Grenfell Tower Fire
Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips, Anne McElvoy and Shiv Malik.
Rage is an understandable emotional reaction to the Grenfell tower fire. It's not just a response to the number of people who died or were severely injured and the many hundreds more who lost loved ones or have been evacuated from their homes in the area. It's when you look at the accounts of Kensington and Chelsea council that the emotion crystallises into something more morally troubling. In the last financial year the council had spendable reserves of more than £300 million and was running at such a profit it could afford to write off £1.5 million on subsidising Holland Park Opera. A sprinkler system for Grenfell tower would have cost around £200,000. Were those in Grenfell tower victims of the dogma of the free market - to which New Labour signed up along with the Conservative party - that has destroyed our sense of social obligation and the common good? If they were victims of bad government, is the answer more regulation? Or does "red tape" reduce morality and personal responsibility to a tick-box mentality? This Wednesday campaigners are planning what they call a "day of rage" to protest at the social injustice they say is at the heart of the tragedy. They are calling for people to "defy Tory rule". It's not hard to turn this tragedy into a political morality tale about rich and poor and it may even be understandable to do that, but is it a justifiable tactic when emotions are running so high? Anger is an energy that can be focused to achieve change, but it can also career out of control as we saw outside a mosque in north London this week. With3 recent major terrorist incidents and a fractured political climate you could argue that as a nation we're living through febrile emotional times. Do we all have a responsibility to choose our words carefully?