“Dame Judith Hackitt proved yesterday that appointing ‘independent’ experts is no guarantee that difficult policy areas can be somehow magically be set free from politics. She started off badly yesterday and it was downhill all the way afterwards. On the Today programme she struggled to explain why her review had failed to recommend an outright ban on combustible cladding. That was followed by an almost comical U-turn, saying that perhaps she should have recommended a ban. Then Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced he would consult on a ban. It was not a coincidence that the panicked responses came after David Lammy, who has a moral authority ministers cannot ignore these days, declared the review a ‘whitewash’.
But things looked even worse later, when she told reporters “I am not an expert on Grenfell” and “has not looked into the details” of the fire that killed 71 people. With a Whitehallese worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby, she declared her review was instead “triggered by the discovery that there were many other buildings that were not safe”. That’s true, but to say also that “my review was not triggered by the tragedy at Grenfell” was just plain daft.
On Question Time last night housing minister Dominic Raab said: “I’m sorry it’s taken so long” [to respond to Grenfell]. Meanwhile, a new report says four million homes are needed to solve the UK’s ‘epic’ housing crisis. Brokenshire needs to get a handle on his new brief rather quickly.”
Source: Huffington Post