johnm wrote:I think the real issue we face behind all this is the triumph of form over substance. In government both local and central, but especially local, it's about two things closely related:
Avoidance of accountability
Outcome is quite low on the list.
Professionals be they engineers, planners, building control, social workers, teachers etc. etc. are either constrained by management who are scared of their own shadows or outsourced into a tightly controlled contract seeking to minimise expenditure rather than deliver service quality.
They are also driven by simpleminded targets, that are mostly counterproductive.
It's a mess and it's getting worse not better.
The Emperor is naked and we need a regiment of tailors urgently.
That may be an opinion of the public sector in general but it's not especially relevant to Grenfell. There's no simpleminded target that says "install flammable cladding if it's cheaper". There is a minima that says 'don't install flammable cladding'. The only big mystery about Grenfell is how a fire propagated around the outside of a building. The outcome is at the very top of the list - build something that is safe and functional, in other words something that is legal. Cost only comes after that, and minimal cost is quite rightly a valid consideration where the legal minima are met.
We'd all like simple solutions and somebody with malicious intent to arrest and lock up immediately, but these incidents seem to have lots of subtle component parts that come together. I knew the club secretary (equivalent to CEO nowadays) at Sheffield Wednesday when the disaster happened at Hillsborough as our wives worked together. I remember something said back then; "I didn't go to work that morning to kill anybody". Tragically the consequences of doing his day to day job have put him in the dock - he's being made very accountable and might be going to jail. I also know the structural engineer who has escaped trial, and I know the reputation of his boss (now dead) and can see why failures might have happened because of human factors. My father was a police constable on duty on the day it's fair to say that the rank and file had certain opinions about certain senior officers. A couple of Liverpool supporting friends were on Leppings Lane without tickets that day and they say that it was the normal thing for them to do back then in case they could get inside. Different people's holes lined up in the cheese and 96 people died at Hillsborough that wouldn't have if just one of holes had been absent.
Grenfell will be the same as Hillsborough. The layers of tragedy are just shocking including for the people who made mistakes and I think they all deserve better a better outcome, or epitaph in the case of the dead, than trite media or political observations that insinuate simple malicious intent.