Monday, December 31, 2012

Death Of A Liar

Ring out the old, ring in the new. It's a phrase that will resonate with many tonight. It also has an extra resonance in the case of Irvine Patnick, whose death was announced yesterday ( ).
Patnick was, of course, the source for the Sun's infamous front page a few days after Hillsborough; he was the willing conduit for South Yorkshire Police's campaign of lies & smears. Patnick happily supplied Murdoch's rag with the allegations that, inter alia, the fans pickpocketed the bodies around them, that the fans drunkenly & aggressively stormed the gates to the Leppings Lane terrace (a myth repeated by Bernard Ingham in his "tanked-up mob" quote to the press less than 24 hours later), that the fans urinated on the bodies of their fellow supporters, & that first aid staff were attacked when they attempted to help.
This blog named Patnick almost exactly six years ago ( ). I continued to cite him periodically over the next few years, knowing that Patnick couldn't sue for libel because it was, to coin a phrase, The Truth. However, his passing, welcome though it is to many, now means, regrettably, that he won't appear in court on a charge of perverting the course of justice. 
That tiresome sentiment about not speaking ill of the dead was wheeled out by some on Twitter last night, notably Harry Cole ( ), contributing editor of the Spectator --a magazine which has always had such good things to say about Merseyside-- & Donal Blaney ( ), an occasional scribbler for the Daily Mail's curiously-titled Right Minds blog &, in the words of Iain Dale, "The closest thing we have in Britain to a Fox News commentator". Sometimes you really are damned by your own allies, aren't you?
If it really is indecent to criticise & castigate those no longer able to speak for themselves, it's a convention that Patnick himself patently ignored. Patnick was a liar & a coward of the first order. Let that be his epitaph.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Joe Talks The Talk, But Will He Walk The Walk?

Lenin isn't much quoted these days (well, it was a while back & his utterances pertained to a different country & century), but he did have what would now be viewed as a pithy soundbite for those who complain about poverty & deprivation, yet won't do anything to challenge the system that creates it: labour lieutenants of capital.
It's a phrase that came to mind when Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson wrote to David Cameron last week, complaining about the effect of the ConDem cuts on cities like Liverpool ( ):
"Mr Anderson said he feared the council would not be able to help vulnerable and desperate people in 'some of the most deprived communities, not just in Liverpool, but the country'.
"He wrote: 'I believe community cohesion is being seriously threatened by the lack of funding to our city and others.'
"Mr Anderson added: 'I believe that the so-called "summer of discontent" will happen again if we do not address this issue.' "
Strong stuff, eh? So what is Joe prepared to do about the cuts that, as he rightly says, will cause so much damage to the city? Well, he'll call a "cuts summit" ( ).
The LC article reports that Anderson & James Jones will invite the leaders of the councils representing Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle & Sheffield to to the meeting at the Arena & Convention Centre on January 18th, at which they'll "demand changes to what they say is the Government's unfair distribution of local authority funding."
Certainly, the need to highlight the issue is unarguable. Liverpool faces a 52% funding cut between now & 2017/18.
However, awareness of the situation is, or should be just the starting point. Anderson, unfortunately, seems not to realise this:
" 'We are demanding the Government listen and take notice of the dire situation faced by local authorities, and we will be highlighting how their policies are jeopardising the services we provide.' "
All very well, But what if Cameron & Co. take time out from their busy schedules, smile pityingly at this civic cri-de-coeur & continue apace with the cuts? What then?
Well, the answer is nothing. Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson, along with the rest of the current Labour Party would never countenance a strategy of disobedience or Militant illegality.
That unwillingness to go down the road of rebellion is the real issue here, not Anderson's doubtful claim that the civil disturbances of August 2011 will be repeated (apart from a handful of scally-orchestrated incidents, mainly around Smithdown Road, Liverpool didn't burn that summer; Toxteth '81 it wasn't).
So I'm afraid it will be a case of cometh the hour, cometh the cuts, administered by a whimpering Joe & Co.
Of course, it doesn't have to be that way, not when the disdain & hostility of the ConDem cutters is evident to all ( & when, moreover, the class warfare of the cuts is being explained to a US audience ( ).
The BBC report on Anderson's letter to Cameron was accompanied by a comment from the BBC's North West political editor Arif Ansari, who observed:
"David Cameron did want strong, outspoken city mayors. He has found one in Joe Anderson."
A "strong, outspoken" city mayor wouldn't complain about the cuts, yet meekly implement them. However, that is precisely what Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson will do.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Song For Justice

It probably won't have escaped your attention that a version of The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" has been recorded by the Justice Collective to raise funds for the families of the 96 in their campaign for justice. The single is officially released on December 17th, but ban be pre-ordered on iTunes ( ) & Amazon ( ).
Here's the video: .

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Green Property's Shabby Treatment Of A Building & Its Tenants

The cavalier disregard for one of Liverpool's most distinctive & elegant buildings, India Buildings by its owners Green Property group has sadly continued since I commented on the matter a few months ago ( ).
The owners stupidly (& illegally) removed six bronze plaques from the building's exterior last month ( ). According to the Post's report, the building's tenants were informed that "in the interim the public will soon be denied access from the Brunswick [Street] entrance."
Green Property's intention to deny access to the public in this way has become something of an embarrassing farce for them; contradiction has become the watch-word for their approach. You have to wonder about the expertise & judgment of their PR advisers Paver Smith ( ), an outfit which proudly declares "managing reputations" to be its forte on its home page. 
There is controversy concerning Green Property's wish to deny public access through the arcade. Its thoroughfare was built on what used to be Chorley Street & legal opinion seems to suggest that permission from Liverpool City Council would be sought for such a move.
Perhaps realising that their position is very much open to question, Green Property performed a volte-face on the plaques, restoring them to the building's exterior ( ). However, the damage caused by the plaques' removal in the first place was significant ( ).
Green Property are seemingly unconcerned about the fact that people's livelihoods are at stake on this issue. Instead, mixed messages have been issued from the owners, perhaps reflecting a level of pathetic incompetence or internal dissent within the group ( :
"Green Property manager Gill Thom wrote to shop tenants saying two retail experts reviewed the arcade and there was no positive feed back on the arcade's future.
"She wrote : 'We were advised the space would be better used as management offices to support the building as staff would be more accessible. We will contact tenants in due course.' 
"But Green Property director Mike Tapp said: 'There are no plans to close the Brunswick Street entrance or public access to the arcade.
" 'We are committed to spending capital money for modernisation and changes. It is a struggle to get retailers into Holt's Arcade because it is not a destination, so we want to put building management offices there as a stop-gap.' "
Judging by their hitherto lamentable actions, one has to take their claim that such a move is "stop-gap" with a pinch of salt. Additionally, it could be argued that the reduced footfall in the arcade is attributable to, among other factors, an unwillingness or inability of Green Property to properly project to a local audience the asset they own; Liverpool One's emphasis on tacky consumer culture is absurdly cited by some as a factor. It isn't. What the arcade has to offer is qualitatively superior to Grosvenorpool's tawdry fare ( ).
A sit-in by the building's tenants is planned at 1.30 tomorrow afternoon. If you're in the vicinity, showing your support for them would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 03, 2012

One City, Different Worlds

Recommended viewing while it's still available on the BBC iPlayer: a BBC 4 documentary which shows how "The American Dream" is little more than a mirage for those in areas like New York's Bronx district while a select coterie just a few miles south on Manhattan's Upper East Side entrench their privileged positions:  .