Once again as I tried to get some work done this afternoon, I fell into a deep sleep. This might be just my life now, but hopefully it will pass when I am not trying to get so much done. Afternoon deep sleeps don’t make you feel good and this jet-lagged feeling is all the bad side of going on a holiday without any of the going on holiday. But I am not going to fight it. This is going to be a tough month and it hasn’t even started yet, so I need to recharge the batteries where I can.
But it had been a busy morning including a visit to the Bush Theatre to meet up with local residents and artists to talk about responses to the Grenfell Tower disaster. I am pleased (and unsurprised) to see that people are not going to let this go and there were some interesting speeches by lawyers and especially fire fighters about what can be done next and what were the causes for this. The fire fighters were especially impressive. In some ways they were just regular blokes: down to earth and matey, but of course, they are also extraordinary. They didn’t need to go into any details of the things that they have witnessed in their jobs for us to know that they must have seen unspeakable horrors and they did talk of the fact that therapy was available for them after an event like this. But one of them said he was able to just put the stuff he’d seen into a different box in his head and carry on. Looking into his eyes I wasn’t sure he was 100% correct, but fucking hell, how could anyone really cope with even the hints of the stuff that he was telling us about.
You can not help but be in awe of their incredible bravery and dedication. It’s astonishing that we are happy to let them be poorly paid, poorly equipped and have stations shut down. It might not have made much difference in this case - it’s apparently not practical to have the huge engines necessary to get people down from high floors in London due to narrow streets and poor access and although firefighters have breathing equipment, there is no way they could have got people down 15 flights of stairs through smoke to safety (beyond possibly having a supply of scuba style breathing apparatus that fits in the mouth). But once again, this lack of support seems like an insane risk for everyone. Whilst it’s true that a devastating fire like this is more likely to hit the poor and disenfranchised, fires can still happen to anyone anytime and so even Boris Johnson is gambling with his life in order to save money.
How ludicrous is our society that we revere the rich, the famous and give politicians the power and money, when it’s men and women like these (and our medical professionals and police officers) who put so much on the line for us. I don’t know how anyone can claim to be patriotic and not think that this situation is insane. Because I don’t claim to be that patriotic (as grateful as I am to live in this country and as proud as I am of many of the things we have achieved) and I just don’t see how we can let this go. Even out of the self-interest of not being burned to death.
If, like me, you feel that there isn’t much you can do in the face of a huge tragedy like this, then perhaps what you can do is to show support for the people who risk their lives and their sanity to save us if we’re unlucky enough to get caught up in something like this. Write to your MP and go to the public meetings where this stuff is discussed and make your views be heard. Or if you see a firefighter then say thank you to them.