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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.

I won’t go on.  We know the facts, always have done.

Scraton talks about the panel’s mammoth job of wading through mountains of paperwork, photographs, video footage, doctored statements, true statements, press releases, legal jargoned documents. Some of what he read had him shouting ‘THEY KNEW!’ in his sleep, others gladdened his heart. 

Before Scraton gets up to speak on Wednesday, he confesses he’s not sure if he can get through the evening without breaking down.

In the end, there were some tears. No one can blame Phil Scraton for that.

In the words of one of those who attended, the evening was ‘reflectful, emotive and truly inspiring.’

We hope it has made a difference and helped to keep the cause for justice moving forward.

December 17th sees the release of He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother) by The Justice Collective. The single has been recorded to raise money for the families to continue their fight for justice and to keep the issue to the forefront of people’s minds. Writing on the Wall urges all our supporters to buy the single.
Text JUSTICE to 80010 to pre-order the single now. Texts cost £1 + standard network rate.

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Writing on the Wall believe in creativity, community, diversity, artistic excellence and social and economic justice. We are Liverpool’s longest-running writing and literary organisation and festival. We celebrate and inspire creativity and writing in all its forms through inquiry, debate, performance and publishing. Our annual WOWFEST brings together local audiences with the best local, national and international writers, artists and social commentators.