The Grenfell Tower protests have morphed into an anti-government hatefest

Jun 18, 2017 by

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald:

The demonstrators show every sign of being led by professional political agitators

The people directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire – those who lost loved ones, those who lost their homes and their property – need help at present, not commentary. The good news is that help is available. If you wish to donate, one way to do so is via the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster which will pass on donations to various Catholic charities helping those who are most affected.

While help flows in, commentary flows out. Thanks to the General Election result, which was certainly not what she was hoping for or expecting, Mrs May looks like a weakened Prime Minister, and her enemies are perhaps scenting blood and moving in for the kill. This is, it seems to me, unfair and unjust. The causes of the fire and the high loss of life are still to be determined. In these circumstances we are usually warned of “knee jerk” reactions. But this rush to blame the Prime Minister is exactly that.

In addition the Prime Minister is being castigated for not showing sympathy for the victims. While I am sure that she has felt sympathy for the victims – it would be strange person who did not – it may well be that she has not shown her sympathy in the public forum of television. In other words she has not delivered a speech analogous to Tony Blair’s “people’s princess” effusion after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, almost twenty years ago. Theresa May is now being castigated in the same way as the Queen was then; ironically, the Queen, in her visit to the victims, has come out of this well, perhaps having learned from the mistakes made after the death of Diana.

But is it really the role of the Prime Minister to channel public grief? She is the head of the government, and it is her job to do things like ensure there is an enquiry, which, as far as we can tell, is exactly what she is doing. The person who leads us in mourning is the head of state, the Queen, who has fulfilled her duty in that regard perfectly – as one would expect, as she has been bred to the job since her teens. Mrs May is perhaps rather shy and awkward: but I prefer her over Tony Blair and his cheap emotionalism any day. Let us all remember where Tony’s sense of mission led us.

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