I had a call this morning from an old friend who sounded very annoyed. I can't identify him or where he works, but he rang to say that he was told by his manager that his presence along with everyone else's, was required in the canteen at midday, where a minutes silence would be observed in memory of those killed in the Grenfell Tower disaster, which occurred exactly one year ago today. He was also told that there would be time made available after that, for everyone to chat about it. My mate, who I know to be kind, decent and certainly empathetic, said that he didn't like the idea, because he didn't know anyone associated with the tragedy and that as he was snowed under anyway, he'd give it a miss.
Big mistake. He told me that his manager became passive aggressive and asked him was he the sort of person who couldn't find it within himself, to spend some time thinking of others. When he replied that he did indeed feel sorry for the victims and their families and repeated that he couldn't grieve with them as he doesn't know them, he was advised to be there and told that it might reflect badly on him if he didn't attend. He told me that he will remain at his desk and will not take part. Good for him.
What's going on? SKY News is reporting this morning that there are events taking place all across the country to mark the anniversary of the fire, events punctuated by a minutes silence. Why? Please explain it to me and while you're at it, is it now a given that if you don't join in this post Princess Diana national grieving fest, you are risking your social status and maybe your career? How has it come to pass that the UK is a nation of people who mourn on demand, whether it is for a tragedy like Grenfell or a terrorist attack like the one in Manchester last year? I personally find this profoundly disturbing, this national outpouring of grief for people we've never met. These people leave me feeling uneasy, not just because of their unquestioning herd mentality (don't want to call them sheep...yet), but also because of their intolerance for those who think like my friend and I.
You must emote publicly and social media is a great place for it. Virtue signal to the moon. Fill yer boots man. You must join in. You must be affected. To not be is to risk the scorn of your peers and in the case of my friend, risk career advancement. As usual, the media has descended on Grenfell with their television cameras, their mobile studios, their microphones and their bucket-loads of pathos. They love it. I've written and spoken extensively on the 24 hour a day serial drama that is cable/satellite news. I wonder how do they decide what qualifies for a national grieving marathon and what doesn't? A dozen people were killed on the M1 last year in a horrific crash, why no day of remembrance and mourning for them? A family including very young children were murdered in a house fire in Salford, why no minutes silence for the little ones? You see what I'm getting at? It's a media managed mind-control operation.
The family and friends of those who died in that tower last year deserve more than this stage managed, national grieving, TV sponsored soap opera. They deserve the truth. They deserve definitive answers as to how something like this could happen, despite all the warnings that it was inevitable. Instead, they get cliches like "they'll never be forgotten." Crap. They'll be forgotten after the inevitably whitewashed report finally publishes and the circus has moved on to the next tragedy, with the grieving cult following obediently behind.