Hillsborough: Speaking Truth to Power

Hillsborough: Speaking Truth to Power with Phil Scraton St George’s Hall 21/11/12.

by Cath Bore

Phil Scraton
Over 400 people gathered at St Georges Hall Concert Room for WoW’s ‘Speaking Truth to Power’, with Hillsborough Independent Panel member and the report’s main author, Phil Scraton.

WoW, through gaining support from Liverpool City Council and Arena Housing, managed to ensure that the whole evening was free.

WoW Director, Madeline Heneghan, explained that WoW saw it as, ‘almost a public duty to try and give the families and the general public access to Phil, and to hear from him some of the detail behind this incredible report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel.’

It certainly achieved that.

If you gathered all of the families and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster and asked them for their stories, you’d get a uniform shared sense of loss. Understandable. Predictable, even. But if you explored each individual’s journey over the past 23 years, every complex story of grief, disbelief, betrayal, hurt, anger, loss and a myriad of other emotions, would be quite unique. 

Long term supporter of the families Phil Scraton spoke on Wednesday night at St George’s Hall about his own journey, specifically as a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel over the last couple of years.

On Wednesday, there was a sense of satisfaction in the room.  A true smashing of myths.

Liverpool is a self-pity city. Hardly; the panel’s report says the families were right, all along. They were right.
Fans were drunk and brought the disaster upon themselves. Scraton points out the levels of alcohol in victims’ blood were less than you’d find in the attendees at the theatre.

Sefton Celebrates Writing Review

The WoW curated Sefton Celebrates Writing Festival was launched in spectacular style with an event showcasing the talents of the students and primary school pupils in the local area. Nancy and the Bonfire, held at Derby park, Bootle, on bonfire night, told the tale of a young girl, Nancy, a traveller in time from 1912, who appears in the park once every one hundred years and relies upon the children to help her find her way back to her home.
On November 5th over 1500 people came to the park to see Nancy (played in fine style by Megan McFarlane, a drama student from Hugh Baird College) transported through time with the help of the hapless ‘Bard of Bootle’ (a stellar performance by John Smullen, actor and drama graduate from Hugh Baird college), appearing in 1939, 1969 and 1999, where she was guided along the way by war babies, hippy-trippy psychedelics to a soundtrack from the first moon landing, and disco dancers from the 1990’s, all played by primary school students from Bedford, St Monica’s and Christchurch primary schools, and supported by local dance troupe, Inspirations.
The story for Nancy and the Bonfire was created, performed and organised by festival organisers Writing on the Wall (WoW), Sefton arts, Sefton’s Park Rangers and the students and pupils from Hugh Baird College and the local primary schools mentioned above. It truly was a collaborative event that proved to be massively popular with local people – particularly the fireworks at the end, which also marked the reopening of the newly refurbished bandstand, opened by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Kevin Cluskey and Lady Mayoress Cllr Linda Cluskey.

Pulp Idol - Firsts 2012 Launch

altMonday 10th December, 8-10pm
Day & Night Café, 54 St James St, L1 0AB

We're delighted to announce the publication of the next Pulp Idol - Firsts 2012, which features the first chapters of 11 fantastic new writers. Books will be on sale at the event and we'll also be launching a Kindle edition of the book on the night.

"New writers pen their first chapters. This book is the fascinating result." - Debbie MorganDisappearing Home, Pulp Idol 2010 entrant

"The standard of the entries I read at this year’s pulp idol was exceptional. It’s a superb competition, seeking talent in places where many don’t think to look, and the variety of the writing I was introduced to impressed me enormously." - Luke Brown, Tindal Street Press

Hillsborough: Speaking Truth to Power

Writing on the Wall presents...

Hillsborough: ‘Speaking Truth to Power’

Phil Scraton
7.30pm, 21 November 2012
The Concert Room, St George’s Hall, Liverpool

The Hillsborough Independent Panel’s Report was launched at the Anglican Cathedral on 12 September 2012. Its findings led to a full Government apology and an outpouring of anger with calls for justice for the victims and their families and prosecutions of the guilty. The Panel’s work, chaired by the Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, was unprecedented. It accessed, researched and analysed documents released by 85 organisations and individuals, focusing on the context, circumstances and of the Hillsborough Disaster.

In late 2009, following representations to the Home Secretary by the Hillsborough Family Support Group supported by Merseyside MPs, the UK Government appointed the Hillsborough Independent Panel. Its main responsibilities were to maximise public disclosure of all documents, to make the documents available publicly, to make recommendations for a permanent archive and to show how the disclosed documents ‘add to public understanding’.

Within the documents the Panel found that: warnings of fans’ compromised safety went unheeded making the disaster foreseeable; an unsafe venue had been made dangerous by unlicensed modifications; fans’ behaviour did not contribute to the disaster; unfounded allegations were fed deliberately to the media by the police and politicians; medical evidence was unreliable and misrepresented; bereaved families were failed consistently by flawed investigations and inquiries.

Phil Scraton was responsible for heading the Panel’s research and primary author of the Report. From Merseyside and author of the highly acclaimed Hillsborough: The Truth, he is Professor of Criminology in the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast. In this public lecture he reflects on what was known previously, explores the Report’s extensive findings and considers the implications for truth, justice and accountability.

Exclusive interviews with Phil and the Independent Panel about the Report will be featured in the Echo over coming days - read Phil's interview here.

"Sense of Sound creates and produces amazing ways to celebrate singing and have performed extensively around the UK and internationally. They have worked with many international artists including Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Damon Albarn, Russell Watson and featured in BBCs The Choir with Gareth Malone, Last Choir Standing and The Royal Variety show. Their performance in support of the Hillsborough 96 promises to be uplifting and joyous"
Entry is free but tickets must be booked through the Philarmonic Hall box office here.

Contact WoW

Address:  Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1TH
Map: Click Here for our location page

Tel:  0151 703 0020

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