Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Lakanal Fire Public Meeting - Traumatic but important!

Last night I attended a packed meeting of Lakanal residents in the Sceaux Gardens Tenants Hall, organised by the local T&RA in response to the council's apparent refusal to hold one on the night!
The Meeting was packed and an overspill meeting was heard in the Town Hall with Council Officers apparently "surprised" at the numbers that turned up?
Harriet Harman MP and Val Shawcross AM attended, along with Labour Group Leader Peter John, Ian, Alison and Sandra Brunswick Ward Councillors and me as Community Safety Spokesperson (Ian also has Housing Brief in Labour Group).
I was disappointed not to see any Executive Members at the meeting but have since been informed that the Leader and Deputy Leader took advice from the tenants reps who were apparently keen for the meeting not to be politician focussed which I of course understand. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding as I think that it would have been good for them to have attended and observed as we did and show a degree of solidarity with the tenants but I cant criticise them for taking and following the reps advice! None of the politicians present made any comments on the night which was exactly the right thing to do but I think that our presence was appreciated!
A very interested observer was Sir Ken Knight, the Government's Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor who will be Chairing the Inquiry. The Chief Executive and other Officers, Government Officials along with Senior Fire and Police Officers made up the rest of the top table!
The people at the meeting were clearly very distressed and many of them seriously traumatised so it was never going to be an easy meeting to manage but over the three hours there were a lot of traumatic evidence given and many good questions asked which I am sure will greatly assist the Inquiry.
Whilst a number of detailed questions were asked of the Fire Brigade and Police response to the incident the overwhelming view was one of thanks for their efforts and for rescuing a significant number of people from the building who would have otherwise died!
Many questions were also raised over Council Policy of high rise blocks, their evacuation, the Decent Homes works carried out in recent years and previous plans to demolish the block.
In such early stages it would be wrong for me to express any views on any of these matters as it will take a lot more investigating before many of these questions can be satisfactorily answered!
I was concerned at some of the comments about the Council's response and am very keen to follow up issues over lack of money for food and clothing, no proper meals in Emergency Shelters, sending people to alternative homes with just an address and then some finding filthy unfurnished properties, lack of one to one advice and lack of counselling to name but a few of the apparent Emergency Response shortcomings and I think we need answers and the Council need to learn from the mistakes! We will be keeping a very close eye on this to monitor how the Lakanal residents are treated in the short and long term and to date the verdict is very mixed althought I think that there was overall agreement that the Council and the Emergency Services were committed to doing the right thing !!
The Labour Group will be putting down an Emergency Motion tomorrow evening at Council Assembly simply expressing our horror and grief at the tragic event and promising to do everything we can to find out what caused it and what we can learn from it and to ensure that it never happens again. Rumours are the Lib Dems are trying to stop us doing it and putting pressure on the Tories to vote it down!! Cant imagine what they are thinking about?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...
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John Jospeh Friary said...
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John Jospeh Friary said...
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John Jospeh Friary said...

A strange observation considering the discussion is about threatening me over using a freely available uncopyright protected or sourced image on my Blog!
I have deleted them as I am far more interested in supporting the residents of Lakanal cope with the the tragedy rather than a prolonged debate over the minutaie of Copyrght Law!
I will be more careful in future now I know the sort of people that are about and accept my naivity whuch has well and truly been knocked out of me!I hope you are all very proud!!
John

Anonymous said...

I must agree with the other photographers that have posted on this issue. As a legally elected official, elected to up-hold the law, you should in all things do your best to obey those laws. Whether the image had explicit identification or copyright notice attached or not it is protected material. If you didn't know that before you do now. The photographer was simply trying to protect his/her property, period. Regardless to whether your blog is a commercial interest or not, unauthorized use of other's property on the site is in violation of the owner's copyright. If you were to come to my house and take and use my lawn mower without permission, you could expect a notification from me for its return and compensation for its use. That is all the copyright owner here was doing. Setting up on your high horse proclaiming your lofty efforts in no way releases you from responsibility to the owner of property you took and used without permission. You should be ashamed!
Sincerely,
Mike

Anonymous said...

Wasting your breath Mike - all the comments that are genuine are being removed :-(

Democracy ?????

Anonymous said...

Comment deleted
Comment deleted
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Comment deleted.....................
Yes! you have been caught out being a bully and making threats to a member of the public when being confronted with a bill for the use of images you downloaded and re used without permission on your blog you are now trying to cover your back and stopping your voters and colleagues from seeing the bloggs left about your goings on! unfortunately for your email and all the blog comments I have been cut and pasted to a photography web site. This is not about the incident or the people in the flats. it is about the way you have conducted your self as a public servant towards member of the public.

Anonymous said...

Mr Friary,

A link to the Copyright Law was posted here earlier.

It's been deleted, but you obviously have not taken the time to read it - if you had - you would know that you have breached this Law in using the image(s) concerned.

An acknowledgement of this fact - and and apology as a minimum response - would be in order.

In view of your response to date I doubt anyone will hold their breath.

Dougie.

Anonymous said...

All cut & pasted onto the web site
Democracy :)
Thanks
Michael

Anonymous said...

Councillor John Friary was Director of the South London Gallery, he should know all about copyright law?
Doooo!

John Jospeh Friary said...

Mike,

I think that your last contribution was a sensible one and I cant argue with very much of what you say what you say!

I perhaps should have given it more thought but did not and was attempting to reflect community concerns over the incident.
I dont understand photographers who are concerned about copyright dont copyright protect pictures as it is apparently quite simple to do?
I do think that the level of anger generated is rather excessive and recognise that that is in part due to my initial angry response but I repeat that a letter pointing out the problem with a request for me to remove the image would have sufficed! I received an invoice for 100 pounds and a threat of legal action so you really cant be that surprised by an angry response can you?
Th image was immediately removed and I have apologised but apparently that it not enough for some!

Anonymous said...

I hope you can understand that freelance photography is hard work made harder with the recession. adding an image to your article is like putting alloy wheels on your car to enhance the way it looks. The images made your article more interesting to read and helps your profile in the public eye. This how freelance photographers make a living by supplying books, magazines, news media and the internet with images. I know if you pay was £100 short and you had done the work you would not be a happy chap.
Fortunately Paul Is a member of a group of 544 photographers from many diffrent backgrounds. we have a wealth of knowledge in the trade.
We are happy that you have now reached an agreement with Paul over this matter
Mike
Photographer

John Jospeh Friary said...

Mike

Thanks for this!

A night's sleep and contemplation has been good for me and I have the upmost respect for journalists and photographers and as I say know many local and regional people in the business.
I never meant any disrespect to the profession and have learned from this and the correspondance. I will pass those lessons on to colleagues so that they are fully aware of the rules.
I have never been called a bully before so have also reflected on the way I responded and will learned from that also!

Many thanks and good luck in your future work!

John

Anonymous said...

Sir,

Am I correct in assuming you are using this tragedy as an excuse for copyright theft? It is utterly disgraceful and your response is appalling - I suggest as a union representative that you contact John Toner at the NUJ to see what he has to say about it.

The law on copyright is the same as other laws relating to 'theft by finding' and I think unless you decide to issue an apology and pay the photographer involved you will quickly find your story going national.

Copyright breach is THEFT and you cannot use the cover of a tragedy to hide behind, which is utterly despicable - the kind of sneering Lord of the Manor / above the law approach that made John Prescott so popular.

Clearly, as a Labour councilor, you do not see any irony in stealing the bread from someone else's mouth while you hide behind your public persona and get your expenses covered by people like me... !

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