this could easily have happened all over the country, I wonder if a culture change will actually happen?
Of course is will mean funding for councils will need to be reviewed. It had to happen anyway as if national government continues with the devolving of powers down the ‘representation’ route to save government money, then David Gaulk (Treasury minister) will have to do some rethinking to provide funding for all the shifted responsibilities downwards in order to keep ministers hands clean and in power!
Today came the news that up to 600 tower blocks have cladding on the outside and some may be the same as on the one that recently burnt up. Not only that, but it now transpires that some may have cladding installed not as specified in the contract. Not sure why I’m not surprised as many councils have had to cut back on seemingly unessential functions and staff such as building control due to a combination of funding cutbacks and the Conservative idea that private business is perfect, never make mistakes and have no need to be accountable as long as they make a profit. To this end they allowed private companies to bid for building control inspections. I wonder if any of these companies will be prosecuted for passing as complying, work that is blatantly not in compliance. Many large companies just happen to have divisions that inspect for building standard compliance which has to be a conflict of interest which is OK until caught. I wonder if the problems with the Scottish school walls falling down is part of this conflict or simply poor contract specifying?
I confess I feel sorry for the Prime Minister, but if she must listen to advisors rather than making up her own mind, then either she isn’t leading or the political system needs re-evaluating as there seems to be a lack of direction since the referendum unset all their ideas. It starts at local level, you know, as you blindly vote for a party rather than a person which just reinforces the idea that the party is perfect. I’ve always taken the view that the perfect candidate takes the best bits from each party manifestos and follows them through, but do you question any of the candidates, read their leaflets or just blindly vote Labour, Lib-Dem or whatever. When I stood in the recent by-election, only one person contacted me as a result of my leaflet and on the doorstep, I got the impression that residents were totally underwhelmed by local politics (and by inference, national politicians).
Anyway, I’m Independent with UKIP leanings just in case there is another election I feel I could contribute locally to. We will see!
A note for those who actually know me.
Jack died yesterday. You may remember he was like me and always wanting to put the world to rights as he walked the dogs around the block or along the lane.
On Monday I had the first of two x-rays on my wrist to make sure it hadn’t displaced again, so providing the next one (in a week) is still OK, then the plaster comes off two weeks later and I’ll have two operating hands. Also on Monday, our youngest sheltie, Zander, passed his gold good citizens test.
Finally, the plastic base on one of our water butts melted in the heat so we now have a leaning water butt. Keep on eye on yours!
The fall out from the London fire shows how unprepared many Borough Councils and County Councils actually are. Once upon a time I was a Borough Councillor on a home counties Council and I know they had plans in place for such an event even to the extent that that held emergency exercises at least once between each election.
During my time the exercise was a passenger plane crashing on a sports centre (it had to be council property for ease!) which was not as daft as it sounds as the location was near to the normal take off flight path of a well known Bedfordshire aerodrome (ask your dad) used by a few holiday makers and freight organisations. The Council has it’s own emergency room in the basement of the civic centre complete with secure land line links and a (currently disused) radio transmitter for backup communications. Obviously the building dated back to the sixties and from what I saw would not take a lot to get back into use. The Chief Executive was the designated coordinator who was expected to bring in staff and involve councillors for the ward(s) that any emergency occurred. First response was the idea so that the events that happened on the 14th should not have happened and help should have been on the ground by mid morning at the latest.
As you all know, I live in a perfect world where nothing goes wrong (hence the plaster cast on my wrist this month), but maybe you ought to ask your local councillor if they have any procedures in place in the event of a similar emergency in your Borough/City.
Todays sad news regarding the London tower block following a multi-million pound refurbishment and upgrade suggests they forgot the one thing that would have saved many lives, namely a sprinkler system. My experience has shown the system does work in commercial premises, but sadly, residential buildings need close monitoring to reduce vandalism as water can do a lot of damage. It also appears that any fire detection/alarm was left wanting, but what price do you put on human lives??
On the political front, this has simply reinforced the idea that the election result has left our politicians wanting. I started with the delay following the referendum result before telling the United States of Europe (USE) that they had two years to work out how to deal with this decision by the British people simply because they seem not to have thought the obvious (in my eye anyway) would happen. This messing about has added to the current problems within UKIP for some reason, with the leader resigning, the past leader suggesting he may have to get a grip and an East Midlands MEP throwing in the towel.
Now is the time to put your money where your vote was and for us to grab UKIP by the collar and make sure they are ready to deal with any wavering by the government in the negotiations over us leaving them to sort out their own problems. Their latest trick is to decide that they need to demolish their parliament building and build a new one at a few billion Euro cost. We are, of course, expected to pay for our share. See you couldn’t make up, could you?
By the way, the UKIP organisation is in a shambles, so you should be prepared to get your hands dirty if you want us out of USE with something to change rather than the carry on as we have over the past 40 years. I can remember supporting joining an Economic Community (EEC) but never a word about taking us over which has, in effect, happened and we muddled along quite happily (apart from the odd war) for a few centuries before that – or have we lost our backbone?
That’s given you something to think about, but I’ll be back soon.
Isn’t it strange how in 2010 the Conservatives didn’t have a working majority. so they set up a coalition with the Lib-Dems. This time, it may be the DUP from Northern Ireland and apart from the election was a mistake of judgement by Mrs Mays’ advisors (they’ve gone) what is so fundamentally different, if fact it may actually make elected politicians have to make their own mistakes and pay the penalty rather than coming out with ‘I have been advised’ excuse, maybe they might be more careful now. Oh look another pig!!
As I write, the Queens Speech may have to be delayed while they try to work out if the next election will be in 2020 (as it was going to be) and if they can get through any of their proposals to upset most of the electorate one way or the other.
In case you cared, my wrist aches like mad, my neck also aches with the weight of the heavyweight plaster cast (complete with an imprint of my rib cage) to keep my frail little bones in place and not wander off somewhere. I understand that next Monday I have to have another X-ray to make sure it’s still there then it’s just a case of waiting for it to mend.
I’ve managed to mow the lawn a couple of times since my ‘little problem’ occurred with my good hand/arm although it seems to have a mind of it’s own overnight as it starts off in one place and the next thing I know, it’s gone somewhere else and I have to try all over again to get it in a comfortable comfortable position. I don’t remember this problem last time I broke my arm – mind you, it was nearly 60 years ago but I do remember it meant I was relegated from school orchestra drummer to chief triangle position and never did regain my drumming position.
By now you will all have been and voted and got that task out of the way.
Today you are wondering what went wrong, aren’t you? Nobody got what they wanted for the first time in quite a while and the raw figures do not reflect the scale of the problem. The conservatives got more votes than any other political party and got more seats in Westminster than anyone else. If a proportional representation system had been in place rather than first past the post, would the result been any different, I ask myself (you don’t count). My answer is very unlikely which then makes you wonder what the future holds with no one party having a majority and the best hope at the moment is the DUP behave themselves along with all conservative MPs. Mrs May has met the Queen and intends to form a government.
Young Nigel appears to want to get involved with UKIP again just in case another election has to be held either in the autumn or, more likely, in the spring but does the country really want yet another trip to the village hall??
Enough of this rubbish and what about me! Well my wife let me out of her sight and surprise, surprise, I tried to get on my bike for some exercise only to promptly fall to the ground and at my age, a displaced fracture of the wrist radius was the result. After a lot of hospital visits, they decided that simply manipulating of the left distal radius might do the job. The operation was carried out yesterday and at the moment all I will say is that the local anaesthetic was an out of body experience but I didn’t feel a thing and we all heard it snap into place. All I will say at this time is I have one operational hand and the other has been mauled about, so an update in a few days when the political scene may be a little clearer.