The Grenfell Inquiry is already fueling suspicions that the firefighters are being lined up as scapegoats. However, it wasn't the firefighters who closed the fire stations, decommissioned the fire engines, sacked the firefighters, underpaid those who remained, or failed to order ladders high enough to fight blazes in tall buildings. Neither was it the firefighters who fitted a building with cyanide cladding – the equivalent of covering it in firelighters. It was, however, the firefighters who plunged into Grenfell Tower without pausing to make these points... The state blamed the fans for the Hillsborough disaster, could they also put the blame on the Fire Brigade for the inferno at Grenfell Tower? We invited Lucy Masoud – treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union, who's just been at the inquiry – into the Sputnik studio to discuss the possibility.
London was burning around this this time last year, this year it is in the grip of an astounding crime wave – making the city one of the murder capitals of the world, surpassing even New York. There have been 81 murders in London so far this year, and terrifying numbers of shootings and stabbings, including a machine-gun attack just streets away from where children were playing. There is even an epidemic of acid attacks, carjackings, and moped gangs. There are daylight robberies of people's watches, jewelry, and handbags. Old ladies are being robbed and beaten in their beds... Of course, the direct victims of the gangs are not the only victims. Their own families, their own neighborhoods, their own communities are victims too. Lucy Martindale is one such victim, and she came into the studio to tell us about her first-hand experiences.