Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Politics at 5:33 pm on 13 September 2012
I hear former Cabinet Minister Jack Straw in response to yesterday’s report on the Hillsborough disaster has referred to the culture of impunity in the police under the Thatcher government, a culture encouraged as they wanted the police to be a partisan force. Norman Tebbit – that government’s “semi-house-trained polecat” (in Michael Foot‘s phrase) – has responded to Straw’s remarks by calling them very, very silly.
Straw seems to have touched a nerve there don’t you think? Tebbit’s is hardly a measured comment. It’s also a deliberate attempt to minimise the effect of Straw’s charge – which has a great deal of substance.
To anyone who, like me, lived in a mining area in the 1980s it was obvious that the police force was partisan. Not only did stories of police officers brandishing banknotes at striking miners through the windows of police vans abound, I was several times prevented from going about my lawful business by a policeman peremptorily directing me back the way I had come. And this was nowhere near an actual coal mine, merely on roads that coal carrying lorries might be intending to use.
It was equally obvious that the then government wanted the police on side. One of their first acts was to ensure that the police got a large pay rise (while the rest of the public services were to endure cuts or freezes.)
And Thatcher herself not only saw the miners as an enemy, she saw football supporters in that light too, or if not an enemy, certainly as undesirables.
Is it any wonder the Yorkshire Police thought that they could get away with distorting the truth of Hillsborough? Football fans, especially in England, more especially from Liverpool, were at the time treated with contempt.
Far from Straw’s remarks being very, very silly, it is Tebbit’s which deserve that label.
Posted in Architecture, Art Deco, BBC, Television at 3:40 pm on 5 September 2010
I was watching Country Tracks on BBC 1 this morning – well it was on and I was in the same room.
They were doing what might as well have been an episode of Coast; from Liverpool to Morecambe – with a diversion up the Manchester Ship Canal – taking in along the way Antony Gormley‘s statues on Crosby Beach, and Blackpool.
A lot of the programme consisted of clips shown on previous BBC shows. The introduction to Morecambe was an extract from a 2006 edition of Coast which I remember well as it alerted me to the refurbishment of the Midland Hotel which I looked at last year and Big Rab has photographed recently.
The show is on the BBC iPlayer. For how long I don’t know. (The content wasn’t working when I tried though. The relevant bit will be towards the end.) For a programme called Country Tracks it spent a lot of time in cities and towns this week.
The presenter got to stay the night in the hotel and we saw several shots of the inside and the Eric Gill artworks.
By a curious coincidence yesterday’s Guardian Review (I only get round to reading that bit on a Sunday) had an article about another English sea-side Art Deco extravagance, Marine Court, St Leonards, whose structure is modelled on the liner RMS Queen Mary. Marine Court opened just in time to be made a bit of a white elephant by the Second World War. It’s quite stunning.
Posted in Football at 10:46 pm on 22 April 2010
Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid. 22/4/10.
For my sins, I suffered this game on TV. It was like watching paint dry.
It did provide, though, the spectacle of Atletico’s Tomáš Ujfaluši being a much more attack minded player than he seemed to be with Fiorentina.
Somehow I managed to miss the comedy goal.
Strangely, it was only Atletico’s second win in thirteen European games. They got to the semi-final via three draws in their Champions League group; and after that mainly on away goals.
Liverpool were poor, so doubtless will win handsomely at home.