Recent events have exposed a crack in my feathered, filtering lens. Hours spent in the garden watching the interaction of my hens with the world around them, have helped me to view the wider world with a more rational perspective. Even the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, though horrifically tragic, do sort of fit into the randomness of nature. We can never prevent every delusional extremist from causing harm to others. Even if we scored a massive own goal and removed all the freedoms that they rail against, in a bid to attain absolute security, we would wind up enacting similar atrocities against ourselves. See any totalitarian state for evidence of this. Acts of terror perpetrated against the public, though planned by the madmen who commit them, are random in the victims they horrifically affect. We are still far more likely to die in a road traffic accident than a terrorist attack.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy in London is not random. The Grenfell Tower tragedy was wholly preventable. The Grenfell Tower tragedy was caused by the toxic soup of incompetence, austerity, and de-regulation of the building industry in the pursuit of profit in a free market economy.
Yes I’ve made jokes about my greedy hens, but their greed is based in hunger, in survival, as is all of nature. Dominance is pursued for the continuance of genes. Nature stops when it is satiated and its survival is assured. Only humans feel the need to continue amassing obscene wealth at the expense of others. What exactly is the purpose of the trillions of dollars held in offshore, tax-avoiding accounts?
The residents of Grenfell Tower suffered and died in the cruellest of all circumstances. Helplessly trapped and waiting to burn alive. Desperately throwing children out of windows. Following advice and waiting in their flats for the emergency services who, through no fault of their own, never arrived. None of it needed to happen. This tragedy happened because poor people do not have a voice. Because if you want to be heard in this country you have to have money. The property management company in this, the richest of all boroughs in the UK, did not listen to the concerns of their tenants. Their eyes were on spending the minimum amount possible. It makes me immeasurably sad and angry. There can be no rationalising of this disaster.
This is not to say that the great chicken therapy experiment has failed, far from it. Perhaps there is no crack in the feathered lens. Perhaps the lens is working perfectly. The crack is in the flawed, greedy nature of our current economic policy that drives such ignorant and careless treatment of real people, real families.
On the evening on that awful day I spent a couple of hours in my garden with the chickens. As I weeded down the hedge line they fussed and fluttered about me, weaving in out under my outstretched arms as I pulled at nettles and sticky goosegrass. I felt so incredibly lucky to be alive in this beautiful glen with my beautiful girls, knowing that all the people I love are somewhere safe.