Grenfell Tower and the Dignity Debate.

It is almost two weeks since the Grenfell Tower tragedy occurred, a horrific incident that shocked the nation and dominated the news headlines. But ever since this disaster happened, a weird kind of narrative has begun to rear its ugly head. The narrative of ‘respectability politics.’

Some people started commenting on the behaviour of the survivors and the families of those affected, saying that they were not showing enough ‘dignity’. Oh, where do I begin with this…

This is not a time for people to engage in the social and political football of respectability politics. These people are angry, in shock and devastated beyond belief. They have lost their families (entire generations in some cases), their friends, neighbours, everything that they worked for, everything they own including their identities because their passports or ID were destroyed in the blaze. I heard people say that the people affected should ‘think logically’. I have never heard such nonsense in my life. All these people judging the survivors and demanding that they show dignity and be rational while they watch sitting on their sofas is downright insulting. 

Not everything in life requires a dignified response

People use the word ‘dignity’ as a way to patronise and guilt-trip others so that they tone down their reaction, as if they are less worthy of notice if they shout. Dignity is a good thing in certain circumstances, but who are these armchair commentators to tell those who have lost loved ones and everything they know and care about how to exercise self-control? 

The desire to be dignified causes people to react in different ways. It often hinders their natural response because they feel like they have to show that they calm and collected, almost professional. There seems to be a shift over recent years where you cannot show anger about something (even when that reaction is more than justified) as it demonstrates a lack of self-control. Since when did we become robots? 

Furthermore, people from certain backgrounds or demographics have to be careful as anger might get them killed- look at what happened to Eric Garner or Philando Castile. 

I’m tired of the opinion that, in order to be heard or taken seriously, you have to look and behave a certain way. Sometimes, people approach situations with dignity and respect and still get patronised and ignored in equal measure. When the community around Grenfell Tower marched down to Kensington Town Hall the Friday after the fire, some commentators muttered disapprovingly at their actions. Those people need their heads checked to see where their empathy disappeared to (up their backsides, maybe?).

Imagine seeing your whole life reduced to a smoking shell. All your family and friends gone. All you own are the clothes on your back. You look at what used to be your home and are haunted by the events that preceded it. You’re suffering from ‘survivor’s guilt’, traumatised and weary and wanting to burst into tears at any moment but you can’t because you need to keep hoping that all is not lost. And in the aftermath, not one council member came to visit or provide assistance until much, much later. Everything is being done through voluntary and community outlets, not the actual council that hoovers up their council tax every month without fail. Communication is key. Talk to those directly affected face-to-face, not via a carefully-worded statement on BBC News. Don’t do what Theresa May did. 


Yes, they could have been sorting accommodation- but then these are the same people who still have not put together a list of residents who lived in Grenfell Tower. Nearly a fortnight after the fire and the official word is that 79 people died- but there is still no definitive residents list. Despite being told there are no more survivors, people are still desperately hoping to find their loved ones alive. But it is highly unlikely and what’s worse, it is like they never existed. Ironically, they are given no dignity in death because the powers that be are not acknowledging their existence. But some armchair commentators will continue to carry on telling people how to grieve and how to behave. It needs to stop. 

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Theresa May: A Rant.

Theresa May is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Six weeks ago, she announced a general election and since then, she appears to have discovered her dislike for debates. 

She refused to participate in televised debates with other party leaders- the only one she has done so far is the one-on-one conversation with Jeremy Paxman and (carefully selected) members of the public. Now she has refused to appear on Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 tomorrow, sending Justine Greening instead. 

This woman is supposed to be the Prime Minister. She should be fighting off all-comers and taking everyone on. Her team should be preparing her for these verbal battles like a prize fighter. She should be the one shouting, ‘Oo wants some?!’ at her opponents and calling them out. She called the bloody election, after all. To see her shirking her responsibilities and ducking and diving debates in her role as leader of the damn country is astounding. The nerve


Why should anyone trust her? As Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The first rule of leadership is to show up. You don’t call an election and then not show up for a debate.” Or in other words: don’t shit where you eat.

By avoiding almost every debate, I feel May is disrespecting the British public whose vote she depends on to get back in at 10 Downing Street. She’s fast proving to be a slippery, duplicitous politician who is a leader in name only. This is someone who said she was not going to call an election before 2020 because there was no need. All of a sudden, she changed tack and called one so she can solidify her grasp on the country and do whatever she likes if she wins.  

Jeremy Corbyn rocked up on Woman’s Hour the other day and was torn to shreds by the presenter. It did not sound like a pleasant experience but the point is he put himself out there and turned up, even if the end result wasn’t quite as he’d hoped. May is sending her lackeys to events that she (and I’ll say it again for the people in the back- AS PRIME MINISTER) should be doing. Her excuse is she is going around Britain meeting the public and ‘thinking about Brexit.’ Absolute bollocks. The public that she meets are specially selected like fine cuts of meat. Anyone remotely dissenting is turfed out of sight and mind. 

When she is asked a question she skirts around it and never actually answers it. We all know most politicians do this, but she takes it to another level. She is taking the piss out of her own people- and the worst bit is they will still turn out in their droves and vote for her waffle and bullshit. 


Is she taking things for granted? Possibly. When she called the election it took most by surprise and at the time she was streets ahead of Corbyn. Six weeks on and it’s anyone’s game. 

I have seen numerous commentators say that she’s not obliged to go to these debates. Yes, that is the case and the one on the BBC last night was rather shambolic, but still- she is the Prime Minister. She is supposed to be fronting up on television telling us why we should be voting for her and her party, not hiding in a bush until the latest debate carnival rolls out of town. Most people do not want to hear from her deputy or other party members, they want to hear from her. May drones on about ‘strong and stable’ government and every other word she says is ‘Brexit’, but is too weak to go on national television for two hours and talk about the topics that matter? Does she have that little faith in her ability, or is she being arrogant? She’s the one wielding the power but keeps sending lackeys in to do her work. She has been rightfully lambasted on social media for how she has run her campaign but it feels like it’s been swept under the carpet by certain media outlets. She wasn’t even at the BBC debate and those ‘media outlets’ berated the Beeb for a ‘left wing bias’. Seriously? 


No matter who you support in this election (or even if you’re still on the fence) there is no doubt that her behaviour in bailing out of nearly every debate smacks of rudeness and is an insult to the public and maybe she will fall flat on her face come June 8th.