Sunday, 2 July 2017

The numbers that don't add up.

On Sunday I actually drove up to London to see some old comrades and friends; a wonderful afternoon of good conversation and memories of many old struggles.

It's a very long drive for me these days, even on a Sunday when the roads are normally quiet. By mid afternoon I was starting to lose it big time, even with the help of a couple of pills.

The drive home was a nightmare - endless traffic jams and constantly stopping and starting, changing gear over and over again. It was agony.

Then we drove past Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill and Robyn took a couple of pictures of Grenfell Tower on her phone.

The burnt out wreck dominates the skyline.

It's a miracle how anyone survived and the questions continue to mount up.

Early on, the singer Lilly Allen stated in a Channel Four interview that the real figure for the people who died in the block was 150 instead of the official 79. She was criticised and had an interview scheduled for the 'News Night' programme on BBC2 shelved.

Since then two independent demographers have separately been interviewing survivors to work out the numbers of people living in the block and how many have survived.

These demographers have produced estimates for fatalities which range from 103 to 150. Not a million miles away from Lilly Allen who came up with her figure after talking to Firemen and Police Officers 'Off the Record' at the scene.

No one is criticising the Fire and Police services for not identifying bodies - that is going to take time and considerable effort.

But refusing to give estimates of the numbers lost sounds like a cover up - they must have a good idea by now after going thorough the building.

We all accept that there are people who will never be identified and others for whom no trace may ever be found.

But we are all adults and we need to know the numbers involved. Clearly these will range from 150 upwards and we need to have those figures now.

Any suspicion that the authorities are hiding the true extent of this tragedy is likely to rebound of them many times over when the full figure is known.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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