Sunday 18 June 2017

Exposing the copy n' paste Tory lies about the Grenfell fire

The widely accepted narrative from the 2017 General Election is that the Tories didn't romp to victory as they expected to because they were completely routed on the social media battleground.

The response of Tories to this absolute drubbing isn't to reflect on what they were doing wrong, but to double-down on it, hence the absolute bombardment of copy n' paste pro-Tory lies that has been inspired by the likes of Raheem Kassam of Breitbart London.

I've already written a post exposing the outright lies about the Grenfell tower fire that Raheem Kassam blared onto Twitter, and in this post I'm going to break down a a copy n' paste Tory propaganda post that has been smeared onto my page several times by several different right-wing activists over the last couple of days which claims to be "the facts".

I'll go through it point by point to show what a despicable and devious pack of lies and misrepresentations it actually is:

1 - the block of flats was run not by any council but by KCTMO. This body is made up of 8 TENANTS, 4 councilors and 3 independent members.
The block is run by KCTMO but the management committee includes 8 residents, which includes both tenants and leaseholders. The local council still retains control over the budget of the organisation.
2 - Labour hold the seat that the block is situated in.
Labour does indeed hold the local council seat in which Grenfell tower is situated, but that's just one of seven Labour seats on the council (40 Tory, 7 Labour, 3 Lib-Dem). Noting that the tower block is in one of the very few non-Tory wards in Kensington and Chelsea is an obvious distraction tactic.
3 - Labour run the London Council who manage the under funded London Fire Service
As noted above Kensington and Chelsea council is a Tory controlled council, and has been a Tory controlled council since its inception in 1964. 
The idea that Kensington and Chelsea council manage the fire services of the entire city of London is transparent nonsense. Why would anyone bother to invent such a ludicrous lie? How could anyone expect others to be thick enough to believe such a ludicrous lie?
The reason London's fire service is underfunded is not because the (Tory controlled) Kensington and Chelsea council cut it (!!!) but because the Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson imposed savage austerity cuts, including the closure of 10 London fire stations in one fell swoop
4 - incidentally Emma Coad the sitting Labour MP for that ward also sat on the KCTMO.
Emma Coad was only elected as the Labour MP on June 8th 2017, just days before the fire. 
Before that the Tory MP for Kensington was Victoria Borwick (who lobbied Theresa May to drop David Cameron's ban on the ivory trade from the 2017 Tory manifesto instead of lobbying her to follow the expert advice and ban flammable cladding on high rise buildings).
Coad was on the board of KCTMO until 2012 when she resigned. She left long before any refurbishments to Grenfell tower were made. Coad's time on the board was before the residents fire safety concerns were repeatedly raised and ignored by the organisation
5 - the advice to stay put which Sadiq Khan has been so vocal about was given by the London Fire Service.
It is true that fire service advice to high rise tenants is often to remain within their properties, but had the fire authorities known that the private contractors had cut corners by cladding the entire building in flammable plastic, I'm pretty sure they would have issued very different advice.
6 - the decision to change contractors during the refurb was made by KCTMO.
The decision to outsource so much refurbishment work to unaccountable subcontractors and sub-subcontractors was a total mess. At the top of the pyramid of responsibility was still the Tory controlled local council which had to sign off on the bills.
7 - the decision not to spend a paltry £138k on fitting sprinklers again KCTMO.
Who knows where this £138,000 spend on sprinklers comes from? The building wasn't fitted with sprinklers (despite a succession of Tory housing ministers spending four years sitting on a report calling for sprinklers in tower blocks to avoid a repeat of the Lakanal fire in 2009).
8 - the decision to create ALMO organisation such as the KCTMO was made under the Right To Manage legislation passed in 2002 as part of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.
This is an outright lie. KCTMO was founded on April 1st 1996 by the Conservative council at the tail end of John Major's Conservative government.
9 - this was put in place to give leasehold tenants a greater say and the ability to self manage, which has clearly proven to be a disaster.
Is this really a right-winger implying that renationalisation of all the council housing that has been carved up and given away to private management companies would be a good idea? If it is, it would be a total reversal of the last four decades of hard-right neoliberal housing policy.
10 - and which Govt was in a charge when this law was passed? Yup you guessed it Labour.
Another outright lie. As mentioned above KCTMO was founded in 1996 by a Tory council, under a Tory government.
11 - Sadiq Khan as mayor of London Produced a report to say that the fire service did not need further funding.
A spectacular misrepresentation: Sadiq Khan produced a report as housing minister on funding in 2008; 9 years ago! He became Mayor in 2016. In November 2008 on public record Khan said: "We are committed to sustainable funding for all fire and rescue authorities"  before pointing out that Labour made significant investments in the fire service: "I have the figures for the past 10 years, and interestingly the smallest increase was 1.9 per cent. in 1998-99, when we were tied to Conservative spending limits. From then on, there have been increases of 3.9 per cent., 5.4 per cent., 6.2 per cent., 7.3 per cent., 6 per cent. and 4.9 per cent". So funding went up under Labour. 
Since becoming mayor in 2016 Khan has said "no more cuts to London Fire Brigade" and supported Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto which included a funding increase for the UK fire services and the hiring of 3,000 extra fire fighters.
12 -Emma Coad elected Labour MP was on the board of the Tenant Management group who are being accused of not listening to tenants.
This is a lazy repetition of the misrepresentation from point 4, she was on the board but resigned in 2012. 
It's also worth noting that points 4 & 12 are essentially the same thing, and that points 8, 9 and 10 are three strands of the same lie. It doesn't reflect well on whoever made this list that they padded it out so pathetically. 
It reflects even more poorly on the pro-Tory copy n' paste disinformation merchants that they read this pack of lies and misrepresentations and failed to even notice that several of the points were lazy repetitions.

The conclusion is that right-wingers are extremely rattled. They can see that they're losing the social media battle, but instead of changing their tactics to adopt a more fact-based approach to debate, they're trying to flood social media with an absolute barrage of lies about a horrific tragedy in a pathetic attempt to absolve their beloved Tories of blame.

Be warned. These people are feeling cornered and they will spread the most extreme and brazen lies in order to defend their beloved right-wing agendas of flogging off UK public infrastructure, vandalising our public services, devaluing our wages, and ensuring a massive upwards redistribution of wealth.

Tory sympathisers can see they're getting routed on social media so they're determined to render the battlefield unusable by turning it into a Trump-style shit-show of lies, distortions, distractions and abuse.

So be careful what you believe on social media. If it's not backed up by reliable sources then either disregard it, or search out the truth for yourself.

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