Investigative Journalism and Independent Analysis (Established 2009)


Grenfell United: Truth, Justice, and Change

“Truth, justice, and change for Grenfell.”

These are the three aims of Grenfell United, a group of survivors and bereaved from the wholly preventable Grenfell Tower fire of six years ago, writes Paul ColemanThe fire led to the deaths of 72 people, including 18 children; and devastated an ethnically diverse working-class west London community.

Eddie Daffarn, born and raised in west London and a resident of a thirteenth floor Grenfell flat, survived the fire that engulfed the 24-storey residential tower. (Daffarn, above photo, speaking to councillors shortly after the 2017 fire).

Much earlier, Daffarn, after a fire at a similar block in Shepherd’s Bush, wrote a blogpost on behalf of the Grenfell Action Group of residents, warning the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation (KCTMO) that managed Grenfell on behalf of the local housing authority, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The KCTMO had not responded to Grenfell residents’ concerns about fire safety defects.

In the GAG blogpost, Daffarn writes: ‘It is a truly terrifying thought, but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO…It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block…is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice!’



RBKC’s elected politicians and appointed TMO officials ignored Daffarn’s warnings, and some even slandered the Grenfell Action Group. Then, later, on that terrible night of 14 June 2017, Daffarn opened his flat entry door to a smoke-filled hallway. “I thought I was going to die.”

Daffarn escaped down the smoked-filled central staircase; the only way for residents to get out. He doesn’t remember that descent. “I ran for my life.”

Truth, justice and change though are a long-time coming for Grenfell’s survivors and bereaved, despite a forensic public inquiry opened by former judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick in May 2018, and a police investigation that has so far led to not a single arrest.

Few doubt Moore-Bick’s resolve to make sure his Inquiry gets to the truth. But Grenfell residents say cladding manufacturers and suppliers have turned Moore-Bick’s public inquiry into “a carousel of blame” a merry-go-round of corporate CEOs and directors trying to pin the blame on each other for turning a refurbished Grenfell Tower into a deadly fire trap; not least by installing cost-cutting flammable cladding all over the tower.

“No corporations have taken responsibility for their role, preferring to blame others,” says Daffarn.


Three Acts

Daffarn explains the need of the many survivors and bereaved for truth, justice and change stems directly from “the three Acts” of Grenfell. “Act One,” says Daffarn, was “before the fire”; how TMO officials and RBKC councillors and officers had treated Grenfell Tower residents with “repression and contempt”.

“Act Two; the fire itself, was an act of violence against our community.”

“Act Three; after the fire, was the abandonment of our community. We were left on the street in our hour of need in the fifth richest country in the world in the twenty-first century,” recalls Daffarn.

Will subsequent acts in this criminal tragedy bring about Truth? Daffarn says Phase I of the Inquiry concluded in October 2019 that the highly flammable cladding and insulation did not comply with building regulations. That conclusion opens the way for a Phase II final report to point clearly to who was responsible. “It will mean a lot to me to read in black and white what really happened,” says Daffarn.*



But Justice? Daffarn says there has not yet been “a single clink of handcuffs” on those who should ultimately be held accountable by the criminal justice system for the Grenfell Tower fire. “We want the criminal justice system to do its job.”

And Change? “As Grenfell United, we want to achieve a legacy for those who lost their lives,” says Daffarn. “We have been holding the government to account over its new Social Housing Bill. It is far from perfect, but we hope people living in social housing will benefit from the measure to increase the professionalism of social housing managers. We need a social housing regulator that will do its job properly.”

“Grenfell Tower was a great place to live,” says Daffarn but recalls the Council’s maintenance of it was woeful. The Council left Grenfell to decline through disinvestment. Councillors and officers wanted to demolish it and get rid of existing residents and regenerate the area with more private housing.

Daffarn said the Council, “a property developer masquerading as a Council”, eyed the potential to raise local property values, not just by Grenfell’s refurbishment but by the wider ‘regeneration’ of the rest of the Notting Barns ward.

 “The Council realised they were sitting on a goldmine; and they didn’t even have to dig for the gold.”



Eddie Daffarn spoke after a screening of Dictating to the Estate, a film of a documentary play based on the events that led to the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017. The play features five actors playing the roles of 55 key people involved in those events and is based on council minutes, emails, and blog posts.

It tells the story of the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower and of residents’ attempts to hold elected RBKC politicians and appointed officials to account – and places those attempts in the wider context of austerity, deregulation, estate regeneration, and social cleansing of the area’s ethnically diverse working-class population.

The screening was followed by a discussion with directors Lisa Goldman and Natasha Langridge, with Moyra Samuels and Ed Daffarn from Grenfell United, on Monday 23 March 2023 at Morley College London in North Kensington, west London.

The screening coincided with the launch of The Real Faces of the Royal Borough, a combination of portraits created by artist Nevada Lynn and research on gentrification and housing in Kensington by Dr Sharda Rozena.

* ‘Drafting of the final report is underway,’ stated the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in February 2023.



© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, March 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.