Grenfell Tower, Old Corruption & democracy

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2017 by kmflett

Grenfell Tower, Old Corruption and democracy

News that cladding at the Tower was not flameproof, perhaps to ‘save’ small amounts of money, that sprinklers were not in place and that no fire advice appeared to be in place beyond staying in flats has provoked concern.

It suggests a system where privateers and outsourcers, both at national and local Government level, are running housing for their own interest and profit. The welfare of people that live in the housing clearly comes very far down the list.

It is reminiscent of the early days of British capitalism, prior to the 1832 Reform Act which introduced the first steps towards Parliamentary democracy.

William Cobbett wrote about a system of ‘Old Corruption’. E.P Thompson summarised the radical rhetoric of the years before 1832 as being ‘concerned with the piecemeal exposure of the abuses of the ‘borough mongering’ or ‘fund holding’ system- taxes, fiscal abuses, corruption, sinecures.. and these abuses which were seen as stemming from a venal, self-interested clique of landowners, courtiers and placemen’.

The solution in mind then was to democratise the Parliamentary system, and certainly getting rid of the privateers in public services and restoring democratic control would be a start.


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