A 24-storey tower block, a fire, and 80 people feared dead is apparently not enough to take a long hard look at the social housing system currently operating in the UK. No one to blame, not even the free market or (god forbid) capitalism to pick up the slack this time. A country where The Great British Bake Off is a favorite past time is so blinded by their own welfare system that even they are unable to see when the cookie starts to crumble.
The accountability issue is one of the reasons why publicly owned properties, or companies for that matter, will never be as good as privately owned. Because there is no accountability, people can hide behind the council or the government. Whereas privately owned companies will always have someone to blame and it will shatter the company’s reputation, leading to less incompetent players in market, because they cannot survive without a good reputation. Councils and governments on the other hand will always be there no matter how much they screw up their responsibilities.
What also differentiates a public vs. private company is the aftermath of a catastrophe like this. If a private company screws up people on the left will blame the capitalism and the free market, but if a publicly owned company screws up, and I think we can argue it was a really bad screw-up in this case, no one criticizes the state and whether publicly owned companies or housing is a good idea. In fact, the first criticism to come out of peoples’ mouths were that the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower was put there after tenants in surrounding privately owned buildings didn’t like the look of it, arguing it devalued the area. However, this has later turned out to be false, as the cladding was put in place after a request from the tenants inside the tower block in question.
Moreover, Tories are blamed for cutting welfare budgets, but no one seems to see the real issue. Since public housing cannot make profit they will never be improved upon. Since public housing depends on the amount of tax the public pays it will never increase unless taxes increase. And at the moment, publicly funded housing subsidizes privately owned housing making it possible for private landlords to charge a lot more than they otherwise would.
I think there is a serious reconsideration needed in Britain, whether public funded housing is worth the catastrophes we have seen in recent weeks. Because if it continues this way, there is only a matter of time before the next publicly funded idea goes up in flames.