Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Economics’

One of the Stingiest Bitches I’ve Come Across, And That Says Something… INQUEST NOT INQUIRY pt 3

We all knew £5m wouldn’t be enough for the victims of Grenfell Tower… And remember the council has £274m in surplus for failing to use their budgets properly as well as paying rebates to the highest tax payers because of it, might as well be embezzlement. Reminds me of the Hackney council 10m embezzlement some years back which was discovered when they managed to build a brand spanking new Town Hall and periphery [gorgeous] buildings yet rubbish was piling up on the streets… That said there was no ‘corporate manslaughter’ (or ‘murder’, since Kensington and Chelsea knew the risks of what they were doing all those years) involved because of it.

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/grenfell-tower-families-to-get-%C2%A35500-government-payout/ar-BBCQupg

Families left homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire are to receive more than £5,000 to help them rebuild their lives, with £500 available immediately in cash, Theresa May has announced.

The cash payments are already being distributed by Kensington and Chelsea council to affected households, and from Monday payments of £5,000 will be put into bank accounts.

The money, which comes from the £5m emergency fund announced by Downing Street, may be increased if necessary.

May, the prime minister, said: “As we continue to respond to the needs of the community, our focus is on ensuring that all of those affected by this unimaginable tragedy get the right support as quickly as possible.

“My government will continue to do absolutely everything possible to help all of those affected through the difficult days, weeks, months and years ahead.”

The money will come from the £5m fund announced by May on Friday. No 10 said the £500 cash payment was already being handed out and further payments will be available from the Westway Centre and the nearby post office in Portobello Road. Help will be given to residents who do not have bank accounts.

May said: “As we continue to respond to the needs of the community, our focus is on ensuring that all of those affected by this unimaginable tragedy get the right support as quickly as possible. My government will continue to do absolutely everything possible to help all of those affected through the difficult days, weeks, months and years ahead.”

The move came as the official response to the crisis drew fresh condemnation from residents. In a statement to the Press Association, residents who met the prime minister in Downing Street over the weekend criticised Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for its reaction to the disaster.

The group said: “In our meeting at Downing Street, we explained to the prime minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy.

“With the exception of very few junior officers, the estate managers have been invisible in the aftermath of the tragedy.”

What the hell is that going to cover? Nothing. They have nothing; they’re starting from scratch, not even from scratch – they’re suffering from loss that they can never recover; loss of loved ones, home and memories. They’ve got no belongings except the clothes on their backs, having to look for/wait for missing persons/animals, having to wait for the dead, having to take time off work, having to sort out benefits, in need of counseling both legal and mental, possibly physical injuries to heal from, confused/grieving, overwhelmed and you think £5500 is going to mean anything? £500 in cash? Oh how charitable and responsible of you – the people of the country have done a much better job than that in one day than you and your stupid token fund and you’re the government, the place everyone looks to for regulation and ‘harmony’, peace and justice and all that. What a ‘joke’, a horrific ‘joke’. £500 won’t even cover temporary accommodation especially not in London, and where are they going for relocation, how will they pay for that? Food, clothing, household provisions, travel, medicine, furniture, funerals – all those basic essentials AND WHAT ABOUT COMPENSATION!? This doesn’t begin to even think about covering the orchestration that was done to them. The official establishments and have put them in debt and bankruptcy with this and you’re doing nothing but making their situation into a sinkhole. What about their loans, their ability to work; their whole lives have been turned upside down and you/your advisors/supporters think £5500 is ok. Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, I can’t believe your complete and utter lack of shame. You and everyone responsible/party to the tragedy should be humiliated at what’s happened, at what you’re offering; there’s no dignity in it at all. This is one of the worst incidents in modern history and the worst handling of it too.

Wow the Tories Can’t Do Anything Right

EDIT – Update 16/06/27 9pm:

Call for info for Grenfell Tower Survivors findingneelo

Call for info for Grenfell Tower Survivors

Grenfell Tower Donations and Drop Off Points

Grenfell Tower Donations and Drop Off Points

I don’t support one party over another or play them off against each other because ultimately the direction of the country doesn’t change. However with everybody looking at the tragedy that is Grenfell Tower in the richest borough of London, Kensington and Chelsea, and how they treat their poor people – a number of dangerously embarrassing factors have been unearthed.

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http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/eight-failures-that-left-people-of-grenfell-tower-at-mercy-of-the-inferno/ar-BBCKiw9

Eight failures that left people of Grenfell Tower at mercy of the inferno

A litany of failings in building regulation and safety rules have left residents in tower blocks vulnerable for decades. Despite constant warnings from fire experts, nothing was done to improve fire-proofing standards, or even review the current situation. Here are the eight times that the victims of Grenfell Tower were let down.

A change in the law

Until 1986 all buildings in London fell under the London Building Acts which ensured that external walls must have at least one hour of fire resistance to prevent flames from spreading between flats or entering inside.

But under Margaret Thatcher’s government, those rules were replaced by the National Buildings Regulations and the crucial time stipulation was scrapped.

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

Instead, materials used on the outside of buildings now only had to meet ‘Class O’ regulations and show that they did not add to the heat or intensity of a fire. But crucially they did not have to be non-combustible.

For the past three decades fire safety experts have warned that the ‘Class O’ designation was based on small-scale tests conducted in laboratory conditions and did not properly evaluate cladding in a live fire.

A recent London Fire Brigade investigation into the fire at a tower block fire at Shepherd Court in West London in August 2016 found that external cladding had helped the fire to spread. [My Comment: Yet in the same year Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation went ahead and used known high risk cladding on the partial refurb of Grenfell Tower and used Aluminium instead of Zinc because Aluminium doesn’t spark/ignite when its melting point (lower than Zinc’s) is reached, however that is undermined when coupled with flammable panel parts and insulation.]

They found that when exposed to high flames the metal sheet of the cladding had melted away, setting the inner polystyrene foam on fire and allowing ‘flaming droplets’ to fall onto lower floors while helping flames to spread higher up. Fire chiefs wrote to every council in London to warn them of the dangers but no action was taken.

Dangerous cladding

A leading fire safety expert warned Government advisors three years ago that a tragedy like the Grenfell Tower inferno would happen unless they changed rules to ban cheap, flammable insulation used on the outside of buildings.

Arnold Turling said the Grenfell blaze was “entirely avoidable” and that a gap between the panels acted as a ‘wind tunnel’, fanning the flames, and allowing the fire to spread to upper levels.

Mr Turling, a member of the Association of Specialist Fire Protection, said: “Any burning material falls down the gaps and the fire spreads up very rapidly – it acts as its own chimney.”

Three years ago Mr Tarling, a chartered surveyor, addressed the British Standards Institute’s seventh annual fire conference in London, at which government fire safety advisor Brian Martin was present.

“I said we will have this type of cladding fire in this country and it will lead to large numbers of deaths,” he said.

Following the Shepherd Court fire, insurer RSA wrote a report warning that flammable material in insulation panels “melts and ignites relatively easily”, and can cause “extremely rapid fire spread and the release of large volumes of toxic smoke”.

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

They concluded: “This allows extensive and violent fire to spread, and makes fire fighting almost impossible.”

Architect and fire safety expert Sam Webb said there was a “conflict” between fire safety and the materials that are used to make buildings more energy efficient.

However Harley Curtain Wall Ltd said that it had installed cladding, with polyisocyanurate inside, a material which is better than most at resisting fire in tests.

No government review

After six people died in the Lakanal House fire in south London in 2009, the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group called for a major government review of building regulations.

They argued that 4,000 tower blocks across London were at risk because of a lack of fire risk assessments, and panels on the outside walls not providing the necessary fire resistance.

The coroner on the Lakanal House inquest also recommended the government simplify regulations relating to fire safety so they were easier for landlords to understand.

In 2013, then communities secretary Eric Pickles responded to the coroner’s recommendations and promised a review with an updated version of building regulations published in 2016/17.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Matt Dunham/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Smoke rises from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London…

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Matt Dunham/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Smoke rises from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they’re continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London…

However, four years on and no review has been completed despite assurances from former housing minister Gavin Barwell, who is now Theresa May’s chief of staff. [My Comment: strip him of his titles and find out WHY he’s been stalling such essential review.]

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the work is “ongoing” and would not give a date for when the updated regulations will be published.

A single staircase

Residents in Grenfell Tower made repeated warnings that a single staircase was their only means of escaping the building.

© PA

Despite safety concerns of experts, tower blocks in Britain still only have to have one staircase, leaving Britain out of step with other countries in the world.

Russ Timpson, of the Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network, said his “foreign colleagues are staggered” that there is no requirement for a second staircase as he called on the Government to look again at fire safety regulations.

Residents fleeing in Tuesday night’s blaze complained that stairways were blocked, full of smoke and had no sprinkler systems fitted. Firefighters also struggled to get to the upper levels.

Fire rips through Grenfell Tower in London. © AFP/Getty Images

Fire rips through Grenfell Tower in London. © AFP/Getty Images

Fire rips through Grenfell Tower in London. Ronnie King, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Fire Safety & Rescue Group, said: “The staircase should have been protected route for firefighters and people escaping but it was clear that it wasn’t.”

The flats had recently been refitted and fire experts warned that gaps in the walls where new pipes were installed could have allowed flames and smoke to spread quickly through the communal areas.

Missing sprinklers

There was no central sprinkler system at Glenfell which members of the Fire Protection Association said would have “undoubtedly” saved lives.

MPs from All-Party Parliamentary Group Fire Safety & Rescue Group also said that MPs had been calling for sprinklers to be fitted on the outside of tall buildings for years, but said their calls been ignored.

Currently, sprinklers only need to be fitted up to 30 metres, but in tall buildings like Grenfell it is impossible for fire hoses to reach the upper heights, leaving the top floors without any protection.

The Fire Protection Association said more sprinklers would “undoubtedly” have saved lives.

“Whether they’d have stopped that fire spreading at the speed it did up the outside of that building is another matter,” Jon O’Neill of the FPA said.

“But to have had sprinklers in that building would have created an environment where it would have been easier to rescue people and increase survivability.”

However in 2014 housing minister Brandon Lewis stopped short of forcing building developers to fit sprinklers, over fears it could discourage house building. [My Comment: He was Minister of State for Housing and Planning 2014–2016, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services 2016–2017 and is currently Conservative Member of Parliament
for Great Yarmouth
2010–present Minister of State for Immigration 2017–present. Wow this guy is given too much credit given his deplorable track record, strip him of his titles and investigate WHY he made such a shitty decision. If Sprinklers or any feature was made a normal part of building procedure costs would go down and wouldn’t discourage building especially since the government has to contract for ‘affordable housing’ in a country where there’s already tons of property sitting empty because its too expensive or used for holiday rentals, also too expensive.]

He said at Westminster Hall Debate: “The cost of fitting a fire sprinkler system may affect house building – something we want to encourage.”

Missing fire doors

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. © Toby Melville/Reuters Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017.

London Fire Brigade said claims that doors were not fire-proofed would form part of its ongoing inquiry.

Two separate sources have told The Telegraph that not all the front doors in the tower block were fire-proofed. Official fire brigade advice to stay put in the event of a fire is based on fire doors offering protection to residents told not to leave the building.

Fire doors are designed to stop the fire spreading rapidly through the building rather than being “compartmentalised”.

'It's like something out of a horror movie' - London fire eyewitness © Provided by Reuters 'It's like something out of a horror movie'

‘It’s like something out of a horror movie’ – London fire eyewitness © Provided by Reuters ‘It’s like something out of a horror movie’

Regulations state that all tower blocks being built must have fire doors on the flat, the stairwell and the riser doors, which give access to the pipes.

Building regulations are not retrospective, so cannot force the installation of modern equipment on old buildings.

However, Richard Brownlee, Managing Director of Surrey Fire and Safety Ltd, said that it would be expected that fire doors were installed as part of any refurbishment and installation would be recommended as part of any refurbishment.

Inspections

According to information released by Kensington and Chelsea Council under the Freedom of Information Act, the last time that Grenfell Tower was subject to a full Fire Risk Assessment was December 2015.

There is a requirement for every building to have regular fire risk assessments, but the regulations do not specify how frequently this should take place. Industry experts say that best practice is every 12 months.

It is also a requirement to have a fire risk assessment carried out if there is a “material change” to the building. The regulations do not specify how soon that inspection must take place.

The refurbishment to Grenfell Tower was completed in May 2016 and yet it does not appear that any safety checks were carried out, even though the new cladding work consisted of ‘material change.’ The council did not respond to a request for comment.

Firebreaks

Fires on outside of cladded buildings should have been controlled by firebreaks – gaps in the external envelope to prevent the continual burning of material.

Under Building Regulations 1991, developers are warned that they must install systems to prevent flames from leaping from floor to floor.

However the Fire Brigades Union and the Loss Prevention Council and the Buildings Research Establishment have frequently warned that guidance is not adequate in the event of a fire.

And fire safety experts said it was unlikely that firebreaks would have stopped the conflagration at Grenfell.

Dr Stuart Smith, a building surveying and fire safety lecturer at Sheffield Hallam university, said: “The rate at which the building was burning suggests that even if the fire breaks were there, they didn’t work.

“Once the fire had got into the cladding, the rate at which that burns, I’m not sure fire breaks would work anyway.”

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So from the Conservative point of view – We had Margaret Thatcher put people in danger, we had Gavin Barwell stall repeatedly recommended review of Fire Safety Regulations, Brandon Lewis then neglected to make adding sprinklers into law and on the very day of forewarned disaster (feared by experts and felt by tenants (who’d also been threatened to take their blog with complaints offline)) Theresa May gave scripted sounding responses, turned up for a ‘private’ meeting with emergency staff whilst ignoring all the victims present… Right after an epic election fail. Pathetic.

The Iron Bitch Margaret Thatcher

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Gavin Barwell

Brandon Lewis

The opposite of Tony B.Liar – Theresa May is a Conservative who loves the colour Red

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http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/shameless-tory-council-leader-blames-grenfell-tower-block-residents-for-lack-of-sprinklers-claiming-they-didnt-want-disruption/ar-BBCK0uN

Shameless Tory council leader blames Grenfell Tower block residents for lack of sprinklers claiming they didn’t want ‘disruption’

A shameless Tory has blamed Grenfell Tower block residents for the lack of sprinklers in the building.

Nick Paget-Brown, the Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, claimed tenants didn’t want the ‘disruption’ of them being fitted.

Conservative, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council

Conservative, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council

Experts have suggested that sprinklers could have been fitted in the 24-storey building for just £200,000 during the £10 million refurbishment.

Asked if installing sprinklers was considered as part of the refurbishment, Mr Paget-Brown said the advice was that the best way to combat the spread of a fire was to contain it.

He told BBC2’s Newsnight: “There was not a collective view that all the flats should be fitted with sprinklers because that would have delayed and made the refurbishment of the block more disruptive.” [My Comment – no but at least the stairway (and corridors) where some idiot decided to put gas pipes and no backup in case of fire.]

“We are now talking retrospectively after the most enormous tragedy, but many residents felt that we needed to get on with the installation of new hot water systems, new boilers and that trying to retrofit more would delay the building and that sprinklers aren’t the answer.”

He added:”I didn’t consider retrofitting sprinklers because we were told that what you try to do when you are refurbishing is to contain a fire within a particular flat so that the fire service can evacuate that flat, deal with the fire.”

But he said: “Of course I regret anything that we might have done differently that would have avoided this tragedy.”

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association has put the cost of installing a sprinkler system at £200,000.

Mr Paget-Brown was unable to say how many tower blocks in his borough lacked sprinkler systems.

Amid speculation that the cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower could have been a factor in the fatal blaze, Mr Paget-Brown said no other refurbishments in the borough would use the system.

“As far as I know there are no other towers with that cladding,” he said. [My Comment: And how many others didn’t have risk assessments, a fundamental part of planning.]

Asked if the borough would use similar components on towers in the future, he said: “No.”

He added: “We have asked the London Fire Brigade to look at all our towers and give us a report on whether fire safety in all of the towers – because we are very conscious residents are worried about this – whether they can give us the assurance that we need that all of those towers are safe and that they comply with fire standards, fire regulations.” [My Comment: And their advice has been ignored for years by the Conservatives. ‘Shameless’ doesn’t even begin to describe…]

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http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/fire-resistant-grenfell-tower-cladding-would-have-cost-just-%C2%A35000-more-than-flammable/ar-BBCJYO0

Fire-resistant Grenfell Tower cladding would have cost just £5,000 more than flammable

It would have cost just £5,000 to use fire-resistant cladding on Grenfell Tower, it emerged last night.

Hundreds of aluminium panels are thought to have been fitted to the outside of the tower by Harley Facades, a small family firm subcontracted as part of that refurbishment.

US-based Reynobond makes three types of panel: one with a flammable plastic core and two with fire-resistant cores.

Last night investigators were probing whether the cheaper and more combustible, versions were used by the contractors.

Reynobond’s fire-resistant panel sells for £24 per square metre— £2 more expensive than the standard version.

Estimates suggest that the cost of using the more expensive version would have cost about £5000.

A salesman for US-based Reynobond told The Times that this version, which has a polyethylene core and is known as PE, was banned in American buildings taller than 40 feet (12.2 metres) for fire safety reasons.

He said:“It’s because of the fire and smoke spread. The FR [variant] is fire-resistant. The PE is just plastic.”

The PE version is used for small commercial buildings and petrol stations, he said, rather than for tower blocks or critical buildings such as hospitals.

The PE panels which conform to UK standards but are rated as “flammable” in Germany, putting them in the same category as “unprotected wood with a thickness of no more than 12mm”.

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So £2 a head is what the average human being at Grenfell Tower was worth in terms of standard spending and ‘premium’ spending/materials, the difference between life and death or a ‘decent’ and a mentally/physically crippled one. Nice (sarcasm). I thought people were worth much less to decision makers.

Only was used 8.7mil in the 2016 partial refurbishment – that’s all they could be bothered to do and for what purpose was the cladding? To maintain property prices in the most expensive borough in London, to make the building look prettier not to make it more livable. It was likely better off before with the original ‘exposed’ and ‘ugly’ inflammable building materials. This event was preventable and shouldn’t have happened, period. I doubt calls for corporate manslaughter will go far but they should. The risks were known, there were examples worldwide including in the UK, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) ignored concerns/recommendations from the fire service and tenants, a different to norm metal was used for the cladding, there wasn’t a proper central fire alarm system, the resident association were threatened, the same building method reportedly used on other buildings in their portfolio etc etc etc they’re being cheap and reckless and they know it. They killed, maimed people and animals, made them homeless, put fear into the hearts of people all over in similar conditions -its corporate manslaughter at the very least not [just] building code violations/technicalities with possible fines. Damage control is cheaper than prevention which is why shoddy work like this is done, even in places like uber affluent Dubai who also don’t care about human rights. Tower blocks from the 70s should’ve been demolished not ‘refurbed’ and tenants temporarily re-homed in the process with guaranteed places in the new developments.

This is what happens when they take the cheap route, even ‘not-for-profit’ organizations. What I also hate is there is tons of property in London, tons of it sitting empty because they’re too expensive. We all keep looking for ‘affordable housing’ renting, buying or shared ownership. It’s not a lack of property, its the packing of people into cramped spaces so that buy-to-let landlords can make money. Rents are too high and overall prices far above labour, materials and margins. A ton of property in London and most people dont have access to it and never will let alone buy it. Most people are forced into the rent trap where they’re spending most of their income on rent which doesn’t get them much more than a shelter over their heads especially if you’re living in low standard housing and you can be kicked out at any point with many being ineligible for emergency housing and possibly social housing and innumerable private landlords refuse housing benefit claimants or any ‘benefit’ claimants, people with pets and even people with children instead wanting ‘professionals’ and ‘professional couples’ – what about maternity and paternity leave? Do they have to move out if they’re going to have children? Not to mention that many can’t make decorative let alone structural changes to their residence – say goodbye to the pencil marks/height charts on the walls of your ‘home where you grew up’ (as opposed ‘temporary shelter’) people, sad. We’re not hiring and housing robots, these are people – they eat, sleep, get ill, have children, have family issues, need holiday/rest, change over time, retire – yet governing bodies, insurance firms and mortgage lenders act like they should be automatons. Coupled with a lack of council properties and councils having to look to housing associations and private landlords, what are people supposed to do?! Even professionals have a hard time with teachers being the latest upset in the ever ongoing housing crises, ironic given the previous drive for affordable housing for them. Housing plus travel and household costs means you’re broke and/or in debt, you can barely keep up with the mounting bills. People in the 80s and prior did well when they bought their properties ‘cheap’ for approx £10-40,000, many could pay it off in less than a lifetime mortgage (currently 40 years, previously 25 years) AND on wages that were ok for the time instead of stagnant like they have been for ages against rising prices for everything else. Those people are safe, everyone who came later who isnt rich (and not being ‘successful’ and/or rich doesn’t equate to being lazy, unintelligent or untalented – it just means not as lucky or well connected in order to show off the hard work and be rewarded [fairly or unfairly] for it) are in crises.

A lack of proper precautions and care leads to people having to resort to desperate measures like this:

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http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/quick-thinking-mum-saves-her-family-in-grenfell-tower-blaze-by-running-a-bath-and-flooding-their-flat/ar-BBCJRqR

Quick-thinking mum saves her family in Grenfell Tower blaze by running a bath and flooding their flat

A brave mum saved her family as they were trapped in the Grenfell Tower inferno – by running a bath and flooding her entire flat.

Natasha Elcock was trapped along with her boyfriend and her six-year-old daughter in their 11th floor home when the blaze ripped through the building.

The family had followed instructions to stay in the flat if a fire broke out, but after 90 minutes fire crews told her to flee the flat.

Natasha explained the front door was too hot to touch and when it started to buckle and the windows began to bubble, the John Lewis worker knew she had to take drastic action.

The 38-year-old mum, who has lived in the tower block for 20 years, turned on her taps and flooded the bathroom.

She told the Daily Star : “I let the bathroom flood. It kept the flat damp and it may have saved our lives.”

Natasha kept her daughter on the wet floor and made sure her family stayed in the coldest room.

Firefighters eventually reached the stricken family at 3am and led them to safety.

The death toll after the tragedy has now risen to 17 and fire bosses have warned the number of people killed could be more than 100.

There are still 17 people fighting for their lives in hospital, with dozens more injured, including nine firefighters.

Other acts of extreme bravery have been reported during the desperate escape from the flames.

Hero dad Marcio Gomes had fled the burning building holding onto his 12-year-old daughter.

Grenfell Tower Tribute Wall

Pic Credit: Getty.

But in the confusion the pair were separated. The 38-year-old raced back into the flames to carry his daughter to safety.

And 16-year-old Ines Alves fled the tower block carrying only her mobile phone and GCSE revision notes before heading into school to sit her chemistry exam.
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Respect to those people. It’s not easy to keep your wits about you in such extreme circumstances let alone people who’ve lived in survival mode for months and years e.g. living in class categorized ‘poverty’ (not necessarily squalor, there is such a thing as the ‘proud poor’ whose floors you could metaphorically ‘eat your dinner off’) and under the breadline. Adrenaline and fear are helpful in temporary emergencies for adequate to lifesaving fight or flight, escape or evade instinct but that refers to minutes and hours – after years of depressing situation and conflict/frustration your conditioned behaviours can get in the way because you’ve been numbed/blunted.

The turnout has been amazing, people have really come together to support the victims it’s just a shame that it takes something like this to see community spirit of this level – a level that can get something done, a level that if we were all working for consistently there wouldn’t be a small number of people causing like these events in the first place or exacerbating their chances. The death toll as I write this stands at approx 17-30 but that is really downplaying the estimated figure; as per eye witness accounts the emergency services have left dead bodies in clear body bags on the lower floors of the building shell for all to see instead of immediate removal to morgues etc, some bodies will unlikely be found, others charred beyond recognition and in a 120 flat block with numerous bedrooms, residents, pets and guests a full body count is difficult and probably weeks away. Reports can’t even agree as to whether the tower had 24 or 27 storeys, a relatively simple thing you’d think but then it was part of a 3 building complex, apparently the last one in the regeneration and the ‘ghetto’ one. In my opinion it should have been demolished and residents moved until new accommodation was made and given guaranteed places in that new development. However if the site is to be used for commercial property residents should have been paid out and/or given better accommodation nearby. Instead they got a shoddy, cheap refurb and then lost almost everything in a fire that was supposedly caused by a fridge. In any other building that wouldn’t have happened, your fridge might somehow develop a fault that would somehow cause it to explode… Really? And then 24-27 storeys would go up in flames in less than 2 hours with half the side up in flames than less than one and by the end of it the whole building is a carcass… No. The original and perhaps a few surrounding flats would go at the most and people and pets/service animals should be evacuated not left to jump our of windows, throw babies out of windows ten storeys up and hope someone (not even a firefighter) would catch it, wave out of a window and get rescued 10 hours later, flood their flats etc. I’m really hoping the land doesn’t end up in commercial hands after this, that would be such an evil mockery. We have ‘tent cities’/refugee style camps in the UK, in London for god-sake – on top of our already increasingly homeless population – who’d have thought that would happen? One of the most expensive cities in the world where we moan about immigration, refugees and asylum seekers all the time whilst the poorest countries in the world take the bulk and then look we do it to our own. Nice. Not.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/lily-allen-grenfell-tower-interview-13193449 [My Comment – Go Lily, some great quotes there and the article has poignant commentary on Theresa May’s ridiculous behaviour and address towards people:]

“I feel like the government are trying to micromanage people’s grieving here.”

“I have never in my entire life seen an event like this were the death count has been downplayed by the mainstream media.

“Seventeen? I’m sorry but I am hearing from people the figure is much closer to 150 – and that many of those people are children.

“They are off-the-record numbers I have been given from policemen and from firemen.”

“The humanitarian effort on the ground here, the volunteering, which is being led by community leaders and volunteers, it is not being led by the council, it’s being run by the people of this community,” she said.

“It is chaotic, they don’t have any experience of it and I think it’s actually playing into the hands of the Government because once these people’s hope turns to anger, they have got a real problem on their hands.

She said there was no attempt from the council to bind the rich and poor residents in the borough, home to council flats among some of the most expensive properties in the world.

She said the council had instead driven them apart – by closing community centres and pubs in favour of posher versions.

[My Comment – That’s exactly what I was wondering; where are all the millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires (oh wait they’re sitting on and funding boards and sponsoring/lobbying legislation that causes things like this) though I did see Adele in pictures yesterday and the royals just had to do their PR stint today but then unlike Theresa May they have plenty of practise winning over people after Diana’s fiery death/sacrifice, Charles’ indiscretion although it was an arranged marriage in part to produce acceptable heirs, remarriage, Harry’s behaviour growing up, William’s baldness/loss of his mother’s looks and bobble headed super glued smile wife and their offspring – people who will never ever and have never ever had to worry about such things but show up at every letter opening to prove their in touch with the people and know how they feel whilst really being as detached as possible and the biggest ‘welfare spongers’ on the planet whilst making money and resources left, right and centre. They even braved the ash/smoke to get their practised facial expressions in and ruin their luxury designer clothing. As some people have been saying – there’s plenty of space in Buckingham Palace or any of the Royal/Public funded/paid to visit households.]

Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier faced criticism for failing to meet survivors when she visited the scene of the blaze.

Mrs May met police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of the disaster during a private visit to the west London site, but unlike Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, she was not seen to speak to families and residents.

“She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn’t use her humanity.

“The Prime Minister would have been shouted at by the residents, but she should have been willing to take that.”

In a message on Twitter, Ms [Harriet] Harman said: “Theresa May should have met Grenfell Fire residents. She should have been prepared to listen to them Not OK to speak at them via TV.”

It seems Ms May went for a ‘professional’ briefing, pep talk and a look at the victims only not to talk with them like a human being.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/grenfell-tower-death-toll-count-number-dead-lily-allen-media-a7792871.html

Lily Allen and Channel 4's Jon Snow

Lily Allen and Channel 4’s Jon Snow

Grenfell Tower: Lily Allen accuses the media of ‘downplaying’ death toll

Most publications have been reporting official death counts from the Met

On Twitter, she retweeted users saying: “Death toll of #grenfelltower being suppressed by UK MSM” and “when i was down there they said well into triple figures so is probably even more than 150.good on you for telling some truth”

Gallery

People As Tools, People And Tools

When Woolworths (founded in 1909 and owned by Woolworths Group PLC) shut its bricks&mortar shops in favour of a limited and now defunct online operation in 2008 (and sold to Shop Direct Group who also bought Littlewoods which also disappeared after years on the highstreet, in favour of their other shop Primark) did you notice the popping up and spreading of £1-ish stores? They had already been in existence and there were a plethora of small, cheap local homewares shops but after the demise of Woolies the £1-ish shops tookover selling similar wares. Many are branded goods but for a cheaper price, including run-off (surplus) stock and products that were in the process of having their packaging changed, all needing to be gotten rid of fast and cheap to the delight of bargain hunters and people on limited budgets, even those who can well afford higher prices. (I live in an affluent area and the £1-ish shop has the biggest frontage on the highstreet yet they turned down Argos and McDonalds preferring local owners and boutiques, and the £1-ish store a preference for new to the country, efficient and polite Polish staff when there isn’t an obvious Polish presence in the community, until the Post Office became part convenience store last year we were the only noticeable Indians except in the restaurants but they seem to live/recreate elsewhere.) Amazing how there wasn’t even time for a gap in the market. The ‘99p Stores’ chain (sold to Poundland in 2015) even have the signature Woolies confectionary pick ‘n’ mix area, something you only commonly found in newsagents back in the day “please can I have some penny/two penny sweets?” Us kids used to say.

Reminds me a bit of the Tesco’s (megamarket perhaps the best term for them since they’re worldwide and in various industries) land grab, buying up an estimated 300+ sites and then not using them but keeping the land so others couldn’t (they sold 14 to investment firm Meyer Bergman in 2015 for £250million).

Many people seem to think that ‘things just happen’ but do they? No, not really.

When the market changes, in this case an economic downturn where the prices of services and goods go up and the wages:
a) stay the same,
b) go down couple with higher workload/hours and/or
c) wages are scaled down to a standard but made to look fair because the majority of ‘new’ jobs (including those where someone has left and the position is open) start and stay at the new standard/’fair’ wage.

For example look at when Tony B.liar introduced the national minimum wage (NMW). Who thought that was fair and good treatment/security of the people? The middle & upper classes. The people getting NMW knew better – that jobs could and would be scaled down to NMW and they’d get less after PAYE (employer taking out tax and national insurance before paying) whereas those who can afford an accountant pay said person to keep their tax payments as low as possible. Companies didn’t have to pay higher wages from then on, they could offer NMW and people would be paid less for more work + the slap in the face of zero hour contracts. So many of the ‘lower class but utterly essential’ jobs that involve manual labour from cleaning to food production to maintenance are NMW – things we’d all be lost without. But when there’s tons of poorer people and no job security, plenty will jump at the chance of low paid jobs where they spend a big chunk of the wage just commuting. It’s not enough to live on.

Cue the wave of next generation ‘loan sharks’ aka the uprising and spread of pay day lenders, as well as the upswing in pawn shops. Then the ‘living wage’ for places like London and any employer who wants to offer it (surprise, surprise barely any) came about. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you can’t afford to pay staff but you need them then you shouldn’t be in business, unless in awareness of the situation people agree to stick it out and work together until/if things get better. That said most people can’t trust each other and with too many people reneging on personal contracts (e.g. collaborative efforts, lending each other money etc) all that leads to is more people in need of financial assistance for necessities like shelter and food.

So? Bring in cheap labour and outsource. Basically dehumanizing more people but in areas where locals see ‘new people’ (especially people of a different class and/or ethnicity) it just means ‘economic migrant’ becomes a common phrase and of course a dirty one. What they don’t see are the initiatives where international or soon-to-be international brands go to a country in the same legal economic area and say something like ‘we’re going to open a factory/ies and going to provide jobs so we need labour’ and the visited country says ‘we got plenty of labour, you can bring your factory/ies here or we’ll pack up our people and send ‘em to you’ (Sounds a bit like the American Dream and the extremely cheap emigration period to Australia after the prisoners were shipped off second after the invaders doesn’t it, some things never change just expand). That’s business. Everything and everywhere on this planet is a commodity, a resource, that includes us. It doesn’t matter that locals in previously higher economies (made high by exploitation but we don’t notice that until it happens to us) are disgruntled and feel priced out of their out of their own neighbourhoods, nor that people are constantly being moved about for a ‘better quality of life’ either out of an area/country that they didn’t have a choice to be born in or out of an place they used to call home but it doesn’t fell/look like home anymore.

People also forget that economic migration works both ways. There are many Xpat and Xpat communities in foreign countries and British people who’ve worked contracts abroad before returning. Look at Dubai (awe-inspiring sci-fi looking, dripping in money place) and look how it was made. Lots of imported labour; Western light skinned people as architects, engineers, project managers etc, some even allowed to bring their families so accommodation, transport, education and recreation had to be provided. The grunt work? Cheap, dark skinned people, many leaving their families to be used as servant labour. This is simply business. Look at South Africa, you thought ex-terrorist Nelson Mandela (yes he and Ghandi and many other ‘heroes’ were labelled terrorists) came in and saved the day? No. Segregation is still rife in SA, wage and status gap between Blacks and Whites for the same jobs. Who gets the most use out of economic migrant routes? Well think about it, how many Black SA people have you met? Who are the popular and ‘non-problematic’ immigrants here that we don’t accuse of taking our jobs – Canadians, White SA people and ‘Kiwis’ (and a sprinkling of West/Northern European folk).

That brings us to theatre politics. Who is always most likely to win elections (other than the opposite
major party just to supposedly have someone different)? The party with the strongest/hardest line on immigration and ‘welfare’. After locals have been pushed into various ‘benefits’ and national services are dependent on immigration (remove immigration and say goodbye to the NHS, though many prefer to be able to afford private but that’s not the point.)

Also look at who accelerated the property bubble, the mortgage crises and the rise of the recruitment/HR industry (people outside of the company organizing & finding employees rather than doing the jobs themselves and taking a cut from your wages as long as you’re hired by them rather than the company, hence the company paying higher wages overall for the commission of the headhunter). Again Tony B.liar’s ‘New Labour’, he also reignited the Iraq problems and is now an Abrahamic religions/peoples ambassador (topping off his Save the Children’s ‘Global Legacy’and ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ awards.)

Sidenote: It was a Labour government that reduced and changed grammar schools (just before I was due to attend), the one meritocratic link left for lower classes for social mobility based on intelligence and skills rather than nepotism. Polytechnics (college & university in one place) were previously changed into universities by the Con-servatives and put higher education further out of reach. No government has brought either back (though the worth of university degrees is very debatable now).

This constant sleight of hand has been going on since time immemorial and I’m certainly no fan of any party e.g. the Con-servatives who gave us phrases like “put up or shut up” and looked completely dumb in face of Labour you-know-who master orator, and the current PM’s tendency to wobble his head backwards and forwards doesn’t help, at least he had it easy against Gordon Brown, the unelected dour guy who actually made him look better. Local elections are pathetic as well. Why don’t people get sick of catchphrases, opening parties and baby kissing/reading to kids. It looks/sounds so fake and leery. The Lib Dems had no teeth when they finally got into government but that was to be expected. Interestingly Russia is thinking about bringing back the no confidence ‘none of the above’ option on their ballots, I wonder if people who feel they have to vote would prefer that to voting for a minor party they don’t really care for neither. Whilst in theory I would prefer local government/autonomy the Masonic lodges don’t disappear and neighbourhood watches can easily turn into groups of paranoid people who think they have the right to know everything about anybody ‘different’ (the amount of times we’ve been stopped by expensive property owners and other times inched by their cars as they follow us to get answers – wanting to know where we’ve come from, why we’re here, where we’re going as if we couldn’t possibly live here too and as if we have any interest in anything they fear we might).

You can’t rule/govern (this is only a streamlined list) if:
a) you’re upper class and have little clue about how the little people live (Michael Portillo, former Conservative MP lived for a week to an extent – film crew were there – as a single mum with 4 kids, £80 weekly budget and two jobs, and quickly changed his views),
b) your government has a significant number of people who went to fee-paying schools,
c) your government is a government of millionaires,
d) you’re going to make even more by side-jobs/titles whilst in parliament (not the same as being in government) aka the integrity of your main job isn’t your priority but being a part of a company that needs helpful legislation is.

One of the first things Tony B.liar did was increase the wages of government members and yet the expenses fiddling (decorate your house, decorate your second house, get another car etc) still happened not to mention the sex scandals.

It’s all just politics i.e the same old same old, hey Obama used to be mixed race but ever since his presidential campaign he’s been Black (his mother is White) (his Nobel Peace Prize was awarded just after he became prez so it could be said that it wasn’t really for him, but his predecessor George Bush of apparently the opposition). Also notice the treatment of Amazonian tribes under his tenancy. People need to remember that you can’t get far on the political ladder unless you have a lot of backing, elections cost so much money that could be better spent but people aren’t going to sponsor/help candidates ‘out of the goodness of their hearts’, you don’t get or stay successful that way. And of course regular people don’t want austerity or to be more muscular when it’s from a job rather than a cool diet or attractive gym. We like our conveniences too much for that, mostly made by people in other countries who also want our lifestyle. Vicious cycle.

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For a while Mum & I used to make our own loaves of bread, baking is something that builds upper body strength, keeps your fingers dextrous (important in this age of hunching over computing typing and mobile devices), gets the blood flowing and keeps you warm. (You have innumerable nerve endings in your hands and 70+ thousand in your feet, try not to leave them cold or stagnant, I dare you to do the ‘I-must-do-my-ex-er-cize-es’ finger game or wiggle your toes right now :p ) The oven/grill we’ve had for the last couple of years is useless for anything other than low-medium heat plus the compactness of the kitchenette (still better than the one we had for 9 years where only person could go in at a time lol) meant that we had to give that up (you can make flatbreads on the hob!) Sometimes you just want a loaf of bread but it’s almost impossible to find vegan friendly risen bread in shops (you should be able to find gluten free versions in supermarkets though), they commonly have tartaric acid and non-source specified vitamin D for example. We also personally try to avoid refined salt and sugar. We found one that’s organic, slow cooked, vegan friendly and of course since it’s healthier it’s wholemeal (I don’t dispute that if it were gluten free it’d be totally healthy for the human body) but Mum’s never been a fan of wholemeal since it’s tougher (whereas I prefer to chew properly…) Anyway, this dinky kitchenette means I haven’t been able to chop fruit/veg efficiently like I used to, nowhere near the league of those awesome display chefs (who I really like because they tend to give me bigger portions) but decent enough to save time processing/cooking. I used to be able to use serrated kitchen knives smoothly without losing juice or making a mess but now my posture is all wrong. Mum however uses a knife like it’s a handsaw and I cringe because it’s like she’s sawing wood or something similar. Every time I try to tell her how to use less effort she continues to do the same thing out of habit. This loaf of bread was not only tougher but being bread its crumbly – do you know how much goes to waste in crumbs if you don’t collect them and put them in the food o_o just look at the mess at the bottom of your toaster (I’ve given up those infernal machines, hob all the way) – so for this loaf treat even she couldn’t watch herself make a mockery of slicing. I reminded her “why do some knives have removable handles?”

There are ranges of knives for those who love cooking so much that they keep the handles and blades separately.
a) When you have blades & handles stuck together, they get grotty; there’s buildup, the base of the blade rusts and the handle gets manky + weaker over time, especially when people constantly put them a dishwasher or leave wooden handles soaking, handles can crack that way. Not clever.
b) The breadth and balance of the blade is important, if you exert a bit of effort in the right places with proportionate grip for the task – the blade should do most of the work for you.
c) If you take care of your blades they should last, they shouldn’t be dull and should slice smoothly (most people don’t sharpen them anymore, neither do I but I still use them carefully.) If a blade breaks you most likely didn’t use it properly.
d) The handle changes the weight and hence distribution of the blade. The best knives have been made to take that into account. Adept chefs practise their use, even I consciously think about the way I’m cutting plants, about my wrist and grip – ‘just doing it’ leads to ripped stalks, leaves, losing seeds, mess. (The same goes for writing, if your hands/wrists get tired you’ve overdone it and could hurt yourself, often from too much pressure – the pen doesn’t need you to be in the same position + lots of pressure to get the ink on the paper. Just like those of you who still don’t need glasses (used to be pretty rare, now over half the UK population wear glasses and contact lenses) but still squint or stare too hard at computer screens when you don’t need to – loosen up and let some fluidity into the motions.)
e) I think there’s a lineage memory in there too. Many traditional weapons were born out of farming instruments. When slaves and farm workers had enough of being told what to do, having most of their crops taken even in poor harvests yet expected to keep on farming with no thought of their health (poor people are dispensable so you don’t have to treat them well since they’ll reproduce anyway – the idea of treating them ‘too well’ to ensure productivity is too bothersome and needn’t come into it) there were times they rose up. And they used what they had to hand. These were strong people but not trained and lacking ‘authority’ so such uprisings inevitably lead to mere regime changes rather than decreasing class warfare/gap between rich and poor and of course people are corruptible. Give someone a title or bit of payoff or the idea that they’re in on a ‘secret’/something exclusive (even if they don’t want said secret is) and they’ll easily turn on their prior peers. Just because people can fight together out of common necessity doesn’t mean they like each other. Rather than a common goal there’s usually a mix of personal goals masquerading as a common goal until individuals reach a state they’re content with enough to stop fighting and start blaming or looking down on those who continue.
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I’ve never seen the point of ceremonial tools/weapons. Ceremonial maces in particular tend to be very ugly imo (including the ones in parliament, along with their rituals and the House of Commons benches standing two sword lengths apart, it’s a very small room for what it is and probably stinks when even half full) and remind me of Nik Naks (corn snacks). Also weapons and body parts mounted on walls have never appealed to me. It’s one thing to preserve weapons for historical education, it’s another to preserve/laud them for their glory – when people say ‘it’s a thing of beauty’ I think of the functional tools that were also beautiful and elegant but I also think of the craftspeople/technicians who knew what they were working on, could see/imagine what they’d be used for and those who made them anyway for the highest bidder rather than their ideals of ‘justice’. Fighting isn’t pretty, glorious or nice, it can be necessary but don’t use euphemisms and pretend otherwise (or in some cases ‘gentlemanly’). It is what it is regardless of what side you’re on.
People have said ‘this is an artform, it teaches peace and inner strength’ I’ve replied ‘no, it’s a form of defense (supposed to be) – you can do other forms of contortion e.g. yoga, gymnastics, dance etc for wellness, calm, clarity of thought, specific and general health. Martial arts and systems of fighting are to fight, even if you try never to use them outside of the school/competition, you’ve learnt it so that you can if you have to.’

Tools and weapons are not toys, they’re not for looking cool and tough, you have to be mature and responsible. If you pick up a blade for the purpose/potential of combat then you had better be damned sure you’re prepared to use it to it’s fullest. You don’t know how a fight will turn out and if you survive you have to live with the consequences (and your conscience if you have one, although it might creep up on you later). Sparring if the best yet most dangerous form of training, but at least you know your opponents, those involved know the risks. Conversely if you pick up a weapon or anything that can be used as one you automatically become a target, just like strong people are seen as a threat.

I don’t mind weapons that are used for performances like dance/circus (no animals involved) (and remember that combat skills/martial arts have been disguised as dance to the point of people just thinking them customary dances now) but again look at how many traditional nomadic performers are viewed and how they view themselves. They travel because they have to but also if they stay in one place too long they can easily become a freak show and easiest to blame for crime. Being ‘different’ as a novelty is one thing, being ‘different’ and living in a community let alone a very strong person/people and you’re a potential problem. Circus/carnival people traditionally keep to themselves, their ‘own kind’ who understand each other, often born into it and look after their own. Whereas if you’re a trained killing machine (or perpetuator of aka support services) who fights on command of ‘authority’ without thinking then you’re a ‘hero’. Unless a warlord/government trains you, you’ve got to be self-deprecating and a bit of a joke. With the military though, whilst enough money can be created/saved to support them everything from food, shelter, clothing, gear, toys and nowadays education, career advancement and ‘benefits’ whilst you survive in service (it used to be the norm to focus recruitment from poor people, nowadays they’ve added college and graduate marketing) you’re not prepared for post-tour civilian life. Military can use you and dump you; injured, mentally ill, homeless, who cares, you served your purpose. Circus people take care of their elders, they’re not discarded.

Sidenote – People are people wherever you go, whatever they do, whatever they look like – I’m just saying traditional circus people, like other craftspeople, have more respect for their tools in general (and know how to be thrifty – show me a musician who destroys their instruments on stage and I’ll likely make them wish they’d given said instruments a name, specially designed habitat and kissed them goodnight) in comparison to security services where lives and money disappear in a sinkhole.

Look how elegant and graceful these women are, in full dress too, and how strong and coordinated:

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Interestingly enough many cultures around the world buried or burned their dead along with the dead person’s tools. This applied mostly to craftspeople whose tools were their livelihoods and as such an extension of their bodies, honed and individualized to the person over time – even thought to have a ‘feel’/aura of the person. Therefore it was considered repulsive to even use another’s persons most used tools (likely ok to use ones that weren’t their favourites, if they had more than one of each). However tools are costly, investments not to be taken lightly for the poor so personal dignity and pride had to give way so tools could be inherited for familial/professional pride instead.

Nowadays the public mainly think of warriors keeping their weapons in death. ‘Noble’ warriors maybe, ones who afford to eat, have fancy things, maybe status/rank. Peasant warriors just die and get robbed. You don’t find many rich skeletons from private family tombs and graves on display or in private collections or dug up at all. Digging up rich ancestors is not ‘proper’ regardless of the ‘in the name of science’ excuse everybody else gets. Unless of course you were an ancient Egyptian, then you can do the celebrity circuit and post-death gloat about your uber bling coffin and hope people don’t extract DNA for ‘posterity’ and who can just turn around and say ‘why did you go to all that trouble to be preserved then?’ 😐

Lol can you just imagine a race of ancient DNA clones who think they’re god’s representatives still controlling the world?