Cladding crisis: ‘A society where plays and TV take precedence over restitution needs reconsideration’


There is no doubt there should be a thorough and ongoing investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Justice must be served for the tragic deaths of 72 people, while we need someone to foot the bill for the ensuing cladding scandal, which has seen thousands of leaseholders stuck unsellable, potentially lethal homes.

There are legal routes to hold wrongdoers to account but politics plays a part, too, in extracting money as well as ensuring it could never happen again.

Campaigning and journalism help keep the disaster in the electorate’s consciousness.

But in the five months since the Grenfell Tower Inquiry hearings ended, we have also been hit with a glut of artwork about the harrowing events of June 14, 2017.

Now the BBC has commissioned a television drama about the Grenfell fire, prompting protests from “deeply offended” survivors and a petition with more than 58,000 signatures, saying their “tragedy isn’t entertainment”.

You can see their point. Less than six years on, with the public Inquiry not yet concluded and some affected families still waiting to be re-housed, I worry we’re in danger of turning a disaster into a spectacle to be consumed from the comfort of armchairs.

Art can herald change, and I’m sure director Peter Kosminsky hopes to provoke a response.

But a society in which plays, exhibitions and TV shows about a scandal proliferate while a community waits for restitution needs to reconsider its priorities.