After several years observing the machinations of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, what the press is doing in the wake of the terrible fire at the Grenfell Tower in west London comes as no surprise. For decades, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate railed against regulation and red tape. But now that the consequence of not enough regulation and red tape is there for all to see, they have changed tack.
While the Guardian has at least been consistent as it tells “The warnings were ignored”, the about-turn by the boot boys of the tabloid press has been as predictable as it has been pukemaking. The Daily Mail demands “How the hell could it happen?”, as if demonising any kind of Health and Safety culture for decades, while cheering on the local or national Government cutbacks over the same period, is of no consequence.
And the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have echoed the why-oh-why mood, first concluding “Dozens dead in tower death trap” before they actually have that information, before screaming “They were told it was safe” and devoting just the first 17 pages of today’s edition to the story. Firefighters are lauded as heroes. But there is no mention of the London Fire Brigade’s recent cutbacks.
After all, that would mean looking at the record of a Government the Sun has slavishly supported, and the antics of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, another Sun favourite. No, instead we read the ghoulish “STAIRWELL 'LITTERED' WITH BODIES London fire – Survivors tell how fire escape was pitch black with smoke but they could ‘feel’ bodies as they tried to escape”.
A Sun Says editorial tells “London’s firefighter’s have well and truly shown what it takes to be courageous in light of the Grenfell Tower blaze … What we can be sure of is lives were saved by some of our bravest men and women in the hellish blaze” before warning “This is not the time for hasty judgements and apportioning blame before facts are known”. Then the Murdoch goons do exactly that. Oh, and kick Jeremy Corbyn into the bargain.
The Mail is no better, bringing forth the equally ghoulish headline “'There is no one left alive': Rescuers say finding a survivor in the inferno tower would be a 'miracle' raising fears HUNDREDS have died as ministers face mounting pressure over why 'fire hazard' cladding was used”. The Dacre doggies feign concern for those missing: “Hunt for the missing: Family with three young girls have not been seen since West London tower block inferno as desperate relatives launch social media appeals to find their loved ones”.
And a typically judgmental Daily Mail Comment demands “How many more must die before our tower blocks are finally made safe?” But there is no sign of unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn and his “elf’n’safety” ranting. No talk of burdensome regulation for all those poor landlords. No talk of wrapping the public in cotton wool.
Papers like the Mail and Sun cheered on the culture that led to the Grenfell Tower fire. Now they switch effortlessly to playing the other side of the field. Their response tells you all you need to know about our free and fearless press. And its legendary high principles.