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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: Grenfell Tower consequences and unity of faiths,

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 July 2017

Grenfell Tower where at 79 people died. Picture: PA

Grenfell Tower where at 79 people died. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A lot of politicans fail to see the consequences of actions to solve one problem, with the result that the side effects often create bigger problems than the one being solved by the original policy decision, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

A typical example of this is the Climate Change Act 2008, introduced by Ed Miliband.

This act is having a number of serious side effects including pushing up the cost of energy by forcing companies to pursue renewable energy solutions even when international energy costs are falling.

This makes the companies unpopular and encourages politicans, who ought to know better, to try and introduce price controls, which will only make matters worse.

But the most serious consequence has been the encouragement of cladding and insulation of buildings to meet unrealistic CO2 targets without considering the fire risks involved – with the result that at least 79 people are dead.

There is an urgent need to review this act before any more harm is done.

As a Hackney Council resident I’m reassured that in recent years the council made some tenants bin “unsuitable”, possibly flammable, doormats, move questionably placed plant pots, then in my own home they fitted three new heat alarms, a new fire-door and some carbon monoxide detectors, writes Charles Webber, Haggerston, full address supplied.

They also just wrote to assure us individually of thorough investigations resulting from recent tragic events.

I can’t help but wonder about the newish boat-like school along the canal at Haggerston, however [The Bridge Academy – ed].

It is clad with a clear air gap in what now looks like matchwood and the new towers above Dalston Junction, similarly sheathed in wood, no doubt to present “green credentials” at the time. Who speaks for the private sector in this age of fire worry?

Cllr Ian Rathbone (convenor of the Hackney Borough Ecumenical Deans Group), writes:

I just wanted to note a positive development in the seeming chaos of frightening things happening around us.

Faith groups in Hackney are many and over the years, somehow, we have all managed to get along together, more by respect and common courtesy than any deliberate attempt to join together – although there have been some groups like the Council for Christians and Jews group. More recently, the faith forum has been forming.

In light of current developments, it’s important people of faith, and none, show solidarity together against extremism of whatever kind, to continue to build a tolerant society where people with differing views can live side by side.

Last week, people of faith, and none, stood on the town hall steps in a vigil of remembrance for those injured and killed in the Finsbury Park incident, and those who have been made victims in other attacks.

We then met in the council chamber where the mayor of Hackney said we are a community that cares for one another. Rabbi Abram Pinter said extremism from whichever religion must be challenged – but religious conservatism is something we should respect. John Page from Hope Not Hate said we need to drop our differences and people of no faith and faith need to get together.

Those who commit terrorism acts must not drive us apart as a community – we can defeat that by working closer together.

A speaker from the Muslim community said Hackney is a safe place but there is a feeling it is getting more difficult and they need more support.

The council has just appointed Cllr Sade Etti as the “No Place for Hate” champion, who will be involved with listening to residents on cohesion and hate crimes in the borough.

She is also working with Stop Hate UK and CATCH (Community Alliance To Combat Hate) to make sure advocacy and support is being delivered directly to hate crime victims. This is being copied across London.

We now have Lisa-Raine Hunt, in a newly-created role of community engagement co-ordinator.

We need to get young people talking and understanding about faith and why things have happened in the way they have. There is also a problem of identity for young people which needs to be addressed.

The more we get together, the more we begin to provide an identity as a coherent community of people committed to the same targets of peace, harmony and tolerance.

Some years ago, in order for us to qualify as a Fairtrade borough, I had to provide evidence of at least the three main faiths joining together and agreeing on the Fairtrade approach.

The common ground I finally found which resulted in Jew, Muslim and Christian signing was “an end to poverty in the world”. It is a common aspiration they share with Fairtrade.

And they share the view of supporting the struggle for justice for the world’s poor.

Finding common ground and firmly standing on it has to be our way forward. We can do this. And, as we have so often shown, if you can do it in Hackney, then the rest of the world can follow.

Let’s do it!


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