Grenfell Tower – a rough and ready optimism greeted tenants in the 1980s.I’ve described in previous post the informal social mobility scheme whereby unwanted furniture was redistributed via the lifts. There was a general satisfaction when an item went which translated into a genuine wish that your neighbours would do well. ‘How did you get on last night?’ was a proper enquiry whether about a job, romance, drug deal, gig……….or anything. I’ve never lived anywhere that had such generosity of spirit towards all your fellow tenants. This was based not on community spirit or community action. I never got an invite into anyone else’s flat all the time I lived there or attended a social do or meeting.it was more a jaunty feel that you were in a place where people were successful and you’d weave these stories of success into a feel good factor about the Tower and in pride about the others who there. ‘The singer from Aswad’ was thought to live above floor 16 somewhere. I was soon caught up in the ethos of Grenfell……….’yes bloke from Aswad lives here’ I’d nonchalantly drop into the conversation.
And our cockroaches ere bigger than anyone else’s. Grenfell pride.
ABERFAN AND THE FREE WALES ARMY
While at Wembley ALF RAMSEY was delivering gold for the Wilson government’s feel good factor and re-election chances a few months later ALF ROBENS was whacking in a quite stunning own goal. The Chairman of the National Coal Board refused to visit Aberfan for 2 days after the disaster because of a ‘prior speaking engagement in Guildford’.
Last night’s BBC programme on Aberfan was good but glaringly there was one omission – the role of the FREE WALES ARMY.
Was there ever so specific a threat as this:
Six year’s ago a dozen class warriors went to Eton for the day. Most had never seen the rich as a herd. As we walked over the bridge from Windsor it was like seeing the brontosauri in Jurassic Park. There were audible gasps and intakes of breath – one comrade had an asthma attack. All had seen individual rich people of course but in the herd it was different. It wasn’t the clothes, the uniform, the diction, the way they carried themselves – it was the faces.
‘what are those things?’ asked a young Eritrean woman with us. ‘They must be the same person going round and round like circus clowns in a carriage’ another…’there faces are all the same’.
Indeed it is widely rumoured that Alice Rothschild thought she had married Tristram Hunt!
Twenty years earlier the same reaction at the Henley regatta………..’there’s fucking hundreds of them’. We’re not used to seeing the rich in herds – most older people would know only of the ‘big house’ where they might get domestic work.
En masse they might rub shoulders in Frith’s Derby Day – always a risk – why do you think the daily mail sends photographers to catch proletarian women dancing knickerless and pissed at the Derby.
When we came back from Eton one said ‘it cant be like that everyday…can it’ well unless it was Brigadoon it can.
I am in a unique position as the son of a butler to have observed toffs closely since childhood. I have frolicked in a sandpit with Lady Beavrbrook and saluted the AA patrolman from the heated leather of an Amstrong Siddely. The class warriors at Eton were right.
It’s the faces. The high cheek bones, the lantern jaw. I’m speaking here only of the white Anglo-Saxon ruling class in the UK- be interested to hear what others have to say. Also I’m neither a geneticist or an anthropologist but have had a unique view of UK ‘s feudal society. There’s no longer any doubt.
THE RULING CLASS HAVE EVOLVED PHYSICALLY INTO A SEPARATE SPECIES FROM US