Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Culture, Civic Recollections & Cowardice

Shortly after my last post I hightailed it to a meeting at St George's Hall in Liverpool organised by the Liverpool Culture Company ( ) to update the general public on preparations for 2008. (Less publicised, but complete, so we're told is the programme of events for the forthcoming year to mark the city's 800th anniversary.)
The meeting took place in the ante room to the main hall itself. However, to describe it as small would be a gross distortion. It served as the city's Crown Court until the early 80s. Admiring the ornate features & pattern within, I was jolted out of any further gazing by the realisation that it was the place where many were sentenced to death after being found guilty in murder trials.
The speakers included Warren Bradley, leader of the city council, & Jason Harborrow, from the Culture Company.
To be honest, not a lot of what was said amounted to news or fresh perspectives on 2008. However, the cynic in me smiled when it was said that there is a "vision statement". This merely stated that 2008 is not a festival, more a celebration.

The past week has seen the passing of former Liverpool city council leader, John Hamilton ( ).
To those of us involved with the Militant at the time (early to mid 80s), he was what Lenin would have called "a useful idiot". Hamilton's position was merely honourary, Hatton pulled the strings & everyone knew it.
Apparently, Hamilton spoke to the editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, Larry Nield, just before his death. If the aim was to serve up an exclusive on that period, the Post is still sitting on the story. Either that or it wasn't considered newsworthy enough.

We now come to what will be a fairly regular feature of this blog. Entitled, Kelvin Watch, it will aim to shed light on the repugnant sloth, Kelvin MacKenzie.
First items come courtesy of Wikipedia (yes, I know the entries can be falsified & defamatory items can be inserted in the entries, but I don't suppose he'll be put out by that, tit for tat & all that).
According to John Pilger in his book, "Hidden Agendas", (Vintage Books, 1998), "The sources for the allegations [The infamous 'The Truth' front page splash] were stated to be anonymous police officers and a Conservative MP from Sheffield who wasn't actually present at the game."
Pilger also relates a tale which still makes the blood run cold: "Some weeks after the disaster, Joan Traynor, who lost two sons in the disaster, was asked by ITN for permission to film the funeral of her sons. Traynor refused and publicly requested that the media respect her family's privacy with regard to the funeral. ITN and all other British media outlets did indeed respect Mrs. Traynor's wishes with the exception of The Sun. Kelvin MacKenzie sent photographers to the funeral who clambered over a wall at the cemetery and took numerous photographs of the family laying the two boys to rest before eventually being chased away. The following day photographs of the family at the funeral appeared on the front page of The Sun."
It isn't just Hillsborough which marks MacKenzie out as a prime scumbag.
Pilger states, "MacKenzie...ran a story about a previously unknown member of the public who had just undergone a heart transplant operation, the story denouncing the man as a 'love rat', Sun journalists having been told that he had left his wife fifteen years earlier. Aside from criticism about the story's highly questionable news value, the newspaper was furiously condemned as the story was run when the man's recovery was still in the balance."
This tale nicely chimes in with a snippet from the Biog section on the Wikipedia page on MacKenzie: "MacKenzie was married for 38 years but in 2006 was divorced by his wife Jacqueline on the grounds of adultery."
Well I never! Who would've thought it, eh?
MacKenzie likes to refer occasionally how familiar he is with business & infer that he is a successful businessman. Yet the reality is that he took over at publishing firm Highbury House Communications in September 2005. By December 2005 the business had folded.
MacKenzie was scheduled to be on the panel for the BBC TV "Question Time" programme on December 7. At short notice, he withdrew from the programme, citing "other engagements". He would have known that a question from the audience would have mentioned his latest Hillsborough remarks &, like the coward he is, realised he couldn't stand any scrutiny.
MacKenzie has been chosen to present a news review programme on BBC Radio 5Live on, of all days, Christmas Day. There is an online petition which has now gathered over 10,000 signatures, urging Bob Shennan, the BBC suit responsible, &, we're told, a Liverpool fan to boot, to drop MacKenzie from the programme. So far, Shennan isn't budging. Still, you never know. Here's the petition link: .
To end with a quote from the creature himself which says everything you need to know about him in one mini-rant, I'm indebted to Peter Chippindale & Chris Horrie for this passage from their book, "Stick It Up Your Punter: Rise and Fall of the 'Sun'", concerning the readers of that rag while he was its editor in the early 80s: "You just don't understand the readers, do you, eh? He's the bloke you see in the pub, a right old fascist, wants to send the wogs back, buy his poxy council house, he's afraid of the unions, afraid of the Russians, hates the queers and the weirdoes and drug dealers. He doesn't want to hear about that stuff (serious news)".
That's enough of MacKenzie for now, but don't worry, we'll return to further expose this toerag ere long.

Merry Christmas, Kelvin!

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