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After the Kensington Inferno, Many in Britain Will Rethink Deregulation
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In discussing this week’s Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, the British politician David Lammy has resorted to coruscating language. The inferno, he says, was a case of “corporate manslaughter.” Although he has not been specific about who he is accusing, several entities evidently have a lot of explaining to do.

This includes most obviously the borough council of Kensington and Chelsea, owner of the doomed building, which provided public housing for an estimated 600 people. Also at the center of the storm is Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), an independent firm that was deputed by the council to take over day-to-day management of the building in the 1990s. Then there is Rydon Construction, which KCTMO called in a few years ago to oversee major renovations.

It will probably be months before we get a full sense of how the blame should be allocated. But in the meantime one immediate political casualty will be the entire concept of deregulation. Indeed the disaster may prove nothing short of a watershed in the history of deregulation. Certainly the implications are likely to go far beyond merely tightening fire safety laws.

The Grenfell Tower was erected in 1974, before the fashion for deregulation won widespread acceptance in the UK. As several British commentators have pointed out, all the evidence is that had the building been run and maintained in the way that was originally intended (with borough council officials maintaining a hands-on approach), the disaster would probably never have happened. And what a disaster it has been. As officially calculated, the death toll was raised to seventeen on Thursday but officials added suggested the final total may reach three digits.

On grounds of scale alone therefore the inferno is likely to be long remembered. Beyond its scale, however, the disaster may prove highly consequential for its timing. It comes just as disenchantment with deregulation seems to be approaching critical mass among the Conservative Party’s public intellectuals. So-called Red Tories, who combine respect for order and tradition with a compassionate society, have been on the rise for a decade. The concept is said to have been pioneered by Benjamin Disraeli in the 1870s and both David Cameron, who led the Tories from 2005 to 2016, and his successor Theresa May are often considered to be sympathetic. The Red Tories’ twenty-first century resurgence can be traced at least as far back as the 2007-2008 financial crisis, which many Britons blame on excessive deregulation. More recently another aspect of deregulation that has come in for widespread denunciation has been so-called zero-hours contracts. Under such contracts, employers are not required to guarantee workers any minimum number of working hours. Many critics consider the concept to have gutted workers’ bargaining power. The concept’s unpopularity is considered to have been a significant factor propelling a rise in the Labor Party’s vote in the recent General Election.

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The Grenfell disaster’s historic significance is not lessened by the seriousness of the alleged culpability of key actors. David Lammy, a Labor MP who served as minister for innovation under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is not alone in suggesting criminality. According to Rachel Adamson, an expert on British regulatory law, the police, the fire service, and other government agencies are likely to consider criminal charges.

Most suggestive is the evidence of Reg Kerr-Bell, a former chairman of KCTMO who stood down some years ago because of misgivings how it was being run. In an interview with the London Daily Express, he said: “This is one of the biggest scandals in the country — and it could have been avoided.”

If Kerr-Bell’s point is confirmed by subsequent disclosures, the Grenfell disaster may well mark a new direction in British politics.

Eamonn Fingleton is a financial journalist and author who in his early career covered the UK’s embrace of deregulation.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Britain, Deregulation 
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  1. TWS says:

    Wasn’t this caused by green regulation? Putting a flammable cladding on the building to save energy? Regulations are to blame. When will you look up at the fields of crosses blighting your landscape and realize your windfarms do nothing but kill birds? Does the cult of Gaia know no bounds?

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable "green" cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.
    , @Logan
    Not directly. As there are non-flammable claddings with similar insulation characteristics that could have been used. And probably even the "flammable" material could have been used safely if properly installed.

    However, you point out a real problem. When I used to teach classes about how to deal with water-damaged buildings, I would point out that some new materials and assemblies that were going up for "energy conservation" reasons would react less well to getting wet.

    A common response was, "So you're in favor of wasting energy and killing the planet!"

    Facepalm.
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  2. epnngg says:

    On a side note…I couldn’t help but notice that despite the totally engulfed high rise, the structure did remain standing. Compare that to the Twin Towers and especially Building 7 that had a “furniture fire” burning on its upper floors collapsing rapidly into their own footprints after only a few hours of fire. Odd.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous
    Odd, indeed.

    So odd, that the original 2006 Presidential Commission Report on the 9/11 disaster had not one word about the collapse of Building 7.

    (A half-assed 2007 addendum, subsequently rushed out to quell the resulting shitstorm of criticism, made a feeble attempt to explain 7's collapse in innocuous terms.)

    But, there you go. Noticing things.
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  3. @TWS
    Wasn't this caused by green regulation? Putting a flammable cladding on the building to save energy? Regulations are to blame. When will you look up at the fields of crosses blighting your landscape and realize your windfarms do nothing but kill birds? Does the cult of Gaia know no bounds?

    There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable “green” cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I had the misfortune to live in a British High Rise for a short period. The Council was strict but sensible. Only buildings of 5 storeys or less were permitted to have mains gas. I lived on the third floor, but as it was a 14 storey block, I could only have electricity.
    Portable propane and similar were absolutely verboten. They could and did evict people for this practice.
    I would be grateful if you could direct me to the source of this story.
    , @Anonymous
    An estimate of how much this fire will save in tax revenues would be a nice number to have. Just sayin'
    , @Corvinus
    "There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable “green” cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves."

    Sources or retract.
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  4. Fingleton is very sharp on Far East economics and Advanced Manufacturing, but often weak on British domestic matters. This is not surprising, since he has spent nearly all of the last 50 years in Japan.
    So is the case here. British tower block living is almost entirely a social housing phenomenon.
    Nearly all were built between 1955 and 1976 with massive subsidies from Central to Local Government, who were the landlords. In 1976, Britain went cap in hand to the IMF and building stopped permanently.
    Right from the start, the vast majority were poorly constructed and insulated and employed noxious materials like asbestos that have since been banned.
    Not very surprisingly, few Local Authority tenants were keen to live in these buildings and they were used to dump “anti-social” tenants.
    Problems of insulation and dampness quickly became insuperable in many areas. From the late 1980s, they have been demolished as a result. Most noticeably, Glasgow has been demolishing the highest domestic housing in Europe. The ( amusingly named ) Red Road scheme bit the dust a few years back.
    The social housing to replace this stock has been built for Housing Associations, not Local Authorities and has been low- and medium-rise ( 4 to 6 storeys, rather like tenements )
    Grenfell Road was therefore an Architectural Dinosaur. Most Local Authority housing of the period was expected to last 60 years. Grenfell Road lasted 43 years. Even then, it was being used to dump 3rd World immigrants and “Syrian refugees”. Even with expensive refurbishment, it and similar housing schemes were unlikely to survive to 2050.
    I think any inquiry will recommend that High Rises of this provenance be demolished sooner ( 10 to 15 years ) rather than later. With the exception of a few High Quality blocks in a few select areas – central Aberdeen springs to mind – very few will exist shortly, and an aberrant and bizarre period of British Architectural History will be closed.
    The High Rise was a result of massive Central Government subsidy, without which they would not be built. But also massive Deregulation: Local Authorities ignored or circumvented their own planning regulations. They awarded contracts to companies in contravention of building and environmental regulations.
    Of course, Fingleton was in London at the time – except he wasn’t living in a Tower Block !

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  5. Sean says:

    Stuffed full of people who would have the right to buy and resell after a few years and trouser several hundred grand or more. Third Worlders having being given a massive gift like that had every the long standing advice to stay inside flats during a conflagration in the building. Some were ordered back inside by the firemen, and they obeyed.

    One person made sure he got out, but he may have quite a while to think it through. A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors. The neighbour saw the luggage in the hall and the fire in his kitchen. So the fire likely started (or was started) quite a while before the alarm was raised. The man also behaved oddly outside. Yeah he got out with his stuff in plenty of time. He should get serious time in gaol.

    The dry rise pipework (enabling the fire brigade to use hoses on any, even the topmost, floor may have had the valves stolen for scrap value.

    I agree about deregulation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted

    A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors.
     
    The man who allegedly (since we have only the neighbour woman's account for this) watched his fridge combust, and then diligently packed his gear and thoughtfully woke up said neighbour as he headed for the stairs was Mr Behailu Kebedi, an Ethiopian taxi driver of a most un-white countenance. And it's been all over the papers since day one. So I don't know where you got that little tidbit from.

    There are all sorts of unlikely tales swirling around the tower, such as the unnamed man catching a mystery baby tossed from 10th floor (in the dark and smoke? What is the likely trajectory and terminal velocity, at sea-level, of a healthy infant? Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once).
    I also heard two women on the radio claim that they were starting a collection for the inhabitants because the entire building was occupied by people from a single town, their hometown, in Morocco. It may well have seemed like that to them, I dunno.
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  6. @The Anti-Gnostic
    There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable "green" cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.

    I had the misfortune to live in a British High Rise for a short period. The Council was strict but sensible. Only buildings of 5 storeys or less were permitted to have mains gas. I lived on the third floor, but as it was a 14 storey block, I could only have electricity.
    Portable propane and similar were absolutely verboten. They could and did evict people for this practice.
    I would be grateful if you could direct me to the source of this story.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    I lived on the top floor, coincidentally the 14th, of a block in a notoriously grim estate from '86 to '93.
    Ancient, probably 1940s gas cooker, acquired from where I don't remember. All the flats had North Sea gas, which was a blessing as the electric underfloor heating (just resistance wires cast into the floorslabs I think, or something equally primitive) was unusable due to the cost. Built in the days when nuclear was going to make the leccy "too cheap to meter".
    You could fill the oven with bricks and use the heavy iron monster of a stove to keep warm.
    Less active people (single mums with a handful of children, oldsters, and alcoholics/druggies downstairs) used SuperSer type butane canister (I think 13kg?) heaters or tall Aladdin-type paraffin (kerosene) things (which worried even me at the time).
    The building reeked like a trawler. The lifts (elevators) were off as often as not, and the stair was narrow, windowless and almost a spiral.
    The Council seemed think this was all fine and dandy. Otherwise they'd have had to rehouse all the paupers in buildings where they had a chance of surviving the winter without their (painfully saved up for and purchased) gas and paraffin deathtraps. Quite a few had had the electric cut off for debt, and the card meters ripped through their allowance in no time, being on a premium rate.
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  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The Anti-Gnostic
    There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable "green" cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.

    An estimate of how much this fire will save in tax revenues would be a nice number to have. Just sayin’

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    An estimate of how much this fire will save in tax revenues would be a nice number to have. Just sayin’

    If not the British people, at least the British buildings are doing their best to resist the third world horde. Brings a tear to the eye, it does.

    Some mood music for the occasion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_sY2rjxq6M

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  8. Corvinus says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic
    There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable "green" cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.

    “There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable “green” cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves.”

    Sources or retract.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    The building was clad in aluminum and polyethylene composite, and residents reported blue flame in units. This has been widely reported and you can do your own homework. So you get two phenomena that, among other lapses, turn a unit fire into The Towering Inferno: the cladding chimneys hot gases up the side of the building before combusting itself, and small propane bombs go off in individual units.

    Fundamentally of course, the local government which owned and managed this monument to Peak Social Democracy had no pricing signals and no profit-and-loss discipline and therefore no incentive to bring this relic up to current industry standards.
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  9. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonymous
    An estimate of how much this fire will save in tax revenues would be a nice number to have. Just sayin'

    An estimate of how much this fire will save in tax revenues would be a nice number to have. Just sayin’

    If not the British people, at least the British buildings are doing their best to resist the third world horde. Brings a tear to the eye, it does.

    Some mood music for the occasion:

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Corvinus
    "There seems to be a hypothesis forming that this fire morphed into an inferno because a 27-story tower was retro-fitted with flammable “green” cladding, and stuffed full of Third World tax-eaters with portable propane stoves."

    Sources or retract.

    The building was clad in aluminum and polyethylene composite, and residents reported blue flame in units. This has been widely reported and you can do your own homework. So you get two phenomena that, among other lapses, turn a unit fire into The Towering Inferno: the cladding chimneys hot gases up the side of the building before combusting itself, and small propane bombs go off in individual units.

    Fundamentally of course, the local government which owned and managed this monument to Peak Social Democracy had no pricing signals and no profit-and-loss discipline and therefore no incentive to bring this relic up to current industry standards.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I do hope the Inquiry gets to the bottom of this question and doesn't whitewash it out of existence.
    Mark Steyn reckons that there may have been as many as 600 people living in Grenfell Tower ( 120 flats of 1 or 2 bedrooms ) If you think 200 bedrooms, that's 3 persons per bedroom. See https://www.steynonline.com/7921/the-great-fire-of-a-new-london
    The High Rise in which I briefly lived is in part of Britain where the number of 3rd World immigrants is low. The Local Authority, even with anti-social tenants, tries to maintain 1st World standards. It is committed to demolishing all its High Rises.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. @The Anti-Gnostic
    The building was clad in aluminum and polyethylene composite, and residents reported blue flame in units. This has been widely reported and you can do your own homework. So you get two phenomena that, among other lapses, turn a unit fire into The Towering Inferno: the cladding chimneys hot gases up the side of the building before combusting itself, and small propane bombs go off in individual units.

    Fundamentally of course, the local government which owned and managed this monument to Peak Social Democracy had no pricing signals and no profit-and-loss discipline and therefore no incentive to bring this relic up to current industry standards.

    I do hope the Inquiry gets to the bottom of this question and doesn’t whitewash it out of existence.
    Mark Steyn reckons that there may have been as many as 600 people living in Grenfell Tower ( 120 flats of 1 or 2 bedrooms ) If you think 200 bedrooms, that’s 3 persons per bedroom. See https://www.steynonline.com/7921/the-great-fire-of-a-new-london
    The High Rise in which I briefly lived is in part of Britain where the number of 3rd World immigrants is low. The Local Authority, even with anti-social tenants, tries to maintain 1st World standards. It is committed to demolishing all its High Rises.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. @Sean
    Stuffed full of people who would have the right to buy and resell after a few years and trouser several hundred grand or more. Third Worlders having being given a massive gift like that had every the long standing advice to stay inside flats during a conflagration in the building. Some were ordered back inside by the firemen, and they obeyed.

    One person made sure he got out, but he may have quite a while to think it through. A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors. The neighbour saw the luggage in the hall and the fire in his kitchen. So the fire likely started (or was started) quite a while before the alarm was raised. The man also behaved oddly outside. Yeah he got out with his stuff in plenty of time. He should get serious time in gaol.

    The dry rise pipework (enabling the fire brigade to use hoses on any, even the topmost, floor may have had the valves stolen for scrap value.

    I agree about deregulation.

    A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors.

    The man who allegedly (since we have only the neighbour woman’s account for this) watched his fridge combust, and then diligently packed his gear and thoughtfully woke up said neighbour as he headed for the stairs was Mr Behailu Kebedi, an Ethiopian taxi driver of a most un-white countenance. And it’s been all over the papers since day one. So I don’t know where you got that little tidbit from.

    There are all sorts of unlikely tales swirling around the tower, such as the unnamed man catching a mystery baby tossed from 10th floor (in the dark and smoke? What is the likely trajectory and terminal velocity, at sea-level, of a healthy infant? Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once).
    I also heard two women on the radio claim that they were starting a collection for the inhabitants because the entire building was occupied by people from a single town, their hometown, in Morocco. It may well have seemed like that to them, I dunno.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Oh I see. The Daily Mail strikes again.

    Grenfell Tower fire is believed to have started shortly before 1am when a fridge on the seventh floor exploded. Samira Lamrini said: 'The man whose flat it was came out and said it was his flat. He was a slim, tall, white British man.
    'He was pointing at the fire on a lower floor and said, 'That's my flat, that's it'. He said it was his fridge that had exploded.
    'He started filming it on his phone. He was upset but I don't think he had a clue about the scale of what was happening.
    'After that the fire went up in minutes, it was so fast. The speed with which it took hold was terrifying. It was like a tissue being set alight. It just went whoosh, so quickly. I didn't see him after that.' (Daily Mail 15/06/2017).
     

    'People have lost their lives. I can't bear it': Ethiopian taxi driver whose faulty fridge started the inferno' says he'll 'never get over' how many were killed. Behailu Kebede raised the alarm as the Grenfell Tower inferno began to spread, his neighbours have said. Father of one, a taxi driver from Ethiopia,discovered the fire in his fourth floor kitchen ahead of blaze.Tower block resident Maryam Adam said he knocked on her door to warn her at 12.50am on Tuesday night. (Daily Mail 16/06/2017).
     
    Ms Lamrani (who seems to be Moroccan, and therefore reasonably aware of the subtle differences between Ethiopians and Brits) is also, surprise surprise, the source of the flying baby story, among other tales.

    Lamrini then said she saw a woman from a ninth or tenth story window with a baby.
    The woman signaled she was going to drop the child to those below, crying out "I'm about to throw my baby. Please catch the baby!" according to Lamrani.
    Moments later, she did.
    A man ran from the crowd of witnesses to catch the falling child. He then took the child to safety.
    Lamrani calls it was a "miraculous" rescue.
     
    , @Sean
    The baby would have been going too fast to survive the deceleration, and I never believed it, Thanks for the clarifications inc about the baby story coming from the same person who identified as a tall white man as the fire starter.

    Ms Adam is with child, and in certain cultures a pregnant woman is believed to have the power of the Evil Eye. Adam, (the neighbour) was quite clear that after she was informed she looked in his flat, seeing there was already a fire in the man's kitchen, yet he had already taken time to pack clothes ect because she saw them in the hall outside his door

    It would be a very unusual person to go out the kitchen, where a fire was (unpredictably) developing and filling the place with smoke , and into the bedroom to take the appreciable amount of time to pack luggage. Dubious.

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  13. @Verymuchalive
    I had the misfortune to live in a British High Rise for a short period. The Council was strict but sensible. Only buildings of 5 storeys or less were permitted to have mains gas. I lived on the third floor, but as it was a 14 storey block, I could only have electricity.
    Portable propane and similar were absolutely verboten. They could and did evict people for this practice.
    I would be grateful if you could direct me to the source of this story.

    I lived on the top floor, coincidentally the 14th, of a block in a notoriously grim estate from ’86 to ’93.
    Ancient, probably 1940s gas cooker, acquired from where I don’t remember. All the flats had North Sea gas, which was a blessing as the electric underfloor heating (just resistance wires cast into the floorslabs I think, or something equally primitive) was unusable due to the cost. Built in the days when nuclear was going to make the leccy “too cheap to meter”.
    You could fill the oven with bricks and use the heavy iron monster of a stove to keep warm.
    Less active people (single mums with a handful of children, oldsters, and alcoholics/druggies downstairs) used SuperSer type butane canister (I think 13kg?) heaters or tall Aladdin-type paraffin (kerosene) things (which worried even me at the time).
    The building reeked like a trawler. The lifts (elevators) were off as often as not, and the stair was narrow, windowless and almost a spiral.
    The Council seemed think this was all fine and dandy. Otherwise they’d have had to rehouse all the paupers in buildings where they had a chance of surviving the winter without their (painfully saved up for and purchased) gas and paraffin deathtraps. Quite a few had had the electric cut off for debt, and the card meters ripped through their allowance in no time, being on a premium rate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    As I wrote elsewhere, there are still Councils which try to apply 1st World standards, and others which don't. The nearer to London, the more the latter predominate.
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  14. @Expletive Deleted

    A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors.
     
    The man who allegedly (since we have only the neighbour woman's account for this) watched his fridge combust, and then diligently packed his gear and thoughtfully woke up said neighbour as he headed for the stairs was Mr Behailu Kebedi, an Ethiopian taxi driver of a most un-white countenance. And it's been all over the papers since day one. So I don't know where you got that little tidbit from.

    There are all sorts of unlikely tales swirling around the tower, such as the unnamed man catching a mystery baby tossed from 10th floor (in the dark and smoke? What is the likely trajectory and terminal velocity, at sea-level, of a healthy infant? Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once).
    I also heard two women on the radio claim that they were starting a collection for the inhabitants because the entire building was occupied by people from a single town, their hometown, in Morocco. It may well have seemed like that to them, I dunno.

    Oh I see. The Daily Mail strikes again.

    Grenfell Tower fire is believed to have started shortly before 1am when a fridge on the seventh floor exploded. Samira Lamrini said: ‘The man whose flat it was came out and said it was his flat. He was a slim, tall, white British man.
    ‘He was pointing at the fire on a lower floor and said, ‘That’s my flat, that’s it’. He said it was his fridge that had exploded.
    ‘He started filming it on his phone. He was upset but I don’t think he had a clue about the scale of what was happening.
    ‘After that the fire went up in minutes, it was so fast. The speed with which it took hold was terrifying. It was like a tissue being set alight. It just went whoosh, so quickly. I didn’t see him after that.’ (Daily Mail 15/06/2017).

    ‘People have lost their lives. I can’t bear it’: Ethiopian taxi driver whose faulty fridge started the inferno’ says he’ll ‘never get over’ how many were killed. Behailu Kebede raised the alarm as the Grenfell Tower inferno began to spread, his neighbours have said. Father of one, a taxi driver from Ethiopia,discovered the fire in his fourth floor kitchen ahead of blaze.Tower block resident Maryam Adam said he knocked on her door to warn her at 12.50am on Tuesday night. (Daily Mail 16/06/2017).

    Ms Lamrani (who seems to be Moroccan, and therefore reasonably aware of the subtle differences between Ethiopians and Brits) is also, surprise surprise, the source of the flying baby story, among other tales.

    Lamrini then said she saw a woman from a ninth or tenth story window with a baby.
    The woman signaled she was going to drop the child to those below, crying out “I’m about to throw my baby. Please catch the baby!” according to Lamrani.
    Moments later, she did.
    A man ran from the crowd of witnesses to catch the falling child. He then took the child to safety.
    Lamrani calls it was a “miraculous” rescue.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    If a 20 pound baby falls 100 feet, it's going about 55 mph by the time it reaches ground level, and generates roughly 1900 foot-pounds of force.
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  15. El Dato says:

    Frankly I don’t see where “deregulation” comes into this at all.

    Like, at all.

    Bad cladding practice, bad regulation regarding cladding practice, silly, possibly corrupt acquisition of inappropriate cladding, and non-enforcement of fire regulations, yes.

    But deregulation?

    Might as well be aliens.

    Actually, mostly is (though I don’t debase myself in cheering the death tool as some commenteros are wont to do)

    Now, how come this doesn’t happen in France where “HLMs” are the urban blight of the “banlieues”, as well as sources of cultural enrichment?

    Read More
    • Agree: TWS
    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    "Frankly I don’t see where “deregulation” comes into this at all."

    Well, I do.-- Deregulation of immigration that is.
    , @Logan
    Deregulation, if it means anything, presumably refers to a smaller number of regulations.

    Being opposed to deregulation, therefore, seems to mean being in favor of a larger number of regulations.

    But when it comes to safety the issue is simply not the number of regulations, it's whether they are the right regulations.

    I'll go out on a limb here and state that this tragedy was the result of one or more factors. None of which have anything at all to do with the number of regulations existing.

    1. Regulations were inadequate or just wrong. Possibly because the "greenness" of a material was inappropriately privileged over its fire safety.

    2. Regulations were not followed, whether in using the wrong material or in not installing it properly.

    3. Tying in with 2, regulations were not properly inspected nor enforced.

    Increasing the number of regulations will simply not prevent another such disaster. The solution is to have the right (not necessarily more) regulations, and then enforce them properly.

    Fewer, but well chosen and strictly enforced, regulations are infinitely preferable to more but less well enforced regulations.
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  16. @Expletive Deleted
    I lived on the top floor, coincidentally the 14th, of a block in a notoriously grim estate from '86 to '93.
    Ancient, probably 1940s gas cooker, acquired from where I don't remember. All the flats had North Sea gas, which was a blessing as the electric underfloor heating (just resistance wires cast into the floorslabs I think, or something equally primitive) was unusable due to the cost. Built in the days when nuclear was going to make the leccy "too cheap to meter".
    You could fill the oven with bricks and use the heavy iron monster of a stove to keep warm.
    Less active people (single mums with a handful of children, oldsters, and alcoholics/druggies downstairs) used SuperSer type butane canister (I think 13kg?) heaters or tall Aladdin-type paraffin (kerosene) things (which worried even me at the time).
    The building reeked like a trawler. The lifts (elevators) were off as often as not, and the stair was narrow, windowless and almost a spiral.
    The Council seemed think this was all fine and dandy. Otherwise they'd have had to rehouse all the paupers in buildings where they had a chance of surviving the winter without their (painfully saved up for and purchased) gas and paraffin deathtraps. Quite a few had had the electric cut off for debt, and the card meters ripped through their allowance in no time, being on a premium rate.

    As I wrote elsewhere, there are still Councils which try to apply 1st World standards, and others which don’t. The nearer to London, the more the latter predominate.

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  17. jim jones says:

    I did Jury Service a couple of years ago and the defendant (Sexual Abuse case) was a Moroccan who was living here illegally. I seemed to be the only person who was surprised that he had been here twenty years.

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  18. Sean says:
    @Expletive Deleted

    A white man in whose kitchen the fire started (allegedly because of a fridge which is possible) is said to have had his clothes packed and moved out of his flat into the hall, before he informed the neighbors.
     
    The man who allegedly (since we have only the neighbour woman's account for this) watched his fridge combust, and then diligently packed his gear and thoughtfully woke up said neighbour as he headed for the stairs was Mr Behailu Kebedi, an Ethiopian taxi driver of a most un-white countenance. And it's been all over the papers since day one. So I don't know where you got that little tidbit from.

    There are all sorts of unlikely tales swirling around the tower, such as the unnamed man catching a mystery baby tossed from 10th floor (in the dark and smoke? What is the likely trajectory and terminal velocity, at sea-level, of a healthy infant? Do not attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once).
    I also heard two women on the radio claim that they were starting a collection for the inhabitants because the entire building was occupied by people from a single town, their hometown, in Morocco. It may well have seemed like that to them, I dunno.

    The baby would have been going too fast to survive the deceleration, and I never believed it, Thanks for the clarifications inc about the baby story coming from the same person who identified as a tall white man as the fire starter.

    Ms Adam is with child, and in certain cultures a pregnant woman is believed to have the power of the Evil Eye. Adam, (the neighbour) was quite clear that after she was informed she looked in his flat, seeing there was already a fire in the man’s kitchen, yet he had already taken time to pack clothes ect because she saw them in the hall outside his door

    It would be a very unusual person to go out the kitchen, where a fire was (unpredictably) developing and filling the place with smoke , and into the bedroom to take the appreciable amount of time to pack luggage. Dubious.

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  19. @El Dato
    Frankly I don't see where "deregulation" comes into this at all.

    Like, at all.

    Bad cladding practice, bad regulation regarding cladding practice, silly, possibly corrupt acquisition of inappropriate cladding, and non-enforcement of fire regulations, yes.

    But deregulation?

    Might as well be aliens.

    Actually, mostly is (though I don't debase myself in cheering the death tool as some commenteros are wont to do)

    Now, how come this doesn't happen in France where "HLMs" are the urban blight of the "banlieues", as well as sources of cultural enrichment?

    “Frankly I don’t see where “deregulation” comes into this at all.”

    Well, I do.– Deregulation of immigration that is.

    Read More
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  20. NoldorElf says:

    Let’s face it, these neoliberals and neoconservatives have sold people a bill of goods:

    - First they send manufacturing overseas. I’ll note that nati0ns like Germany, who were smarter about the economic policy still have manufacturing. Fingleton is an expert on Japan, so he can speak to that better than I can. They have a manufacturing sector, hint, hint.

    Free trade is also responsible for other problems, such as the illegal immigration crisis. NAFTA bankrupted a lot of Mexican farmers and effectively halted wage growth in Mexico.

    - Second they deregulate the banking sector. The 2008 Financial Crisis is their fault. Disgracefully nobody was sent to jail over them.

    - Third, all these needless wars. They make the defense industry rich. They sure as hell have not made the world a safer place. Quite the opposite. ISIS is their fault. The Unz review has a pretty extensive set of articles describing this situation.

    - Fourth, their other policies of privatizing everything and deregulating everything have led to this crisis. This fire is an example of the consequences.

    There is an alarming similarity between this and the 19th century, where the rich ruthlessly exploited the poor. It looks like the elite have looted society in their greed.

    Eamonn Fingleton points out some very important facts about how messed up this whole situation is.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mark F.
    America produced more manufactured goods last year than ever. But with far fewer people due to automation. That's the main reason manufacturing jobs are in decline.
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  21. Mark F. says:
    @NoldorElf
    Let's face it, these neoliberals and neoconservatives have sold people a bill of goods:

    - First they send manufacturing overseas. I'll note that nati0ns like Germany, who were smarter about the economic policy still have manufacturing. Fingleton is an expert on Japan, so he can speak to that better than I can. They have a manufacturing sector, hint, hint.

    Free trade is also responsible for other problems, such as the illegal immigration crisis. NAFTA bankrupted a lot of Mexican farmers and effectively halted wage growth in Mexico.

    - Second they deregulate the banking sector. The 2008 Financial Crisis is their fault. Disgracefully nobody was sent to jail over them.

    - Third, all these needless wars. They make the defense industry rich. They sure as hell have not made the world a safer place. Quite the opposite. ISIS is their fault. The Unz review has a pretty extensive set of articles describing this situation.

    - Fourth, their other policies of privatizing everything and deregulating everything have led to this crisis. This fire is an example of the consequences.

    There is an alarming similarity between this and the 19th century, where the rich ruthlessly exploited the poor. It looks like the elite have looted society in their greed.

    Eamonn Fingleton points out some very important facts about how messed up this whole situation is.

    America produced more manufactured goods last year than ever. But with far fewer people due to automation. That’s the main reason manufacturing jobs are in decline.

    Read More
    • Replies: @NoldorElf
    IF that were the main reason, there would be no export deficits.

    There would be:

    1. Balanced trade
    2. HIgh levels of capital investment (US corporations are not spending, but hoarding cash)
    3. A positive correlation between productivity and unemployment (the data shows the opposite)


    Somehow Germany and Japan, as Fingleton in his other articles have documented, maintain export surpluses. I would recommend reading Fingleton as he is an expert in this field.

    I'm skeptical about automation taking out most jobs.

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  22. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @epnngg
    On a side note...I couldn't help but notice that despite the totally engulfed high rise, the structure did remain standing. Compare that to the Twin Towers and especially Building 7 that had a "furniture fire" burning on its upper floors collapsing rapidly into their own footprints after only a few hours of fire. Odd.

    Odd, indeed.

    So odd, that the original 2006 Presidential Commission Report on the 9/11 disaster had not one word about the collapse of Building 7.

    (A half-assed 2007 addendum, subsequently rushed out to quell the resulting shitstorm of criticism, made a feeble attempt to explain 7′s collapse in innocuous terms.)

    But, there you go. Noticing things.

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  23. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    “More recently another aspect of deregulation that has come in for widespread denunciation has been so-called zero-hours contracts. Under such contracts, employers are not required to guarantee workers any minimum number of working hours. Many critics consider the concept to have gutted workers’ bargaining power.”

    Zero hours contracts have been around for decades, working perfectly well, as they still do for skilled workers where demand exceeds supply. For example, many IT contractors are effectively on zero hours, in that when the work is finished, the company have the right to release the contractors before the contract expires. “Bank nurses” can pick and choose the hours they work, without fear that the NHS won’t call again if they turn down some work.

    The huge difference between the situation now and in, say, 1974, is that there’s now an almost infinite supply of low-skilled workers, thanks to the EU accession of Poland, Romania etc. In many factories or warehouses there’s a two-tier workforce – people who were employed before 2005, on full time contracts and generally paid above minimum wage – then the more recent “employeees”, provided by an agency and on minimum-wage zero hours contracts.

    The gutting of worker bargaining power is a supply and demand issue – the numbers on zero hours are a symptom, not a cause. Those like the Guardian who weep crocodile tears over ZHCs are the same people who want effectively open borders.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Those Accession-country peons are as a consequence of their (locally) pitiful pay, thrust squarely into the Working Tax Credits zone. Bring the family, claim for the lot. Claim the rent. NHS treatment for grandma. Even better, let them stay home and just claim for the kids. If you don't have any, just invent some.

    16 hrs a week playing at some notional private enterprise "self-employed" set-up will pull in a good wedge, and more importantly, a whole raft of benefits provided you can demonstrate dependents. So we get car-washing by hand, hairdressing, tailoring and alterations, nailbars, and mini-cab driving.

    Any savings one makes living temporarily and illegally crammed into a local authority semi or (dare I say it) towerblock flat, hot bedding, or two families to a room, go a long, long way to an early and wealthy retirement in Transylvania. Or Togo. With maybe a couple of extra girlfriends or even wives. Whose many, many uncontraceptived children will be motivated to make a similar fortune ... guess where?

    Meanwhile the same setup won't even keep the local Brits in oven-chips and lager. They have to pay London prices for everything, all their lives, and eventually die in poverty (homeless, of course). Probably unable to "afford" a family at all.

    Well done 'British' Business! Almost all the costs of your non-corporation-tax-paying rackets, including the wages have been palmed off on the working, PAYE, IR35-paying public. Enjoy your private islands and yachts. This can go on forever, obviously ...

    , @The Alarmist
    Last time around, the Black Plague (if we may still call it that) solved the labour supply/demand problem, and that led to nearly 700 years of increasing liberty and self-determination in the English-speaking world. Let's hope it doesn't take a similar pest, brought in no doubt by our highly prized migrants, as so many of these once controlled or eradicated diseases have been lately, for the common folk to get back some of the power they have lost in the last few decades.
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  24. Logan says:
    @Expletive Deleted
    Oh I see. The Daily Mail strikes again.

    Grenfell Tower fire is believed to have started shortly before 1am when a fridge on the seventh floor exploded. Samira Lamrini said: 'The man whose flat it was came out and said it was his flat. He was a slim, tall, white British man.
    'He was pointing at the fire on a lower floor and said, 'That's my flat, that's it'. He said it was his fridge that had exploded.
    'He started filming it on his phone. He was upset but I don't think he had a clue about the scale of what was happening.
    'After that the fire went up in minutes, it was so fast. The speed with which it took hold was terrifying. It was like a tissue being set alight. It just went whoosh, so quickly. I didn't see him after that.' (Daily Mail 15/06/2017).
     

    'People have lost their lives. I can't bear it': Ethiopian taxi driver whose faulty fridge started the inferno' says he'll 'never get over' how many were killed. Behailu Kebede raised the alarm as the Grenfell Tower inferno began to spread, his neighbours have said. Father of one, a taxi driver from Ethiopia,discovered the fire in his fourth floor kitchen ahead of blaze.Tower block resident Maryam Adam said he knocked on her door to warn her at 12.50am on Tuesday night. (Daily Mail 16/06/2017).
     
    Ms Lamrani (who seems to be Moroccan, and therefore reasonably aware of the subtle differences between Ethiopians and Brits) is also, surprise surprise, the source of the flying baby story, among other tales.

    Lamrini then said she saw a woman from a ninth or tenth story window with a baby.
    The woman signaled she was going to drop the child to those below, crying out "I'm about to throw my baby. Please catch the baby!" according to Lamrani.
    Moments later, she did.
    A man ran from the crowd of witnesses to catch the falling child. He then took the child to safety.
    Lamrani calls it was a "miraculous" rescue.
     

    If a 20 pound baby falls 100 feet, it’s going about 55 mph by the time it reaches ground level, and generates roughly 1900 foot-pounds of force.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Thanks Logan. None of the current Lions crew, still less Gatland's recent locally-based call-ups, could make that pass. Maybe an All-Black?
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  25. Logan says:
    @El Dato
    Frankly I don't see where "deregulation" comes into this at all.

    Like, at all.

    Bad cladding practice, bad regulation regarding cladding practice, silly, possibly corrupt acquisition of inappropriate cladding, and non-enforcement of fire regulations, yes.

    But deregulation?

    Might as well be aliens.

    Actually, mostly is (though I don't debase myself in cheering the death tool as some commenteros are wont to do)

    Now, how come this doesn't happen in France where "HLMs" are the urban blight of the "banlieues", as well as sources of cultural enrichment?

    Deregulation, if it means anything, presumably refers to a smaller number of regulations.

    Being opposed to deregulation, therefore, seems to mean being in favor of a larger number of regulations.

    But when it comes to safety the issue is simply not the number of regulations, it’s whether they are the right regulations.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and state that this tragedy was the result of one or more factors. None of which have anything at all to do with the number of regulations existing.

    1. Regulations were inadequate or just wrong. Possibly because the “greenness” of a material was inappropriately privileged over its fire safety.

    2. Regulations were not followed, whether in using the wrong material or in not installing it properly.

    3. Tying in with 2, regulations were not properly inspected nor enforced.

    Increasing the number of regulations will simply not prevent another such disaster. The solution is to have the right (not necessarily more) regulations, and then enforce them properly.

    Fewer, but well chosen and strictly enforced, regulations are infinitely preferable to more but less well enforced regulations.

    Read More
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  26. Logan says:
    @TWS
    Wasn't this caused by green regulation? Putting a flammable cladding on the building to save energy? Regulations are to blame. When will you look up at the fields of crosses blighting your landscape and realize your windfarms do nothing but kill birds? Does the cult of Gaia know no bounds?

    Not directly. As there are non-flammable claddings with similar insulation characteristics that could have been used. And probably even the “flammable” material could have been used safely if properly installed.

    However, you point out a real problem. When I used to teach classes about how to deal with water-damaged buildings, I would point out that some new materials and assemblies that were going up for “energy conservation” reasons would react less well to getting wet.

    A common response was, “So you’re in favor of wasting energy and killing the planet!”

    Facepalm.

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  27. @Anon
    "More recently another aspect of deregulation that has come in for widespread denunciation has been so-called zero-hours contracts. Under such contracts, employers are not required to guarantee workers any minimum number of working hours. Many critics consider the concept to have gutted workers’ bargaining power."

    Zero hours contracts have been around for decades, working perfectly well, as they still do for skilled workers where demand exceeds supply. For example, many IT contractors are effectively on zero hours, in that when the work is finished, the company have the right to release the contractors before the contract expires. "Bank nurses" can pick and choose the hours they work, without fear that the NHS won't call again if they turn down some work.

    The huge difference between the situation now and in, say, 1974, is that there's now an almost infinite supply of low-skilled workers, thanks to the EU accession of Poland, Romania etc. In many factories or warehouses there's a two-tier workforce - people who were employed before 2005, on full time contracts and generally paid above minimum wage - then the more recent "employeees", provided by an agency and on minimum-wage zero hours contracts.

    The gutting of worker bargaining power is a supply and demand issue - the numbers on zero hours are a symptom, not a cause. Those like the Guardian who weep crocodile tears over ZHCs are the same people who want effectively open borders.

    Those Accession-country peons are as a consequence of their (locally) pitiful pay, thrust squarely into the Working Tax Credits zone. Bring the family, claim for the lot. Claim the rent. NHS treatment for grandma. Even better, let them stay home and just claim for the kids. If you don’t have any, just invent some.

    16 hrs a week playing at some notional private enterprise “self-employed” set-up will pull in a good wedge, and more importantly, a whole raft of benefits provided you can demonstrate dependents. So we get car-washing by hand, hairdressing, tailoring and alterations, nailbars, and mini-cab driving.

    Any savings one makes living temporarily and illegally crammed into a local authority semi or (dare I say it) towerblock flat, hot bedding, or two families to a room, go a long, long way to an early and wealthy retirement in Transylvania. Or Togo. With maybe a couple of extra girlfriends or even wives. Whose many, many uncontraceptived children will be motivated to make a similar fortune … guess where?

    Meanwhile the same setup won’t even keep the local Brits in oven-chips and lager. They have to pay London prices for everything, all their lives, and eventually die in poverty (homeless, of course). Probably unable to “afford” a family at all.

    Well done ‘British’ Business! Almost all the costs of your non-corporation-tax-paying rackets, including the wages have been palmed off on the working, PAYE, IR35-paying public. Enjoy your private islands and yachts. This can go on forever, obviously …

    Read More
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  28. @Logan
    If a 20 pound baby falls 100 feet, it's going about 55 mph by the time it reaches ground level, and generates roughly 1900 foot-pounds of force.

    Thanks Logan. None of the current Lions crew, still less Gatland’s recent locally-based call-ups, could make that pass. Maybe an All-Black?

    Read More
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  29. a k says:

    Many in the world will rethink WTC towers, especially tower 7.

    Read More
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  30. NoldorElf says:
    @Mark F.
    America produced more manufactured goods last year than ever. But with far fewer people due to automation. That's the main reason manufacturing jobs are in decline.

    IF that were the main reason, there would be no export deficits.

    There would be:

    1. Balanced trade
    2. HIgh levels of capital investment (US corporations are not spending, but hoarding cash)
    3. A positive correlation between productivity and unemployment (the data shows the opposite)

    Somehow Germany and Japan, as Fingleton in his other articles have documented, maintain export surpluses. I would recommend reading Fingleton as he is an expert in this field.

    I’m skeptical about automation taking out most jobs.

    Read More
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  31. Lurker says:

    The MSM have decided that the local council is to blame, as is Theresa May. But the London mayor is not. Somewhat unusually the chain of command and responsibility has managed to leapfrog a whole tier of government.

    This is nothing to do with the mayor being a swarthy Muslim. Nothing at all.

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes
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  32. TWS says:

    Further study shows that it was EU safety regs combined with the environmental regs. You have this entirely backwards.

    Read More
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  33. These would be the same civil servants who have made the NHS such a raging success. Good luck with that!

    Read More
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  34. @Anon
    "More recently another aspect of deregulation that has come in for widespread denunciation has been so-called zero-hours contracts. Under such contracts, employers are not required to guarantee workers any minimum number of working hours. Many critics consider the concept to have gutted workers’ bargaining power."

    Zero hours contracts have been around for decades, working perfectly well, as they still do for skilled workers where demand exceeds supply. For example, many IT contractors are effectively on zero hours, in that when the work is finished, the company have the right to release the contractors before the contract expires. "Bank nurses" can pick and choose the hours they work, without fear that the NHS won't call again if they turn down some work.

    The huge difference between the situation now and in, say, 1974, is that there's now an almost infinite supply of low-skilled workers, thanks to the EU accession of Poland, Romania etc. In many factories or warehouses there's a two-tier workforce - people who were employed before 2005, on full time contracts and generally paid above minimum wage - then the more recent "employeees", provided by an agency and on minimum-wage zero hours contracts.

    The gutting of worker bargaining power is a supply and demand issue - the numbers on zero hours are a symptom, not a cause. Those like the Guardian who weep crocodile tears over ZHCs are the same people who want effectively open borders.

    Last time around, the Black Plague (if we may still call it that) solved the labour supply/demand problem, and that led to nearly 700 years of increasing liberty and self-determination in the English-speaking world. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a similar pest, brought in no doubt by our highly prized migrants, as so many of these once controlled or eradicated diseases have been lately, for the common folk to get back some of the power they have lost in the last few decades.

    Read More
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