Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hillsborough Families To Sue Liar

Guido Fawkes ( ) might have chosen a better time to declare that arch-liar Kelvin MacKenzie was his "ethics adviser" ( ). Fawkes, or Paul Staines, to give him his real name, was speaking just a few days before the Hillsborough families announced that they were going to sue MacKenzie for "malfeasance" ( ).
The reptile who was described by Trevor Hicks as "a low-life" offered crocodile tears when the Hillsborough Independent Report was released last year. MacKenzie's true venality is something the families have always known & highlighted: "Although MacKenzie offered 'profuse apologies' last September after the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel exposed the article's allegations as wholly unfounded, lawyers for the families also accuse him of adopting a different approach privately."
MacKenzie isn't the only one to finally face the reckoning. The families also indicated their intention to bring proceedings against South Yorkshire Police & Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
Proceedings against the South Yorkshire force are clearly necessary from a moral perspective. However, there is also a financial aspect which the Guardian report relates with damning clarity:
"Families received payouts as low as £3,500 for the deaths of loved ones, sums later dwarfed by settlements to policemen, who were awarded up to £330,000 after suffering post-traumatic stress from witnessing the crush on the stadium terracing."
That the police officers' "suffering" was judged to be almost a hundredfold bigger than that of the families is an often overlooked aspect of the greatest cover-up in British legal history.
MacKenzie et al can be in no doubt that their moment of reckoning looms larger by the week. Staines might wish to reconsider his admiration for a proven liar.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Metropolis On The Mersey

One can only surmise that Big Al Machray & his minions at the Oldham Echo saw the silent movie classic Metropolis some years back & decided that Fritz Lang's 1927 production ( ) should act as the blueprint for the city of Liverpool & its port in particular.
That's the only conclusion to be drawn from the fawning adoration bestowed by Oldham Hall Street on yet another plan to "transform" the Kings Dock ( ). A fetish for a futuristic dystopia would normally be sufficient reason to consult a psychiatrist. In Big Al's case, however, it qualifies him to edit a paper whose capacity for self-delusion & denial would impress Saddam's former spin doctor, Comical Ali.
The Echo's piece has been penned by Marc Waddington, who enthuses:
"Up to 1,000 jobs could be created by the new masterplan for the waterfront area, which will include apartments, offices, hotels & leisure complexes."
Here we go again with Echo buzz phrases. "Up to" a thousand jobs, you say? So it could be considerably fewer than that. Going by previous instances, it would be sensible to view that phrase as, well, imaginative. Additionally, the use of "could" is a sure indication that Oldham Hall Street is doing its usual trick of whistling in the wind while the icy blast of a triple-dip recession, coupled with the cuts, freezes Merseyside more effectively than any meteorological factors.
Then there's the artist's impression of what the Kings Dock "could" (copyright Oldham Hall Street) look like, &, yes, it is truly hideous, a fact not lost on a few commenters. "BigEnd" (nice moniker) declares:
"This looks like the lovechild of the Malmaison Hotel and the new museum. With a dash of DNA from the ferry terminal. Please -- are there any architects out there with some sense of style? We deserve better than this."
Yes, BigEnd, we certainly do. Alas, we won't get it while the Oldham Echo champions such monstrosities.
Another commenter (Stewart f43) asks:
"Is it just me, or do these designs look like something out of Star Wars? 'Brutalist' isn't the expression for this -- try 'plain ugly'. Was nothing learned from the awful old Pier Head design?"
To which one must sadly reply that nothing will ever be learned by the latter-day Bourbons who hail such grotesque vanity projects as graceful adornments to the city's Botoxed waterfront.
So who is behind this plan that the Echo is keen to promote? Well, it's the work of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), whose chief executive Deborah McLaughlin is quoted in Waddington's piece. However, she cautions:
"No specific figure has been put on investment in the overall development plan, but it is likely to run into hundreds of millions of pounds."
That's conveniently ambiguous, wouldn't you say? Moreover, it beggars belief to view the project itself as viable in the near to mid-term future when the economy is, at best becalmed in the ConDems' Doldrums, & any lending from the banks for infrastructure projects is a bit like Liverpool's chances of a Champions League place: nice in theory, but impossible in practice.
The role of messenger is crucial in cases such as this. As messenger, the Oldham Echo yet again shows a dispiriting willingness to publish what is effectively a puff-piece for HCA. The Echo is well-versed in promoting the interests of unaccountable, unelected business interests & their schemes to "regenerate" the region (do I hear the name Peel Holdings faintly in the distance?). That Waddington's article is a puff-piece is apparent from reading HCA's own blurb about the project ( ), the use of terms such as "transform" & "masterplan" eerily evident in the HCA piece as well as a suitably supportive quote from Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, the city council's cabinet member for regeneration. Cllr Kennedy has been vocal in his view that the "development" of the Lime Street area has been good for the city. Those with aesthetic taste would beg to differ.
The waterfront has been disfigured by supposedly grand projects which say more about the backers of such schemes than any PR blurbs could hope to obscure. Those schemes have veered between farce & wilful civic vandalism ( ).
Fritz Lang's classic was supposed to act as a cautionary tale against the dangerous cocktail of hubris & technology; the apparent "progress" being merely a mirage. It's a lesson the civic goons, the Oldham Echo & the business interests they eagerly acclaim are destined to ignore.

Exposing The Perogative Of The Harlot

There's no greater fear for a tabloid newspaper editor & his (almost all of them are men) proprietor than a reporter who undergoes a Damascene conversion. Imagine, therefore, the palpitations felt by Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express & the Daily Star, at the willingness of Richard Peppiatt, a former hack at the latter rag, to expose their distortions, smears & bigotry. Peppiatt has now started a vlog (video blog), as Roy Greenslade noted the other day ( ).
Desmond was the reptile who charmingly informed the Leveson Inquiry that he had no time for ethics ( ).
Greenslade refers to Peppiatt's delivery & presentation as "What The Papers Say with attitude." It could also be viewed as Estuary English Jon Stewart.