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Grenfell Tower Tragedy: the Grief Industry, Revisited

Grenfell Tower Tragedy: the Grief Industry, Revisited
June 16
16:13 2017


Perthshire, Scotland 

I was heartened by the response to my earlier piece on this sensitive subject, and feel that since then, events have moved on, sadly including the dreadful fire in the Grenfell tower block in London recently, I should look again at the strange fashion for public grief.

I woke up on that morning to a call from a relative, asking if I was watching television news. There was a huge fire in a tower block in London.

I said I wasn’t watching, but would switch on and see what was going on.

What I saw was horrific and very upsetting. I soon realised that this was a major incident which was was across all news channels, with the usual salivation.

The presenters were practically orgasmic at the scale of the disaster and were grabbing passers-by to get their opinions on what had happened and was happening at that moment.

Then they were interviewing each other from studio to outside broadcast, each and every horrific moment being detailed in an endless loop, building up the tragedy to some kind of feeding frenzy.

I could see hundreds of people standing gazing up as the flames engulfed the entire edifice. It was as if they were transfixed and couldn’t bear to take their eyes off the unfolding horror.

At this point, I had to switch off the television and think about what I had witnessed.

Was this a deliberate act of lunacy, a terrorist attack, or just fate doing what it does best, ruining people’s lives for no apparent reason?

Then I remembered an article in Private Eye (satirical and campaigning magazine) some time previously, concerning the residents’ fears of a tragedy in these tower blocks in the area.

So, this was a tragedy which in all probability could have been avoided if the residents’ fears had been taken seriously.

Money as usual would be the root cause of this happening. Politicians taking the lowest bid for building work, regardless of the competence of their favoured contractor.

Meanwhile back at the scene of this awful event, the remorseless television and radio reporters continued to ask people the same pointless questions.

“How has this affected you?”

“What did you see?”

Please make your answers as graphic as possible!

There is no end to the desperation of media outlets for the most gory description of tragic incidents.

There is the usual sombre warning before a news item is broadcast….. “this may contain disturbing images.”

This of course makes some people even more likely to take a perverse interest in the deaths of fellow human beings.

I have no understanding of how anyone can watch human suffering as a form of entertainment.

Maybe it’s the influence of the internet and the ability to see absolutely anything at the touch of a screen, which has made this type of behaviour more prevalent.

Whatever the cause, I cannot go along with this kind of voyeurism or the need to grieve enmasse.

Is there a guilt which makes people think that if they don’t show public grief, their friends will think less of them?

I’m beginning to think this is certainly part of this behaviour.

Looking back over tragic events, I don’t remember this being done except possibly in the event of the death of a monarch or a great statesman.

For some reason we were able to cope with the deaths of people we didn’t know personally without the wailing and gnashing of teeth and the need to empty every florist’s shop within a five mile radius.

Have we British lost the ability to keep our upper lips stiff? Do we have so much money, we can afford to buy bouquets for complete strangers?

By all means people who knew the victims of terrorism or other disasters, lay flowers, but who gains from doing this for the unknown? This is not a war memorial!

Has a culture of mass guilt been instilled in the last two or three generations of the British population?

Showing emotion is difficult for some people. That’s just a fact. Making them feel guilty because they cannot emote to the new standard of grief, is just perverse.

It seems as if we are being led blindfold into a frame of mind which is alien to the average person.

Where is the choice to grieve or not to grieve?

Is this another form of political correctness?

Whatever it is, I’m not playing that game. I feel what I feel and that’s my business. I have no intention of subjecting other people to my emotions.

I’m not a sheep, nor do I have a need to be part of a club to feel personally vindicated. I do not wish to participate in grief for people who are already being grieved for by people who loved and cared for them.

I will grieve for my own loved ones and in my own way.

Allow them the time and space to deal with the loss, and also find out why this particular tragedy happened.

This also applies to the political establishment.

Politicians are at this moment sniping at each other over who is more upset over the Grenfell tower tragedy. Nothing is ever beneath them when political points are at stake.

Whatever one leader does, the others have to do the same or better.

Pathetic. Just keep quiet and allow the investigation to take place!

Also I see the blame game is in full swing. Protesters are yelling for heads to roll, without waiting for a proper assessment of the situation.

A public inquiry will be held into this tragedy, so better to wait until it is over and conclusions are made, before jumping to premature conclusions.

Obviously something has gone tragically wrong with this building, but wild guesswork by “experts” and mass grief won’t help anyone!

Follow The Party of Common Sense on Twitter, at @tpocs


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Michael J Blair contributes political analysis to DDA, and he can be reached at: His Twitter handle is: @mmjblair

[header photo of flowers and grief, cropped from original, courtesy of Alex Anderson, Wikimedia Commons]


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1 Comment

  1. Wikemalsh
    Wikemalsh June 16, 17:28

    I’m glad you’ve gotten something out of this disaster.

    Reply to this comment

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