Bonfires and Inanities


bonfiresThe whole concept of bonfires is a bit culturally loaded, I suppose. The word derives from ‘fire of bones’ ie the burning of bones (as opposed to a convenient way to get rid of fallen leaves or other garden waste) though for a long time the more commonly-accepted definition has been along the lines of ‘open air fire for public entertainment’. Whether your mind jumps to firework displays or the antics of various fascists and proto-fascists and plain old wingnuts probably depends on your age and life experiences and so on.

A bonfire currently in the news is the one filmed by Croydon bloke (sorry, my hometown)  Paul Bussetti, which featured a cardboard model of Grenfell Tower, and has just resulted in a criminal conviction for him.  This conviction is, frankly, alarming and distasteful, probably more alarming than Bussetti and his mates’ bonfire bash itself. When we are ruled by a government as corrupt, stupid, malevolent and dangerous as Fucko the Clown’s gang, it’s a really bad idea to support or approve any attempts by the authorities to find new ways to ensure someone is punished, somehow, on fairly dubious grounds. Any kind of New Laws and Rules, anywhere, which purport to keep us safer (from having our feelings hurt, or from being somehow contaminated by aliens) are invariably dangerous because they will invariably – and very rapidly – be used in ways that are not at all about the public good, just about reinforcing the idea that those with power get to choose what you can and cannot discuss, for whatever reason.

bonfiresGoing after Bussetti for a second time after he was  previously acquitted suggests there’s something other than concern for those bereaved or traumatized by the Grenfell fire: he’s a handy scapegoat for those whose real motivation is to set up frameworks for suppressing dissent and stopping the lower orders from criticising or mocking the ruling class. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that the idiots at that bonfire party planned to send the video footage to bereaved families, or use it to harass and intimidate others (as some people who stage bonfires of books or records seem to want to do). It’s a bit of a leap to charge him with ‘distributing’ the footage when he seems to have shared it only with people he knew via private message groups and it ‘went viral’ via someone else. Prosecuting him is as inane in itself as hurling the full force of the law at the similarly unlovely Markus Meechan was.

And, most importantly, as was pointed out on Twitter, so far the only person who has faced criminal charges over Grenfell is a childish, oafish man who made a video, months later and miles away in which no one was physically hurt… rather than those who cut corners on the building refurbishment, bought or sold dangerous cladding and/or refused to acknowledge the frequent warnings from residents that the tower was a firetrap.

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