Saturday 16 May 2009

A bonus for the taxpayer + decline and fall of Ronan Point

Maybe we, the people, are getting a bonus for a change. Yesterday Jack Straw, the alleged “Justice Secretary”, dropped his plans for secret inquests that might have allowed the government to suppress the truth about incidents like the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Mr Straw, of course, is rather hobbled at present after it was revealed that he had charged us taxpayers double the amount of council tax he was actually paying on his second home. With so many of Mr Straw’s “Labour” colleagues under a cloud, let’s hope they’re all feeling a little abashed. After Iraq, years of systematic destruction of our civil liberties, the invention of 3,000 new crimes, 24 hour drinking, super-casinos etc, “a period of inactivity from you would be most welcome”, as Clement Attlee, a real Labour politician, might have put it.

On this day....41 years ago, a section of a brand new 23-storey block of flats called Ronan Point in East London collapsed. One couple in their sixties were awoken by a dreadful ripping sound as their bedroom wall fell away, and they found themselves lying in bed two feet from an 80 foot drop.

It was caused by a gas leak and explosion on the 18th floor. Miraculously, only five people were killed, but the accident raised severe doubts about the industrial building system used at Ronan Point. The block was repaired and people were moved back in, but in 1986, it was demolished. For the full story, see The Disastrous History of London.

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