Tag Archives: Gavin Barwell

Grenfell Tower: A Question Of Management

The tragic, but avoidable fire at Grenfell Tower in Notting Dale, West London has raised a number of questions about the management of council properties, the quality of building materials and governmental oversight. We don’t know the actual cause of the fire as investigations have yet to be conducted. One thing is for certain, council tenants deserve a better deal and they’re not getting it.

Ask most council tenants who they want to manage their housing and they’ll almost always tell you “the council”. I used to work in housing and I spoke to many tenants, some of them were faced with having a Tenant (or Resident) Management Organisation (TMO/RMO) or ALMO (Arm’s Length Management Organisation) forced upon them. When I used to work for Lambeth, one estate, the Blenheim Gardens Estate was on the brink of being transferred. The tenants were being promised all sorts by the council and many of these promises came to nothing.  There are plans to transfer the estate to an Housing Association.

TMOs, RMOs and ALMOs tend to be a stepping stone to an eventual stock transfer to a housing association like Peabody, or a private property management company like Pinnacle. In either case, tenants get a raw deal. They may discover that the terms of their tenancies have changed or the quality of estate management declines.

Grenfell Tower is managed by Kensington and Chelsea TMO. Like the rest of Kensington and Chelsea’s housing stock it was transferred to the TMO in 1996.  The Grenfell Action Group have made numerous complaints to KCTMO about fire safety, which have all been ignored. The block itself has recently been refurbished at a cost of £8.7 million, but many believe that the quality of materials used for the building’s cladding are responsible for the blaze.

The Tory government  also failed to carry out a fire safety review of tower blocks. The minister responsible, Gavin Barwell, apparently “sat on the report”. The Independent reports:

Gavin Barwell failed to give the review the green light during his tenure as housing minister, despite it already having waited for years.

The fire expert behind a report calling for the desperately needed safety appraisal, said he had spoken to Mr Barwell earlier this year and the then-minister told him no decision on the review had been taken.

The bottom line is that councils will usually ignore the concerns of tenants in order to save money. Kensington & Chelsea Council is Tory-controlled, so it comes as no surprise that they transferred the management of their entire housing stock to KCTMO, who have been described as a ‘mini mafia’. Scum sucking parasites is what they are.

The Tories are no friends of council housing and Hammersmith and Fulham councillor, Harry Phibbs, sees tower blocks like Grenfell Tower as “vertical slums”.

During his time as mayor, Boris Johnson, closed fire stations. He was warned of the potential consequences.

The Tories must also take a large measure of the blame for failing to act when they had a chance, and for the cuts they’ve imposed on local authorities in the name of deficit reduction.

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Filed under Housing, London

Nazi Boy Burley in hot water over dodgy tweets

Aidan Burley. Just when you thought he was keeping his head down, up he pops. You just can’t keep a good Nazi down.  The Olympics Opening Ceremony wasn’t, it seems, to his liking. He tweeted,

Over at Torygraph blogs, James Kirkup was first up to defend Burley. He writes,

Danny Boyle’s take on British history, from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, via the suffrage movement and the Empire Windrush, did not please Mr Burley (or whoever is using his Twitter account). Nor did the focus on insitutions like the NHS.

I think we can safely say that it was Burley’s account because he later tries to appear contrite.

The fingers type the words but the brain isn’t engaged.

I found this tweet from a young ‘nationalist’ follower who offers his support,

Hmmm, great.

ITV News live feed says that senior Tories have distanced themselves from Nazi Boy’s tweets. Fellow Tory MP, Gavin Barwell was quick to slap him down.

Nowhere Towers thinks the opening ceremony for the 1936 Munich Olympics would have been more to Burley’s taste.

UPDATE: 28/7/12 @ 1125

Every time Burley opens his mouth he digs a deeper hole for himself. This is from ITV News.

He think that “it was all rather clichéd about multiculturalism” though he accepts he could have phrased his tweets better.

But in comments that could further annoy, he wondered “why there was the huge, disproportionate focus on rap music when it is a small part of multiculturalism.”

Keep digging, Nazi Boy, we’re loving this. We also hope your French is good because where you’re going, you’re going to be needing it.

UPDATE: 28/7/12 @ 2336

Here’s Burley being interviewed on Sky News.  He refuses to accept responsibility and instead chooses to deflect attention from his odious views.

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Filed under Internet, Media, Television