There is very little that can yet be properly said about the appalling tragedy in North Kensington. We can all, as we do, pray for those who have died, who have been injured or who have lost all their property. Some, I wish I could claim to have been of their number, have rushed to give practical support. Others have made financial contributions. And, of course, the emergency services can and must be praised for all they have done and are continuing to do.
But what we cannot do, at least not yet, is blame anyone for the disaster. We don’t know the facts. We must wait for them to be established.
It was depressing, therefore, to read that Mr Corbyn has already decided that the fire was caused by wicked Tory cuts. Maybe it will turn out that he is right. Maybe it will be found that the cladding, which seems to have been the villain of the piece, was made of flammable material which was chosen because it was cheap and would save public money. On the other hand, it could just as easily turn out (I am certainly not casting blame) that the cladding was chosen because it was thought to be “green”, that it would reduce the “carbon footprint” of the residents. In that case, we must look to Mr Blair’s government, not evil Tories, for answers (it was that government which insisted that tower blocks should be given their cladding). And maybe it will turn out that all the experts, wrongly but not criminally, thought the cladding was not a fire risk.
The answers will come eventually, but we simply don’t have them yet. And, sad though it might be for the likes of Mr Corbyn, it can’t be beyond the realms of possibility that it will transpire that no one behaved badly at all, that the mistakes (and I agree there must have been mistakes) were not in any way malicious.