We can't resume posting here without marking the terrible fire which destroyed the Grenfell Tower flats in North Kensington, early in the morning of Wednesday 14 June. Scores have died in the most horrifying circumstances; hundreds have lost their homes.
We're shocked by the devastation, and angered that the needs and demands of residents – poor people living in sight of some of the wealthiest in the country – seem to have weighed so little with the agencies that owned and managed the flats (respectively, Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council and the private Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization).
We fear that disregard was the consequence of nearly 40 years of the deprecation of council housing, and the outsourcing of its management, in a context of marketizing neoliberal politics and soaring inequality. It's in that context that in 2016, investment in Grenfell Tower could mean fitting fashionable (but flammable) cladding for the benefit of its neighbours, rather than improving its safety for residents.