The matter of the famous missing CCTV tapes from Hillsborough has been rather skated over since the Independent Panel’s Report was published.

Hillsborough the Tragedy and the Lies.

It is fairly well known that two video cassette tapes with footage from the CCTV cameras at Hillsborough went missing from the stadium’s security control room, at some point on the evening of the 15th April or in the morning of Sunday the 16th

Details of this can be found on the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s website athttp://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/docs/SYP000160280001.pdf

These papers show that:

The tapes were in a locked cupboard.

The cupboard was in a room that was locked

The room was alarmed, and the alarm had been set

There was no sign of any forced entry to either the room or the cupboard

It has all the hallmarks of being an ‘inside job.’

Reading other documents disclosed to the Hillsborough Independent Panel relating to this, it seems likely that the specific tapes that were stolen may not have provided any significant additional evidence to what was obtained from other sources. …

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by Martin Odoni

Over the months since the release of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, on 12th September 2012, I have taken several of the enduring myths surrounding the Hillsborough Disaster, which I had previously listed and debunked in my old essay Hillsborough: The Myths (see https://thegreatcritique.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/hillsborough-the-myths/), and debunked them in more detail. My reason for doing so is that, even though the Report itself does a pretty thorough job of dismissing them in its own right, and even though the Report has had enormous media coverage, these myths are still being propagated by thousands of people, especially across the Internet. It is perfectly plain from reading what many of these myth-spreaders have to say that they have not even studied any real evidence connected with the Disaster, but wish to cling to their established views, either out of bigotry or sheer laziness. I for one have no wish to keep repeating myself when such people need correcting, so I have put these essays together so that I – and anybody else who feels so inclined – can link to them.

This is likely to be the last of the debunking essays that I do, and it addresses perhaps the most difficult myth to debunk of all, for the simple reason that it can in fact be sustained by selective analysis of the evidence, and through interpreting words in a specific way. But in so doing, those who use this interpretation to pin culpability onto the Liverpool supporters are effectively committing an equivocation fallacy.

The myth goes that the Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough must accept some measure of blame for the Disaster because the crush outside the stadium eventually drove the police to open an exit gate to relieve life-threatening pressure on the turnstiles, and that the crush outside the ground was made dangerous by large numbers of impatient supporters pushing and shoving to try and force their way in.

As I say, this myth differs from all the others in that it can be sustained depending on how you choose to look at the evidence. For one thing, there genuinely were isolated pockets of bad behaviour from Liverpool fans outside the ground (but nothing unusual for any English football fixture at the time, nor anything that affected the course of events on the day), including occasional moments of understandable, very slight violence as the crowd pressure built up. The worst of these was a shameful moment of deep cruelty, when one supporter, whose identity we will doubtless never know, apparently stubbed out a lit cigarette into the rump of a police horse. (See paragraph 197 of the Taylor Interim Report for details.*) The atmosphere outside the stadium, which had been so jovial and celebratory for most of the afternoon, had undoubtedly turned sour and distressed for a spell of over fifteen minutes, starting around 2:35pm. In the growing mass of people, there was inevitably an awful lot of chaotic movement, and that movement, the occasional sways of the crowd, and columns of people moving in a line through sudden channels of open space, can give the impression of pushing.

In reality, a lot of the ‘pushing’ was reflexive. People often had to wade through the crowd, for reasons explained below, and the movements of others as they got out of the way could give the impression of pushing, and indeed the crowd would involuntarily spring back to close the gap afterwards, which could again give a similar impression. This was pushing in a manner of speaking, but not deliberately so. It was unavoidable, like air shifting to fill a vacuum, and more critically, it did not create the pressure of the crowd. It was instead a result of it, and therefore was not the reason the police eventually opened the exit gate.

Footage from the club’s CCTV system, and from the BBC television cameras, give ample coverage of events outside the stadium. One particular moment has been given completely disproportionate airtime over the years – the image of a mounted policeman from the South Yorkshire constabulary taking a swipe at a couple of supporters, who respond by pointing warning fingers at him to back off. The overuse of this image has perhaps helped to emphasise the false narrative of angry tension and fan misbehaviour, although it is perhaps a little strange that it has encouraged that impression; the only violent gesture in the clip is actually made by the police officer, not by the fans.

A policeman takes a swing at a couple of fans.

A mounted police officer takes a swing at a couple of supporters waiting to get to the turnstiles. A video clip of this moment was used a great deal on TV in the weeks after the Disaster; perversely, this was viewed by many as evidence of *fans* misbehaving, even though the policeman was the one being violent.

But more important by far, this clip is in fact just about the only clear example there is of truly aggressive behaviour outside the stadium that can be seen in the lengthy footage available. On closer inspection, almost every other pattern in the crowd outside can be more convincingly explained as just the ordinary movements caused by large numbers in a confined area. The confined area is cardinal to understanding what was happening.

What is not often recognised is that the entry concourse outside the turnstiles was not on the road itself. It was a walled, gated recess about thirty metres across. It was also shaped a little like an inverted ‘funnel’, so the further you were from the turnstiles, the closer together the side-walls around you became. It was therefore not terribly difficult for anyone to shuffle their way into the concourse, but once inside it, with more people arriving behind them, it was awfully difficult to get back out again. Furthermore, at the back of the concourse, it was impossible to see through the mass of people what was happening up ahead. Blinded to the chaos that was developing by the turnstiles, people at the back shuffled into the concourse, searching for the right entrance to head for, and steadily upping the pressure.

At the Semi-Final held at Hillsborough the previous year, the police had decided to set up filters further up Leppings Lane in both directions. This allowed them to manage fans as they approached the stadium. Any fan who did not have a ticket could be turned away, but more importantly by far, by this method fans who did have tickets could be organised into queues, and sent to the correct turnstiles. That way the crowd outside the West Stand was able to be kept in good, efficient order, and ‘processed’ through the turnstiles safely and as quickly as possible. This was doubly important, for the Leppings Lane end only had twenty-three turnstiles, through which it had to absorb twenty-four thousand two hundred and fifty-six supporters. (Nottingham Forest fans had been allocated all the turnstiles in the East and South Stands. There were twenty-nine thousand eight hundred Forest fans, which is a good deal more, but they had sixty turnstiles through which to enter. Sixty turnstiles versus twenty-three is a ridiculous imbalance. The turnstiles for the Forest fans were also dotted across a much, much wider area all across the length of the East and South Stands, meaning there was no thirty-metre ‘bottleneck’ for nearly thirty thousand people to have to pass through.) Worse, only seven of the Leppings Lane turnstiles gave access to the terrace below the West Stand, which was allocated ten thousand one hundred of the Liverpool supporters.

A map of Hillsborough, with annotations about crowd distribution.

A map of Hillsborough, annotated with details about crowd distribution. These explain the REAL reason why Liverpool supporters took far longer to get into the stadium than the Nottingham Forest fans.

All of this meant that the Leppings Lane turnstiles for the terrace had to operate at roughly three times the capacity of some of the other turnstiles around the stadium.

The ‘through-put’ capacity of the Leppings Lane end was, in short, all wrong, as had been witnessed before the 1987 Semi-Final. On that occasion, with no police filtering in operation, Leeds United fans had experienced pure chaos when arriving at that end of the stadium, to such a worrisome extent that the kick-off of their match against Coventry City had to be delayed by fifteen minutes to give them time to get in. The filtering introduced by Chief Superintendent Brian Mole in 1988 had alleviated this problem somewhat, although without entirely clearing it up, but in 1989 the filtering was not employed. This was mainly because there was a new Match Commander – Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield – who was very inexperienced at policing football matches, and completely unaware of the technique. Filtering was never even mentioned in the South Yorkshire Police’s formal Operational Procedure.

So, at the 1989 Semi-Final, as large numbers of fans began to descend on the outer concourse of Hillsborough between 2:35pm and 2:45pm, no one was organising them or telling them which banks of turnstiles to head for. And so instead of having neat queues keeping the turnstiles ticking over nicely, a large, unco-ordinated mass of individuals developed instead, with admission through the turnstiles happening many scales more slowly than admissions to the outer concourse. So the crowd quickly grew. And grew.

Two minutes after Gate C is opened.

A little under two minutes after Gate C is opened.

It certainly didn’t help that the turnstiles had been organised quite illogically by Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. The three main banks of turnstiles at this end were called Banks A, B, and C. That sounds simple enough, right? Well yes, it would be, except that the people who named them do not appear to have learned how the alphabet works very well. You would expect Banks A and C to be the two outside banks of turnstiles, and Bank B to be the middle one. Instead, Bank C was to be found between Banks A and B, which caused extra confusion for fans who were supposed to enter through B or C. Following the logic of seeing where Bank A was, they soon found they were heading for the wrong turnstiles, because the correct ones were not where they had expected them to be. So they then had to try and plough through a growing, confused, and increasingly tightly-packed mass of people to get to the queues (well, what passed for queues) for the correct turnstiles.

This caused a lot of extra movement and swaying inside the crowd, including many people bumping into each other, or having to ‘plough’ quite hard to wade their way through, and emphasised the impression of pushing and shoving.

Some mounted police officers complained that fans ‘dived under’ their horses in the fervent rush to get into the stadium. The incidents where this appeared to happen may be genuine, but it is far likelier that fans dived under the horses in panic because they were afraid of getting trampled under-hoof in the press of people around them.

Before anybody tries to imply that I have a rationalisation for everything, I need to reverse the accusation somewhat, by pointing out that, as is so often the case with the Hillsborough myths, the notion of pushing-and-shoving has a real plausibility-gap. The old mantra always reads, “The fans were pushing and shoving to fight their way in, and when they got in they stampeded onto the terrace and pushed people at the front into the fences.” However, should you think about it, this is a highly perplexing idea. Because what I notice when watching video footage of the swaying and movements in the crowd, both outside the ground and on the terraces, is that the response of those being ‘pushed’ always appears to be remarkably meek and tame. The question this accusation demands is surely this; –

Why does nobody ever seem to push back?

Surely even the most unaggressive human being who is being repeatedly pushed from behind will eventually turn around and dish some of it straight back? But it never happens at any time in any of the video footage of the crowd on Leppings Lane. Not on the terrace, nor outside the ground. When you consider that, it makes the pushing-and-shoving interpretation look, not just harsh, but utterly bizarre.

In truth, if you compare the pictures at Hillsborough to the pictures of crowd movements at literally thousands of other football fixtures dating back decades, especially in the pre-Taylor-Report era, what you see proves to be entirely commonplace. It is very hard to distinguish the fan-behaviour at Hillsborough from what it was like anywhere else. In fact, the ‘stampede’ idea mentioned above is particularly nonsensical. The video footage of the fans as they enter through Gate C shows very, very clearly that they were moving at a walking pace. I am often almost stunned, indeed, at how orderly the general behaviour is as they enter; remarkable enough for a 1980’s football crowd, but doubly impressive given the stress many of them had been through over the previous fifteen minutes or so. (See this footage published by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, with commentary by Peter Sissons at http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/media/VID0002.html.) So insofar as the behaviour can be distinguished from that of other football crowds at all, this was, as a whole, an exceptionally well-behaved crowd, at least by the standards of the era.

(Also, on the issue of the supposed ‘stampede’, I have made the point before that the crush didn’t spill over into Disaster until about kick-off time, and yet Gate C was opened at 2:52pm. Given that the distance from Gate C to the terrace was about eighty feet or so, the eight minutes taken to cover it seem to make it an astonishingly long, slow and cautious ‘stampede’.)

As for the later arrivals ‘pushing’ the fans at the front into the fences, you don’t need such actions for that effect. Just the excess numbers being shepherded into a space suited to only about half as many people is all that is required to press the people at the front against the fences. It also needs to be recognised that it wasn’t only the people at the front who were crushed, and anecdotes from survivors of the central pens invariably speak, not of being pushed from behind in particular, but of a slow, insidious build-up of pressure all around them.**

So no, while the notion of shoving has more legs to it than most of the other myths, is somewhat more credible, and can even be based on some evidence for once, in the end it still falls short as a result of closer analysis. Clinging to it really depends on a lack of understanding of the laws of physics, and of how crowd-movements work.

_____________

* This incident with the horse and the cigarette burns is in dispute. A Freedom Of Information request has been submitted in the last few days to the South Yorkshire Police – see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/hillsborough_disaster_cigarette – requesting evidence for cross-analysis, to verify whether it really happened, and whether it was genuinely a Liverpool supporter who did it.***

EDIT 11/12/2016.

The doubts about the accusation have been amplified, as will be highlighted in a new documentary about the Disaster to be broadcast on Monday 12th December 2016. The claim was made originally by Constable David Scott to explain the above-pictured notorious moment caught on video of him taking a swing at several supporters from horseback. It now emerges that Scott’s senior officer, Inspector Paul Hand-Davies, explicitly denied that a horse had suffered burn injuries at all. (Hillsborough: Smears, Survivors and the Search for the Truth looks set to be a kind of ‘update’ on how cross-examination of the evidence published by the Hillsborough Independent Panel is progressing. Strangely, the HIP Report can almost be seen as out-of-date, as private investigations by members of the public in the four years since have uncovered more wide examples of police, shall we say, ‘irregularities’.)

** There is an often-cited point about some fans in the tunnel stating that they were ‘hit from behind by a wave of force’ that ‘carried’ them onto the terrace, but even that isn’t about pushing and shoving in reality; it is far more about large numbers of people who were in an open space outside the tunnel suddenly channelling into a much, much narrower, more confined space inside the tunnel. Pressure is always increased by energy or movement in a tightly-contained space, and with nowhere for that energy to go but forward, anyone caught in the mass of people was bound to get swept forward, whether they wanted to or not.

*** EDIT: 19th June 2013.

The aforementioned Freedom Of Information request has been declined on the grounds that it would take longer than eighteen hours to find the correct details. I find this claim to be doubtful at best, and it highlights the failings in current FOI regulations. The eighteen-hour limit is a free gift to any official wanting to cop out of seeking the appropriate information for any request they receive.

_____________

Other articles about Hillsborough; –

Ticketlessness Was Not A Factor, And This Is How We Know

The Toppling Gate

Is Thatcher Guilty? If So, What Of?

More On Thatcher – That Quote That Never Goes Away

The Air Of Shock Should Itself Be Shocking

Digging The Dirt

Changing Statements

What Exactly Is Sir Norman Bettison In Trouble For?

Meet A Silly Old Dear

More On That Panorama Documentary

In Its Correct Historical Context

After A Year The Sun’s Apology Is Still Not Accepted – And Nor Should It Be

The Institutional Guilt Lies Not Only With The Police

Where Was I?

Save

by Martin Odoni

I have come to realise that, the other day, when I wrote that Monday’s Panorama documentary about the Hillsborough Disaster – Hillsborough: How They Buried The Truth – all seemed a bit of a generic re-tread of old ground (see https://thegreatcritique.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/hillsborough-meet-a-silly-old-dear/), I’d managed to miss something quite substantial in the newly-released footage from the BBC archives. The main reason for missing it is that the BBC didn’t really do anything to draw attention to it, but having studied one particular clip, and checked it against official records, I have noticed there may be a very serious issue that the documentary quietly raised.

You can watch the documentary at this URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2L_8sj6Wyc

Now, at roughly twelve minutes and thirty seconds into the programme, the following monologue from the Match Of The Day commentary track on the day of the Disaster is played; –

JOHN MOTSON: “Yeah, I’ve got an explanation for what’s happened here, Peter. I’m going to give you a line… … … And the story emerges that one of the outside gates leading into that terrace was broken. People without tickets got in… were therefore overcrowding the people with tickets, and that’s why the crush occurred.”

This snippet of commentary is a very familiar explanation, discredited within hours, for what caused the crush in the central pens. But the interesting thing about it is that, according to the graphic that appears on the screen, the time that Motson said it was 3:13pm.

The notorious established story has it that the lie about a broken gate began when it was spun by Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield of the South Yorkshire Police to Graham Kelly and Glen Kirton of the Football Association. This was supposed to have happened when they confronted him in the Police control box, even as the tragedy was playing itself out on the terraces below. This is even iterated in very damning terms in the Taylor Interim Report.

The problem is that all sources detailing that confrontation between Duckenfield and the FA officials, including the FA officials themselves, agree that he told them the lie at 3:15pm. Therefore, Motson’s commentary, unwittingly propagating the myth of ticketless fans taking advantage of a broken exit gate, was given voice some two minutes before Duckenfield so infamously peddled the same lie.

Now this would in no way at all exonerate Duckenfield, who was still knowingly spreading lies to shift blame for his mishandling of the crowd onto the victims, but it does raise a rather chilling question as to whether or not he really was the one who invented the ‘Broken-exit-gate’ red herring after all. It is now possible that somebody else invented the idea, and that he just went along with it.

Therefore, we now need to know who exactly passed this false information to Motson at such an early stage. Did somebody in the South Yorkshire Police other than Duckenfield spin this lie? If so, who was it? The Independent Police Complaints Commission needs to investigate and find out. It would constitute evidence that the blame-shifting was not just being improvised by an individual officer in a moment of panic, but was becoming actually orchestrated, even conspiratorial, at an even earlier stage than was previously demonstrated by the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

And above all, whoever did it needs to answer for it.

EDIT 26-5-2013: According to the Taylor Interim Report, Assistant Chief Constable Walter Jackson entered the control box to find out what was going on, around the time the players were taken off the field. He might have known something about this, and was high enough in authority to orchestrate a blame-shift story in a moment of panic.

The tale in the following link, although not directly relevant to this, does give suggestion that his behaviour on the day of the Hillsborough Disaster was erratic at best; –

http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2011/10/487332.html

I must stress that we have no way of verifying whether the anecdote is true. Interestingly, it has loud echoes of a frequently-told apocryphal story about Duckenfield himself supposedly hiding under a table as the Disaster unfolded, a story that is clearly untrue.

________

Other essays about the Hillsborough Disaster; –

Ticketlessness Was Not A Factor, And This Is How We Know

Discursive Types

In Its Correct Historical Context

Is Thatcher Guilty? And If So, What Of?

Digging The Dirt

Anne Williams – A Real World Heroine

The Toppling Gate

The Crush Barrier – A Smoking Gun?

The Name That Became A Moment

Oh, It’s The Drunken Fans Chestnut Again, Is It? Don’t Even Go There

Forged Tickets? Only If You Think Star Wars Is A Documentary

by Martin Odoni

In the end, the latest edition of the BBC’s top investigative journalism programme, Panorama, did prove to be somewhat interesting on Monday night. Now Hillsborough – How They Buried The Truth was not exactly illuminating, as there was very little information to take from it that could not be had from a dozen other sources, most of them probably over ten years older. Indeed that makes the programme all-the-more unimpressive, as much of its information has been easily accessible for so long, and yet it took until eight months after the release of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel for the documentary to be made. Call me smug if you like, but my overall reaction was, I could have told you all this, BBC, and I wasn’t even there! Where have you been for the last twenty-four years? Yes, there was some new video footage from the day of the Hillsborough Disaster that had previously been long-buried, which was useful, but otherwise it was largely quite a generic re-tread of familiar details.

This is not to say that it was not harrowing or angering to revisit the horrors of April 1989 once more, merely that it felt more like the trauma was being renewed again to little positive advantage.

One aspect of the programme was very memorable though, for all the wrong reasons, and that was an interview with Lord Geoffrey Dear. For those not familiar with the long-term aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster, ‘Baron Dear of Willersey’ was, from 1985 to 1990, not yet a peer but the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police force. In 1989, his force was appointed to run an investigation into the role of the South Yorkshire Police in the Disaster, in support of the Inquiry led by Lord Justice Peter Taylor.

As Dear talked to the BBC’s Peter Marshall, he discussed the bizarre decision to allow the South Yorkshire Police, the force in charge of security at Hillsborough on the day of the Disaster, in effect to gather all Police evidence that would be presented for Taylor’s perusal, instead of the West Midlands Police gathering it for them. This decision paved the way for the South Yorkshire force to take witness statements from their own officers, and to vet and edit them at their own discretion before they were submitted to the Taylor Inquiry. The West Midlands Police had therefore, in effect, decided to allow the South Yorkshire Police to investigate itself.

When Marshall asked whether the right approach for an investigating force to take would have been to handle such an important process directly, Dear’s response was to imply that it was an easy thing to say with “the wisdom of twenty-twenty hindsight.” He also stated that one has to trust a Police force to tell the truth of what had happened, even when that truth might be detrimental to it.

It is no overstatement to suggest that, when I heard him say all this, I was absolutely gob-smacked. And that is quite an unwelcome sensation on this subject. I had thought after the release of the Independent Panel’s Report last Autumn, and the stunning news that forty-one (perhaps even fifty-eight) of the victims still had the potential to survive past the ‘cut-off time’ imposed by the Coroner’s Inquest, that there could be nothing left hidden in the history of the Hillsborough Disaster that could shock me anymore. But it seems I was still wrong. We can see from Dear’s incredibly blasé remarks that, if the Disaster itself was in large part a result of establishment complacency, the cover-up that followed was no less. And complacency of a type you would not see anywhere else, not even from a teacher trying to discipline a pupil simply for not doing his homework.

Listening to Dear, it sounds like it never crossed his mind that an investigation should not be carried out by the force that is under investigation. For him to call the suggestion a product of “Twenty-twenty hindsight” makes him sound like he’s either bone-idle or a complete idiot. Or both. The classic combination of the stuffed-shirt, in fact.

Now, the notion that self-investigation by the accused is a bad idea is not some new-fangled, modernist attitude that was only invented some time after Dear retired in the early-1990’s. The whole reason why we have had things like law courts for so many centuries is precisely because we’ve known for all that time that self-investigation is a bad idea. Indeed, it is one of the reasons why we have the Police at all – because we know that as a rule, when someone might have broken the law, we cannot rely on him or her just to own up and try to make amends.

It should have been obvious to Dear and his associates from the moment they read the preliminary summaries of the Disaster that they would have to take a rigorous, hands-on approach. These summaries would have included the critical information that the match commander, who committed the key mistake of not closing access to enclosures when they were full, had had no experience of policing a football game since the late-1970’s.

Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield’s appointment to the role by the senior officers in South Yorkshire was therefore one of the most bewildering acts of unthinking stupidity in the history of the British Police. So naturally it would not have been a matter that those same senior officers would have wanted investigations to look at too closely. Therefore, the last thing you would want to do is to let the South Yorkshire Police control the investigations themselves.

So of course, the West Midlands Police let them do precisely that. Which in turn must go down as one of the other most astonishing acts of unthinking stupidity in the history of the British Police. Incredibly, it seems that, during the Taylor Inquiry, Dear never became suspicious of the statement-vetting process, even after he had stumbled onto the reality that statements had been altered. He never asked, not once, to check any of the statements in their original forms to make sure that no important information was being cut from them. (Which of course it was. See https://thegreatcritique.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/hillsborough-changing-statements/ for more on this subject.)

On Panorama, Geoffrey Dear came across as one of the worst modern British stereotypes – the complacent, ineffectual public servant. A procedurally-literate man in a suit, with a job-for-life, and a disinclination to look too closely at anything untoward on the Establishment side, for fear that exposing one scandal might expose dozens of others. Think of all the difficult work that could lead to! With his unskeptical attitude of, “We must take our chaps’ word for it, dontcha know?”, I would class him as the living embodiment of a character called Sir Desmond Glazebrook, from Yes, Prime Minister. (Use Google if you are unaware of him.) Accepting the idea of the South Yorkshire Police investigating themselves was akin to asking Nick Leeson to investigate corruption at Barings Bank. Come to that, Dr. Crippin or Harold Shipman would have loved to have practised their ‘unique’ brands of medicine under this fool’s jurisdiction; –

I say, Harold, we’ve noticed rather a lot of your patients keep… well, how can I put this? They keep… you know… dying, wot?”

“Do they? Well, don’t let it worry you, Geoff, I’ll look into it for you.” 

“Oh, good sport! In your own time though, Harold, no rush.”

Is it any wonder that the West Midlands Police force was so mired in corruption between the 70’s and the 90’s, with casual buffoons like Geoffrey Dear overseeing them?

____________________

You can see the Panorama documentary at www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2L_8sj6Wyc

____________________

Other essays about the Hillsborough Disaster; –

The Myths

Ticketlessness Was Not A Factor, And This Is How We Know

Discursive Types

In Its Correct Historical Context

Did Gate C Even Matter?

The Toppling Gate

The Air Of Shock Should Itself Be Shocking

What Exactly Is Sir Norman Bettison In Trouble For?

Is Thatcher Guilty? And If So, What Of?

More On Thatcher – That Quote That Never Goes Away

Whittle’s Claim

Digging The Dirt

More On That Panorama Documentary

Lateness Caused The Disaster? Are You Serious? What Lateness There Was Saved Lives

Pleeeeeeease Stop Obsessing Over Norman Bleedin’ Bettison

After A Year The Sun’s Apology Is Still Not Accepted – And Nor Should It Be

The Institutional Guilt Lies Not Only With The Police

Where Was I?

PFI is the worst legacy of the John Major Government, and those particular farmyard avians are now coming home to roost.

Scriptonite Daily

PFImeme

There is a scandal unfolding quietly in this country which poses an existential threat to our most critical public services.  It is called the Private Finance Initiative.  Today, we look at the dangerous circle of self-interest which means our government is making the tax payer pay the bill for private service providers and banks to take over our schools, hospitals and other core public services.

What is PFI?

PFI stands for Private Finance Initiative.  The schemes were initially designed by Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1992 and were rapidly expanded under New Labour.  They are touted as a form of Public Private Partnership.  The government uses private finance, rather than borrowing in the usual way, to raise funds for projects.  Since 1992, our hospitals and schools have been built this way.  PFI loans are at least twice the rate of interest of ordinary government loans, and repaid over 25-30 years.

View original post 1,730 more words

Corporate theft, and blamed on the poor.

Scriptonite Daily

PS1

The private sector is evading its taxes, failing to pay workers a living wage, and becoming a burden on the tax payer for subsidies and bailouts.  At what point to we stop calling them wealth creators and start calling them parasites?

Bailouts

PS2

Neoliberal democracies around the globe have been using taxpayer money to underwrite and directly pay off phantom debts made by the banking sector.

According to the National Audit Office, The UK National Debt rose by £1.5trn as a result of the Bank Bailout. This is twice the nation’s total annual budget.  For this amount, the UK could have funded the health service (£106.7bn a year) for fourteen years , the entire education system for forty years(£42bn a year) or over three hundred years of Job Seekers Allowance (£4.9bn a year).

According to the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s (SIGTARP)…

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Another angry woman

Following Barbara Hewson’s vicious comments about rape and sexual abuse, a survivor got in touch with me asking me to put up this open letter that she wrote. She prefers to remain anonymous and I have posted it here. Content note: this piece discusses sexual abuse and the psychological impact of sexual abuse. 

Dear Barrister Barbara Hewson,

Today you have called for the age of sexual consent to be lowered to stop “the persecution of old men” and warning against “fetishising victimhood” in the light of the case of Stewart Hall.

Let me tell you, Ms Hewson, victimhood is not something to be fetished or enjoyed. As many have already said your remarks represent the fear that all victims have of being disbelieved and the accusations of being attention seeking liars who enjoy victimhood. Abuse is something that haunts and damages you for the rest of your life, effects all the decisions you make, the…

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