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Sam Delaney: Where were the rich Notting Hill set in the wake of Grenfell?

Writer and broadcaster Sam Delaney broadcast live from Grenfell and observed an astonishing relief effort. But where were the wealthy people of W11?

I broadcast my talkRADIO show live from the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, setting up a makeshift studio in the corner of a local church-cum-emergency centre.

The way in which the local community set about the relief effort with such calm intensity was astonishing. Nobody was in charge. The rats, cowards and pigs of the local council were busy covering their arses on television news.

I spent most of my 20s and 30s living slap-bang in the part of Notting Hill where the disaster took place. It is a very diverse area. The extremely poor live cheek by jowl with the obscenely rich. For the most part it is harmonious. But in the days after the fire I saw the true nature of the so-called cultural melting pot the middle-class residents often boast about.

Yes, people of varying colours and religions all mucked in together to help survivors of the blaze. I spoke with Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and even Scientologists. I spoke to a white, working-class builder who had abandoned work for the day to graft in the volunteers’ centre. But the Love Actually crowd from up the road? I was on the ground for the first 48 hours and they were the one social grouping who didn’t seem to show up.

Harmonious multiculturalism is just a veneer to the poshest residents of London W11

The trendy whiteys who spend their days in the swishy boutiques and cafes of Notting Hill love the idea of living in a multicultural district. They enjoy walking up Portobello Road and seeing all the brown people and the poor people because it makes them feel left wing and a bit edgy. But do they engage with anyone from outside of their own close-knit demographic? Do they fuck.

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Harmonious multiculturalism is just a veneer to the poshest residents of London W11. It’s a lifestyle accoutrement to impress their friends with, just like an Aga or an Audi.

I mean, look, I’m no better than the next middle-class wanker. It wasn’t like I hung out with all the Muslim brothers from the estate or took tea with the Rastas on Portobello back when I lived round there. Mind you, I didn’t have that many mates at all, brown or otherwise. I spent most of my time hanging out with my wife who might be white but, in her defence, is at least half-Jewish.

Anyway, do you know who owns a gaff round the corner from Grenfell? David Cameron. I didn’t see him or Samantha there dishing out water or consoling the bereaved.

I wonder if he has offered up a spare room to any of the survivors? Someone should probably ask him.

Sam Delaney hosts Live at Drive 4pm-7pm, Monday to Thursday, on national DAB station, talkRADIO

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