1. Towering inferno
A shocker this week was the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower in London, a 24-storey building with 120 apartments. The latest count is 30 dead, but the final toll could be much higher as people were incinerated, many difficult or impossible to identify.
Unfortunately people were told to stay in their units, until it became apparent that the fire was spreading up the cladding on the outside of the building – then it was too late for many.
I heard on the radio that after Docklands 170 Melbourne buildings were audited, and 51% were covered with the wrong stuff. Yet somehow only in a few cases was it deemed necessary to undertake remedial action. Apparently thousands of buildings in Australia may not conform to safety regulations.
I have two questions. Who are the f*ckers who are making and selling this stuff? Apparently the good stuff and the bad stuff are indistinguishable to the naked eye, and it’s claimed the fire-proof version would have only added £5,000 to £8.6m Grenfell refurb.
And what is the use of having world-class regulations if they are not policed?
Laura B Alvarez, Architectural Technologist and Urban Designer, Nottingham Trent University goes into the nuts and bolts, and it’s not simple.
Basically, though, a fire escape well should provide safe exit for a couple of hours, and I don’t care how fashionable the cladding looks, we shouldn’t be putting combustible material on the outer skin of buildings.
2. How Britain voted
YouGov has demographic analysis in how the Brits voted in the election. Here is the analysis by age:
Apparently the crossover point from Labour to Conservative was age 47. However, with an encouraging turnout of young voters, voter turnout still increased with age. Only 57% of 18-19 year olds voted compared to 84% for 70+.
Conservative voters were distinctly less well-educated on average.
3. Ministers in contempt of court?
Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Michael Sukkar have been called to show reason why they should not be found in contempt of court by the Victorian Court of Appeal for their comments to The Australian.
Scandalising the court is a contempt that should only be applied in exceptional cases. Anything less than this results in the judiciary being perceived as effectively exempted from criticism, which itself runs the risk of undermining public confidence in the justice system.
To me the following statements seem pretty silly:
- Labor’s continued appointment of hard-left activist judges has come back to bite Victorians.
- … should not be places for ideological experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism.
They withdrew their remarks, but refused to apologise, presumably to claim that they were only doing their jobs.
The court didn’t sound impressed, and if the matter is pursued it could leave the Turnbull government a bit short of troops.
I think the puerility of their criticisms brings its own reward in public contempt.
4. New citizenship legislation
New citizenship laws are being introduced to parliament. Seems new Australians must be upstanding, espouse good Australian values, be able to speak English roughly to university entrance standard, wait four years, and not incur the displeasure of the minister for immigration, who will have sweeping powers to overrule any court of tribunal.
Labor has labelled the English language test as a “bizarre concept”.
Back in April Henry Sherrell took a closer look, and found that the test would lead to a new class of migrants – never-to-be-citizens. After their allotted 500 hours of language instruction, the number who would pass is zero, zip.
5. Laurie Oakes is a pompous git
Laurie Oakes was not at the famous charity ball, not being a fun sort of a bloke, but decided it was in the public interest to publish Malcolm Turnbull’s funny speech. In his column today he is lecturing everyone, saying news is news, and it’s hypocritical in the extreme of the press gallery to think they can run an off-the-record event with politicians. Somehow brings the whole press gang into disrepute, he says.
He points out that there have been plenty of leaks before, including Paul Keating’s Placido Domingo speech, which was also leaked by someone who wasn’t there, enraging Bob Hawke to the point he reneged on his agreement to hand over to Keating.
On the same page in the CM Dennis Atkins points out that for 10 years after the Placido Domingo speech all the speeches were dull and boring.