On an evening with many other events happening in and around York it was good to see a healthy turnout for a public meeting at the Crescent Community Venue organised by York People’s Assembly and Supported by York and District Trades Council on 13th September 2017 was entitled “Justice for Grenfell, end austerity, scrap the 1% pay cap” allowing a range of speakers to provide background to why the governments neo-liberal economic policies and especially its austerity program was ultimately to blame for the Grenfell Towers disaster on the 14th June 2017. A range of stalls were also present promoting defence of the NHS, Unite Against Racism and the campaign against fracking.
The first to speak was Kim Hunter from Frack Free Scarborough who spoke of the solidarity across the movement. Next was James Cussens from York and District Trades Council with a similar message of solidarity against austerity. David Lewis from York Unison followed with a story of the origins of neo-liberalism and austerity in the UK, including the Hayek-Thatcher meeting of 1975. Councillor Danny Myers continued the overarching theme of the need to work together against global capitalism.
Next in line was Annie, one of the Durham Teaching Assistants who had spoken at a previous meeting and whilst not bearing a message of complete victory brought one of the benefits of solidarity and support that they were able to demonstrate. They’re in the third year of a dispute that has grown from one woman on Facebook to having 1500 (out of a total of 2500) Teaching Assistants in Durham standing up boldly against the County Council and others. Annie was supported by two other colleagues, and it was great to see and hear them again.
“Enough is enough” was the message Judy Bolton brought from Justice4Grenfell. With friends and family who had died in the disaster she described the failings behind the catastrophic loss of life on the 14th June and after. Since the event it is estimated by the campaign that around 250 people lost their lives, whilst the authorities have only declared 85 “viable human remains”, and that only 16 people have been re-homed. Judy’s talk was a moving description of the horrors of the night and days following, along with a list of cuts, cock-ups and criminal negligence that cost so many lives.
Judy received a standing ovation at the end of the talk but continued to answer more questions regarding the event and campaign. She will be attending Manchester on the 1st October with the London Fire Brigade Union. So book your ticket for the coach and join her.
Her call was “enough is enough”.