Grenfell Britain

by Potent Whisper 


What happened at Grenfell , that was an act of war

The murder of innocent people who died because they’re poor

Hundreds of death and you can bet that there’ll be more

So if you think that you survived it, I wouldn’t be so sure


Maybe you thought you knew what redevelop-meant

But if you believe that we develop, please develop sense

If you live in social housing you’ll be redeveloped next

And then we’ll all be redeveloped ‘til we’re redeveloped dead


Cos what happened at Grenfell, that wasn’t just “tragic”

It was a deliberate attack, cos it was managed

The people want justice, and trust me they’ll have it

And part of that is asking how and why this happened


So, to start, the fire alarms weren’t active

No second staircase for fire exit access

No sprinklers fitted when the renovation happened

No access for fire trucks

But there was the cladding…


The cladding wasn’t safe, but they chose it cos it’s cheaper

(only by £2, for every square meter)

That cladding was the reason that the building burnt so quick

But they still chose it, cos people’s lives aren’t worth shit.


So now we’ve established some of how it happened

It’s time to examine who approved that use of cladding


The cladding, at the start, came from Omnis Exterior

Who, when they sold it, will have known it was inferior

Harley Facades bought it and installed it for Rydon,

the lead contractor in the process that supplied them

Rydon worked directly for KCTMO, the TMO managed the tower for the Council

The Council owned the building – well – as far as we all know…

So I’d say the Council is one of those accountable


They’re accountable, cos people gave them warnings

All formal avenues to change had been exhausted

There’s proof that Grenfell Action Group offered them a multitude of warnings they’d sent to them for fucking YEARS before this


This is war, and it’s time to take your gloves off

If you want revenge there’s many names to get your tongues on

Very many companies and many hands with blood on

But we won’t let any of them devils pass the buck on


Let’s focus our attention on those companies I mentioned

Sit them down, surround them, and ask them these questions:

1. Did any of them raise any concerns, and if so who did they raise the concerns to?

2. Did any of them receive concerns, and if so how did they act on what they knew?


These are key questions in the investigation

And suspects need to evidence their answers, to the nation

They need to be able to back up every single explanation

And if they’re found guilty in this investigation


I don’t wanna see resignation or fines

They need to go to jail for a very long time


But, right now, while the victims grieve

Those whose representatives left them on the street

We’ve seen a huge community meet their immediate needs

And now they need housing, with instant guarantees


There’s 1400 empty homes in Kensington

While homeless people beg for them – that’s negligence

The government should buy them all, make them into Council stock

Then they should supply them all and keep them all at Council costs


We need local, social housing for the victims

Not in hotels, real places they can live in

Long term homes that are safe for kids and women

And then we need a Needs Fund to cover basic living


For clothing

For school uniforms to be replaced

For every single funeral, respecting every faith

For new official documents, licenses and passports

For food, for travel, for anything they ask for


And everything they need, like foster parents for the orphans

All workers need their jobs and pensions protected

Undocumented people also need to be supported

And students with exams need their circumstance respected


At the same time, we need to look at your housing

If you’re living on a block, your block is one of four thousand

Are you at risk too? Is your family next?

Well May ordered tests, and the tests said YES.


If you’re at risk right now, organise a rent strike

Don’t pay a penny ‘til your landlord protects your life

I’ll say that again, you need to organise a rent strike

Don’t pay a penny… don’t pay a penny


And don’t let them try to demolish your estate

They’ll use this to justify it, saying you’re not safe

They’ve been doing it for years, they did it to my mates

And Estate Regeneration isn’t what it says


They’ll smash down your home

You’ll get dashed out and cashed in

You’ll be on the street in a click, it happens that quick

You won’t be on fire but your life will be in ashes

So tell them they should refurb and don’t let them chat shit


So we’ve established some of what to do next

We’ll need a lot of money to take the next few steps

I can hear the Tories ask where we’ll get the funds from

Well, thanks for asking, I’ll tell you where it comes from

Amazon, Apple, Google, E.on, Ebay

They pay less tax than even you and me pay

Annually they avoid a billion in tax

So I say we take every pound of that

And then we make them pay their tax forever, the murderers   


They’re one of the reasons that Grenfell happened

The government say there’s no money for our services

But there’s no money cos they never pay their taxes


It wasn’t just Grenfell that suffered mass victims

Every single day we’re seeing Grenfell killings

We suffer to corruption in a Grenfell system

This isn’t Great Britain, this is Grenfell Britain


The disabled are on fire

They’re burning the workers

The elderly are choking

Your teachers are in hearses

Students are on fire next to doctors and nurses

Your hospitals, even your fire station’s burning


You don’t need to be an expert to work out the remedy

Stop cutting funds and instead cut austerity

I’m definitely not an expert but it doesn’t seem hard

I can only speak for me, but I’d suggest these demands


All tower blocks need sprinklers fitted

With fire alarms, on integrated systems

Compulsory, yearly, fire risk assessments

(Cos at the moment, they only recommend them)

Inspections should be undertaken by the fire service

Not by the TMO, this is their downfall

All TMO’s should be instantly dissolved and accountability should return to the council


No more self certifying safety checks

(Anyone could do a week and take these tests)

There should be a second staircase, with instant application

And then we need to vote that homes be fit for habitation…


Then of course we need a change to housing regulations

Recommendations should be legal obligations

And the regs need to have retrospective application

Cos most social housing was built before them came in


Then reinstate legal aid, perhaps the worst injustice

They put a price on life, don’t let them put a price on justice

Their screams are burnt into our minds and their names into our hearts

The fire might be out, but a rage has been sparked

It’s a rage that will blaze on every street, with every march

There won’t be a day of peace until justice comes to pass


It wasn’t just Grenfell that suffered mass victims

Every single day we’re seeing Grenfell killings

We’re suffering corruption in a Grenfell system

This isn’t Great Britain, this is Grenfell Britain


Potent Whisper is a rapper, spoken word artist and community organiser. The Rhyming Guide to Grenfell Britain is available on Dog Section Press.

Photography: Tom Medwell. 

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