Friday, April 19, 2013

Grim Prospects For A Pariah

Arch purveyor of sewer sentiments, Kelvin MacKenzie has kept, by his standards, a relatively low media profile since the start of the year. There have been sightings of the liar now & again, most jarringly as a guest newspaper reviewer on the BBC News channel recently; the phone calls & emails that flowed the Beeb's way would have left the corporation in little doubt that MacKenzie's presence was a gross abuse of licence payers' money (the reviewers are paid for their time). Most recently, he could be spotted in the company of Jeremy Clarkson at Thatcher's funeral. A veritable Brains Trust, wouldn't you say?
MacKenzie had hoped to pen a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. Indeed, the paper's editor, Tony Gallagher (@gallaghereditor, if you feel like sending him a tweet or two) had declared on the Telegraph website that the liar would contribute on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately for MacKenzie, reaction to his first column helped ensure that it was the only column he would scrawl for the Telegraph; many online commenters raised the subject of Hillsborough, one referred to him as a "ghastly little man", a quintessentially Telegraph put-down.
MacKenzie's short-lived stint at the Telegraph was yesterday mentioned by Roy Greenslade on his Guardian blog ( ). Greenslade noted that MacKenzie left the Daily Mail last July, having been employed as a columnist there for less than a year, & that the BBC, newspaper reviews notwithstanding, is noticeably reluctant to have him as a panelist on Any Questions & Question Time. Greenslade observed:
"Why should this be? In a word, Hillsborough. Twenty-four years on from the tragedy he cannot escape the fury of Liverpool for his front page that defamed the city's football fans."
Regarding MacKenzie's sudden departure from the Telegraph, Greenslade reported that Tony Gallagher "was made aware by the sports desk of deep upset about the hiring of MacKenzie by its writers, especially its star columnist Alan Hansen."
Hansen was, of course, in the Liverpool team which took to the field on April 15th, 1989. In the years since he has had to confront & correct the smears about Hillsborough which emanated from MacKenzie's infamous front page. As Greenslade noted, Hansen's possible resignation from the Telegraph in protest at MacKenzie's appointment would have caused the paper acute embarrassment.
Greenslade opened his piece by asking:
"Has Kelvin MacKenzie become unemployable?"
After the faux-aristocratic flummery & pomposity of the taxpayer-funded Thatcher funeral this week, it would be an appropriately Thatcherite fate for MacKenzie to find himself without work (& income) indefinitely. Such a fate would be welcomed by many.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Anne Williams 1951 -- 2013

Anne Williams, whose 15 year-old son Kevin died at Hillsborough, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer ( ). Anne defied medical advice to attend Monday's anniversary service at Anfield.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Areas Of Lesser Importance To The Tories

Those of a certain generation may recall Thatcher's comments when she paid a flying visit to the city in March, 1989. News had broken that day that the Bird's Eye factory in Kirkby was to close with the loss of 1,000 jobs. Thatcher was asked by local reporters for her reaction. Her reply was chillingly sociopathic. They couldn't remain competitive, she intoned. If they couldn't compete & keep their costs down, they had to lose their jobs.
Sermon duly delivered, Thatcher left, alongside Hillsborough liar Bernard Ingham, in a speeding car which attracted a flying egg.
The last nine days have served as a stark reminder that the divided realm she bequeathed is still with us. While central London was witnessing her funeral, whole swathes of the UK marked Thatcher's final journey in a way which reflected the impact her policies had on those areas. Liverpool, of course, wasn't to be left out of proceedings; this was the scene outside St George's Hall a little earlier: .
Merseyside was always going to be largely barren ground for the Tories during the 80s. Indeed, they knew that early on during the Thatcher years ( ). The antipathy was mutual from the very beginning & was made clear to a national TV audience ( ).
There are Tories who deny that the Thatcher years were marked by a targeting of areas like northern England, South Wales & Scotland, & it would be inaccurate to say that areas in & around London didn't suffer, too. They did, as Glenda Jackson pointed out in a damning critique last week during a Thatcher nostalgia-fest in the Commons ( ).
However, the regional nature of Thatcher's policies was pronounced & entrenched throughout the 80s, as well as beyond. The Tories knew, & still know, that there are no-go areas for them north of the Midlands. They can live with that. Their base is elsewhere. Anyone who still demurs from that harsh political fact need only listen to what Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph & Thatcher's authorised biographer, had to say on BBC 5Live this morning. Moore opined that areas which opposed Thatcher & everything she stood for were "less important" ( ) -- his comments come at 4 minutes 50 seconds in the clip.
"Managed decline". "Less important". With those two dismissive quotes you have the Tories' real view of those who opposed their policy of deindustrialisation. It's a view which Cameron, Osborne (didn't someone have any tissues for him today, by the way?), et al share.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Janus-Faced Joe

It wouldn't be human to deny a certain grim pleasure from the passing of those whose actions have caused havoc & misery for others. Reaction on Merseyside to Thatcher's death has been pretty much as expected. Robin Brown penned an interesting piece on Seven Streets, too (
At this time it would be tempting to recount the 80s, that baleful decade of Toxteth, Militant, Trevor Jones, Heseltine, the Garden Festival, Hillsborough et al. Too tempting. Another time, another blog post.
However, I can't let today's reactions go by without highlighting the contradictory gibberish of one. It came from Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson with this tweet ( ):
"Tories believe in division and inequality. Thatcher defined that and Thatcherism continues today as bad or worse than her period in office."
It beggars belief that a Labour leader who makes a virtue out of his willingness to implement Cameron's cuts should bewail Thatcher's record & legacy. It seems to have escaped Joe's attention that the Thatcherism he condemns is perpetuated, in no small measure, by Labour councils which arrogantly tell people that they've got no alternative (to coin a phrase) but to make Tory cuts. Like, ooh, Liverpool City Council. Joe may lament the ethos of Thatcherism, but he does nothing to counter it; say what you like about the 47 (& many do), but they did stand up to the Tories. Selling off part of Sefton Park is an act one would expect from a Thatcherite philosophy which recognises the price of everything & the value of nothing. Today's Labour Party subscribes to that Tory tenet.
Thatcher is dead, but Labour lieutenants of capital like Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson do nothing to oppose policies that she could only dream of.