Today in Londres is a perfectly ordinary one, though the sky is slightly more blue than usual and the sun illuminates the buildings glimpsed through trees as I ride through the Rich People’s Park. In the better parts of Londres a tourist could easily view the city through a romantic haze, its billion moving parts dissolving into an abstract but beautiful City, like Paris, Rome, San Francisco.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people sit at desks gazing longingly out the window. Some of them wonder if their work is worthwhile. Others know in theory it is worthwhile, but struggle to face the tedium of getting it done. A few are genuinely enjoying themselves, many are miserable. The low-down staff send emails to higher-up staff, or remind them in meetings of things that need to be done. Politicians build their legacies, and focus on what will make a splash in the media.
It was on ordinary days like these that policies were made about standards for tower cladding, about fire safety in construction, it was on days like these that housing organisations were formed, or contracts put out to tender, or consultations ignored. It was an accumulation of days like these that led to a fire in a tower block in the west of Londres.
But it is not just about days like these. It is also about the pressures that weigh down on people on days like these, the resources lacking from organisations, the re-structuring for ‘efficiency’, the shaking off of knowledge among those who rule. The lines of responsibility become blurred as some mythical, magical market is presumed to take responsibility. It is decades like these that make days like these.
When the end of the world comes, it will be a surprise to many, just like the fire in the tower, or the man killed in Londres some days ago by a police beating. No one is responsible. These things happen. Only bad things can follow.