Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Do you recall 2016? It was popularly regarded as being rather a bad year, although looking back it seems like a simpler, happier time. Sure quite a lot of famous people seemed to die at the time, including a number of cultural icons, but back then the Tories had won a majority for the first time in a generation, the SNP had yet to redefine a generation and Labour were led by a man that all right thinking people considered would justifiably doom them to oblivion for a generation. In truth 2017 has just continued the trend that 2016 started and added a few more nasty and even grisly shocks on top, including a general election we didn't need to call to cap the unnecessary referendum.
Looking back, the current febrile atmosphere could be discerned in that referendum that David Cameron didn't need to cal had he called the bluff of his EU interlocutors rather than sided with them against his own people. The peoples of the world have reacted with disdain to the elites of the world, sometimes understandably and other times considerably less so. Typically the French have elected someone who managed to sit astride both camps as an outsider who seems to want to turn himself into a new Napoleon. He probably thinks that the Eroica is his personal anthem.
In Britain a substantial chronically ill-educated subset of the population imagines that Chauncey and his gang of anarcho-syndicalists are the answer to the nation's ills. They seem to have come to this conclusion because he dresses differently, speaks softly and promises lots of stuff with other people's money. He promises to end austerity. What he means is that he is wont to go on an unprecedented spending spree, something that is a long way removed from merely reversing austerity. And quite what giving students free money has to do with ending austerity is anyone's guess. Anyway, Chauncey's breakthrough moment seems to be traced back to his having hugged someone after a disaster. Because that is the sort of thing one needs in a leader. Obviously.
And when did we all start emoting? What happened to British stiff upper lip?
The fallout from the Grenfell fire is still continuing and yet I for one no longer understand why. This is not the same as saying that we are wrong to be concerned, merely wondering why the hysteria has still not subsided. A very difficult situation has been made worse by political grandstanding and brazen lies allied to some egregious malfeasance on top of the other problems we think we are now beginning to understand pending an official inquiry and criminal investigation. Grenfell Tower was full of people who had no right to be there and yet the authorities are still getting it in the neck because they have struggled to identify and name victims. Offers of new accommodation have nevertheless been made to residents, who are turning them down whilst demanding that an inquiry becomes an inquisition under the chairmanship of someone they deem acceptable.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick is a fine and estimable lawyer whose career to date has been excellent preparation for the rigorous inquiry that is being demanded. He will be able to marshal the facts quickly and efficiently and get to grips with the many competing laws and regulations that seem to have contributed to the confusion and official torpor that led to this tragedy. British courts are world renowned for the fair and impartial way that they deal with complex and abstruse technical language and issues. It is one of our great exports to the world and is, incidentally, one of the reasons why the EU's objections to our courts rather than the ECJ looking after its citizens is the purest bunkum. But the residents of Grenfell, both legitimate and otherwise, should have no worries that their case will be investigated without fear or favour. In truth many don't. It is those who are scoring political points rather than the making the pursuit of the truth their main aim that are mostly to blame for that. It is a product of our times, of this current suspicion of the ruling elite, even those who have become part of the elite after a lifetime of having proven themselves entirely worthy of that status. Sir Martin is a highly educated, white lawyer who has never lived in a tower block. That is apparently a knock out argument.
Which brings us on to the facile and infuriating case of little Charlie Gard who was born with bad luck, bad genes and rather stupid parents whose only excuse for their behaviour is their understandable grief. But they should have been offered counselling and care rather than the indulgence of the courts and the already thinly stretched NHS. This is another product of this age of entitlement, of suspecting everyone and trusting nobody. The doctors and other healthcare specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a great icon of British healthcare, a tertiary level centre of excellence on a par with the best in the world, to which many international patients are brought on a regular basis for its cutting edge care, are of the honestly held opinion based on their experience and the latest science, that Charlie is now no longer alive in any true sense of the word. He is suffering, probably in great pain and should be allowed to die by having treatment withdrawn. This is an opinion that is difficult for the parents to accept. But it is a good faith opinion offered once again without fear or favour. It has been tested by judges and lawyers and they have all concurred in that opinion.
As I say, the only excuse for the behaviour of the parents is that they are in denial and are grieving because deep down they know that their beloved son that they never really got to know properly, is lost to them. But the behaviour of others leaping on to this bandwagon is beneath contempt. Donald Trump we might expect this of. The Vatican and others should be deeply ashamed of themselves. This is not morality. This is putting your idiotic and irrational beliefs ahead of the suffering of a tiny dying child.
The greatest failing here is that our rulers are now terrified to rule, are worried that the mob will come for them. On the Grenfell fire disaster and its irrational fallout to this forlorn child whose parents cannot let him go, in this age of emoting nobody will take charge and call a halt. Start the inquiry under this eminently qualified judge and have him lead it as he sees fit. Tell the parents of Charlie that they are being ill used by bad people and that they have to let go. But stop indulging this tide of idiocy. Emotions are not something we need in leaders precisely because it is this kind of chaos that emotions lead to. That is why we deal with facts, science, the law and we deal with this carefully, rigorously and without hugs. Enough!