© PA Press Association
Both the Times and the FT eventually reported specifically on the different situation in Scotland and the rest of the UK with regard to the fire safety regulations for tower blocks. The Times reported:
‘No residential buildings with flammable cladding have been identified in Scotland’
The FT were damning in their verdict:
‘How lax building rules contributed to Grenfell disaster Warnings on fire risk ignored as governments appeared to focus on cutting red tape.’
The FT went on to explain how the Scottish Government had clearly learned from a smaller though still tragic incident in 1999:
‘On June 11th 1999, a disabled man was killed as a fire tore quickly through eight floors of the Scottish tower block he was living in. Alexander Linton, 55, may not be widely remembered, but his death sparked a review of Scottish building regulations that may have saved lives. After exterior cladding on the council-owned tower block in Irvine was blamed for the rapid spread of the fire, Scottish rules were changed. Now the outside walls of buildings must be designed to “inhibit” the spread of fire, and these requirements are backed up by a tough inspection regime.’
No such lessons appeared to have been learned in England where governments were urged to tighten regulations but no action was taken. There is now a rush to remove flammable cladding from more than 500 blocks and resignations have begun.
I hope this does not seem insensitive. I sincerely hope a Corbyn-led government will turn the tide of tory/New Labour selfish individualism since 1979. I’m just trying to add to the many pieces of evidence that Scotland is different and that these differences, in values, in law and in institutions. justify the need for greater autonomy to maintain, to protect and to enhance them.