1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

An accusation too far?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nomad, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Stephen Lawrence's mother has been accused of making a "disgraceful and unfair slur" after claiming that firefighters tackling the Grenfell Tower blaze were racist.

    Doreen Lawrence, whose 18-year-old son was murdered by a gang of racists in south-east London in 1993, said she has "no doubt" the response to the inferno that killed 72 people was motivated by racism.

    "Had that been a block full of white people, they’d have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they did what they needed to do," she said, in an interview with Channel 4 News last week.

    Her claims, strongly refuted by London Fire Brigade (LFB), were described as "misjudged and insulting" by the Police Federation's Chairman John Apter.

    He wrote on Twitter: "A disgraceful and unfair slur on Firefighters who put their own lives on the line to save as many people as they could."

    While I can accept that some of the fire brigade's actions and advice was inappropriate, including the controversial ‘stay put’ policy which led firefighters to tell people to remain in their homes, I feel very uncomfortable with the accusations of racism. After all, many of the firefighters themselves were of colour.
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I think that the question should be asked as to whether the social status of the residents had anything to do with the Stay Put policy in those blocks.
    I seem to recall that a private high rise block in London caught fire after the Grenfell fire and every resident was safely evacuated within a short period of time. That block did not have a Stay Put protocol.
    Who decides on Stay Out or not and what criteria do they use?
    FrankWolley likes this.
  3. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I'm sure most people have a view on this tragedy, many have been voiced here before, we are all tainted by our experiences and sometimes this shows in our comments, I expect unless there is substantiated evidence to suggest she is correct that this is simply her personal view to which she is entitled as we all are... If this is the case it should be treated as such, nothing more, nothing less.
    border_walker likes this.
  4. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Unless the fire brigade decide to take it to court.
  5. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I think her comment is unfair on the fire service personnel who served that dreadful night. From the reports I have seen those firefighters were extremely brave and risked life and limb. They were hampered by a lack of information and a situation not faced before. Hopefully lessons learned. Plus the "stay put" policy's failure has been highlighted.
    Alice K, knitone, peter12171 and 5 others like this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As she didn't name an individual (or individuals), surely she can't be sued for slander or libel? And if not for that, under what law would they 'take it to court'?

    NB Jubilee, post #2 above, makes good points, IMHO.
  7. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    As the daughter of a fireman,I'm so sorry she feels that way.
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    As I understand it, the advice depends on the construction of the building. If the internal walls, floors and doors are designed to withstand a fire for a given time, the advice is to stay put. I don't think it is anything to do with private v. council tenants. After all, some of the Grenfell flats had been sold to private tenants.
  9. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    This might help:

    nomad likes this.
  10. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Maybe because it happened after Grenfell... after...
    nizebaby, Lalad, nomad and 2 others like this.
  11. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Largely true, but it also depends on the age of the building. The regulations on building safety changed around the turn of the millenium. The estate I manage had a fire risk assessment carried out in 2014 which identified that although the walls, floors and doors would withstand a fire for 30 minutes, the compartmentation was inadequate to prevent the spread of smoke and potentially toxic fumes.

    You'd be surprised by how many gaps there are in the walls of a block of flats caused by the need to have services such as gas, electricity and water, fire alarms and in a block such as mine, emergency call alarms.

    A fire door won't burn down within its rated time, but it needs intumescent strips all around it and a fire-rated letterbox to prevent the ingress of smoke.

    Then there's the ventilation fans in the kitchens and bathrooms, which extract the air into communal ducting...
    TCSC47 likes this.
  12. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Yet after Grenfell those blocks that had Stay Put protocols were told that they still applied. The private block that I mentioned never had Stay Put.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Sorry, I don't feel quite right about accusing Baroness Lawrence of unfair comment.

    I'm sure she's issued far more damning phrases over the years, by necessity,and I won't leap on this one just because it's been hauled up and augmented by the Twittersphere.

    If you look hard enough, you can find the complete transcript of the channel 4 interview-she talks at length about how the block came to be inhabited in the first place by predominantly minority ethnic families and single people. She talks of the infrastructure, the regulations, the costing, the profit, the lack of care. And she also talks of the lack of care for the bereaved within those same minorities,the disadvantage they start from. She paints a lucid picture of systemic failure against a community which is black. And so came the comment about putting the fire out. Doing what you can to get people out includes actually knowing who was in there. They didn't. And the response in aftercare involves rehousing and bereavement counselling. Which did not happen soon enough.

    She is a cogent speaker and has an OBE for services to the community. If you see the interview, it makes more sense that a quote in isolation.
    But I guess people like quotes. They are laden with isolated contention, and far easier to hold true than taking time to take a deeper look at the context...far easier to get Twitter all riled up,which essentially is all that happened here.
    Jamvic, emerald52, cissy3 and 3 others like this.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    But after Grenfell no-one in authority would insist on people staying in the block. The people themselves would also leave the block pretty damn quick.
  15. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I had a google for a 'private block' fire but I can't find any mention of it. Can you link to the story so the discussion can be about the actual event and not a theoretical...
    nomad likes this.
  16. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Why... after Grenfell... would anyone Stay Put? Whether there was a policy or not.

    Oh no Deidre, we might burn to death like those folks in Grenfell. Should we flee?
    No Harold, remember the policy!
  17. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I have listened to every one of the broadcasts of the Grenfell inquiry ( so far) . It has focussed, so far, only on what happened on the night of the fire, and thus on the fire service.

    As I listened , I became increasingly of the view that the order of topics ( ie structural , regulatory issues, the role of commercial companies and their testimony are yet to come) meant that any shortcomings of the fire service could be used by other legal representatives to exonerate companies, govt policy, housing protocols etc. and divert blame onto the fire service.

    I cannot question the wider issues Dame Lawrence raises (as quoted by skrobson) i.e. housing policy, inappropriate investment in public housing, the role of agencies in aftercare etc - but I’m not sure how these demonstrate racism on the part of the fire service. ie the fire service which had no role in carrying out fire safety inspections ( these are done on behalf of the construction companies) nor uptodate information about the layout of the building or even floor numbers or knowledge of changes to construction , nor even access to the lift to get them to the upper floors

    If you haven’t already done so, I commend this podcast to further understanding of the the events of that night.

    The inquiry reconvenes next year.
  18. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    That is correct, but from what I've heard shoddy maintenance and alterations meant that the safety standards relating to doors, walls, etc had been eroded. I guess we wont know until the enquiry is completed.
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It doesn't!
    This is precisely what I referred to in my post. That because one chap in the fire service scratched and inflamed twitter with indignation, many many people are up in arms against her for slating the fire service.
    This is where it becomes hliarious-she didn't. Shes did not say that the fire service delivered a racist response
    This whole thread and much of public opinion is so easily misled by reporting rather than curious about looking into it. This story became something because John Apter used Twitter to give voice to what actually did go right in the procedure,and that was the fire service response.
    But if you took the time to find out what he was responding to, (which people in this thread clearly have not) you'll find her comments were about the protracted and inadequate handling of the surviving residents after the fire happened.

    The fire service response is similar to if a parent said "Education in this country is rubbish" and then a teacher responded "That's just so anti-teacher! i do an incredibly hard job you know". Next day "PARENT HATES TEACHERS!!!" in the paper.

    That kind of false reporting is embodied in this thread.

    Baroness Lawrence did not call the fire service racist. It's a non story.

    In fact, it's such a non story that it does not feature in todays news, despite the Twitterbluster pomposity of it yesterday. Despite OP thinking they'd like to start a thread on it.

    (it is interesting that some responders in this thread have been quick to regard Social Media platforms with disdain in other threads, yet manifestly buy into it when it comes to what they believe to be news content)
  20. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Then who is she referring to here?...

    "Had that been a block full of white people, they’d have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they did what they needed to do," she said, in an interview with Channel 4 News last week.


    Who else has the responsibility to get people out of a burning building?
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    xmal and border_walker like this.

Share This Page