Grenfell is the end result of long standing Tory disregard for anybody not rich and their desire to get rid of anything that stands in the way of making money:
Prime Minister David Cameron today said that his new year’s resolution was to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”.
Health and safety legislation has become an “albatross around the neck of British businesses”, costing them billions of pounds a year and leaving entrepreneurs in fear of speculative claims, he said.
He announced plans to cap the amount which can be earned by lawyers from small-value personal injury claims against employers and to reduce overall costs in cases funded by “no-win no-fee” deals.
And he revealed he has asked the Health and Safety Executive to bring forward to the end of 2012 its timetable for abolishing or consolidating up to half of all existing regulations.
And it worked. The refurbishment of the Grenfell tower to improve the view of its rich neighbours managed to save a whole 5000 pounds by not having to use fire resistant cladding. But let’s forget that and just harass the guy who might have had a faulty fridge in his flat…
Reviewing two new books on the UK involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Robert Fox draws some conclusions as why these campaigns became the mess they were:
The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were planned to be short and sharp. In the end they were neither. British troops became an occupation force, fighting a difficult guerrilla war while attempting reconstruction and nation building, tasks which none expected and for which none was trained. The human terrain was tricky, impacted, tribal and clan communities where the most profitable line of business was criminality.
In both Iraq and Afghanistan the UK forces tried to do too much with too little – and the conspiracy of events and politics in Whitehall, Westminster, and at the Joint HQ at Northwood kept it that way. Given the resources available in the British defence machine, running the two campaigns at the same time should never have been attempted. Yet the Chief of the Defence Staff of the day, General Sir Michael Walker, assured the prime minister that his forces were well up to the twin tasks.
I hate to say I told you so, but: we told you so. All those unrealistic antiwar protestors, accused of defeatism and appeasement and everything else up to treason, who didn’t see the clear task the UK had in Afghanistan and Iraq? We were right. Nothing good has come of British involvement there (or any other country’s for that matter) and it has only led to a decade and a half of worsening conditions in the Middle East as a whole.
Be honest: isn’t there anybody who’d not like to trade the Middle East as it is now for how it was on September 12, 2001?
Philip Oltermann in the Grauniad talks about the failure of British diplomacy in Berlin:
The Netherlands, rather than Germany, should be the country for Britain to emulate in this respect. In Holland, as in the UK, eastern Europeans are usually not recruited directly by local employers, but often via rogue employment agencies who provide little security and support for workers when their contracts terminate. Since 2009, Dutch and Polish authorities have been cooperating closely to try to licence such agencies in order to stop Poles from getting stranded in unemployment.
In Berlin, I heard countless British diplomats moan about their government’s tendency to put all its eggs in one basket in order to win the big prize, while other countries were more willing to accept that EU diplomacy is a constant give and take. In fact, all Britain needs to do is to remind itself of a simple traditional British virtue: teamwork.
I’d say the UK’s problem of engagement with Europe is twofold. First, there’s still the inflated sense of self importance getting in the way. Unlike even France and Germany, Britain has never really had to had to deal with other countries as equal in Europe and so sucks at it. Second, and more importantly, there are the domestic political realities getting in the way of proper diplomacy. Even under Labour it was often politically inconvenient to genuinely engage with Europe, let alone under a coalition government at least half of which doesn’t believe in Europe.