Instant Opinion

‘The trauma of the Grenfell bereaved is made worse by a lack of finality’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Idman Omar at Gal-Dem

Remembering Grenfell: five years on and still no justice

on ‘immeasurable frustration’

Today marks five years since the fire at Grenfell Tower claimed 72 people’s lives. “Survivors and former residents have been left traumatised, constantly reminded of the government’s neglect,” writes Idman Omar at gal-dem. “Never has there been such a stark reminder of death in London.” A green heart still hangs over the tower, “a haunting skeleton; a representation of pending restitution”. The tower’s silhouette “hovers like an upright tomb in the London skyline” as the inquiry into the events of 14 June 2017 continues. There’s “conflict” over the future of the structure. “Valid and heartfelt suggestions from the community” have been made. But a decision has been “postponed for months, and the delay has become a reminder of negligence”. Omar says: “The bereaved are dealing with trauma made worse by a lack of finality,” and the “frustration is immeasurable”. And while it’s not known what will happen to “the land Grenfell occupies”, we do know “what once occurred there will forever be in our hearts”.

2

Darren Lewis in The Mirror

Katharine Birbalsingh is a Tory’s dream teacher, telling kids to stay in their lane

on education advice

Katharine Birbalsingh has always been an acquired taste,” writes The Mirror’s assistant editor, Darren Lewis. There are “examples all over the country” of people who have “defied” barriers of race and class “to climb the ladder” – and “they are the perfect antidote to Birbalsingh”, the government’s new social mobility tsar. “She believes society should stop obsessing about ‘rags to riches’ tales of poor students getting into Oxbridge.” In effect, says Lewis, her message is “stay in your lane”. There are parents across “creeds, cultures and the country working hard to ensure their children can defy the odds” as “the elites, of course, clutch their pearls at the idea that sections of the great unwashed could be polluting their space”. Her comments are “confusing” given the high achievement at her school in northwest London, where an above-average number of pupils are classed as disadvantaged. What Birbalsingh has said is “divisive”. “It’s easy to see why the Government went for her,” says Lewis.

3

Ahmed Baba in The Independent

Today, William Barr gave the most damning testimony I’ve seen about Trump in five years of reporting

on the Big Lie

Yesterday, “the January 6 Committee thoroughly dissected the anatomy of the Big Lie”, writes Ahmed Baba in The Independent – “and Trump’s former closest aides held the scalpels.” The insurrection wouldn’t have happened, he says, “without Trump’s lies” about Joe Biden stealing the presidential election from him. The hearing “methodologically debunked very specific voter fraud lies” and “sought to prove that Trump knew” his claims were “baseless – but he proceeded to destabilize American democracy anyway”. Attorney General William Barr’s testimony “was absolutely devastating for Trump”, Baba continues. This writer says it was “some of the most damning testimony” for the former president that he’s heard “in any of the many Trump corruption hearings” he’s covered in the past five years. “That’s saying something – especially considering it came from one of Trump’s formerly biggest sycophants.” This hearing was about “the criminal mindset”, he says. And it “did a pretty good job of establishing that”.

4

Sarah O’Connor in The Financial Times

Farewell to the servant economy

on on-demand services

There’s obvious appeal in the “new glut of ultrafast delivery apps” that promise to deliver goods and products in a matter of minutes, writes Sarah O’Connor in the Financial Times. “To have people at your beck and call is not a new idea,” and in Britain “it used to be commonplace for affluent households to have servants”. These apps have “enabled a mass-market version of the luxury of having people at your disposal to do things for you” and some critics say this “‘servant economy’ is a symptom of resurgent economic inequality”. But investors have been “subsidising” the costs of the services these companies offer, and “now that model is in jeopardy”. The money is “drying up”, with “high inflation, gloomy growth forecasts and higher interest rates”. The “golden era” of on-demand services “is surely coming to an end”. These apps may have “democratised” a sense of “laziness”, says O’Connor – “but not for long”.

5

Secret Home Office Staffer in The Guardian

We are the civil servants who put up ‘Go Home Paddington’ notices in revolt

on principles

A secret Home Office staffer writes in The Guardian that they joined the civil service “because of the principles”, namely to “serve the public” and “help people”. But in their department “it is unavoidably clear that the things we are now ordered to put into place – from borders to policing to immigration enforcement – are doing real harm to many people”. The Home Office has “a long and ugly history of structural racism”, so it is “little surprise that the barbaric Rwanda transportation plan” has been presented by senior civil servants as “‘humanitarian’”. “The laughably absurd idea that it has anything to do with preventing people smugglers is repeated with a straight face,” the anonymous writer continues. And if racial priorities in the department “weren’t clear enough from the Windrush scandal, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has rammed the point home”. This member of staff is “tired of accepting that things have to be this grim”. 

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