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18 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hillsborough deserves better, 25 April 2012
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This review is from: Hillsborough - The Truth (Paperback)
There's a lot in this book but I urge readers to apply some scepticism. It is called "The Truth" and the author is described as "Professor Phil Scraton" in some editions to deliberately give an aura of objective independence. However, Scraton's approach is not that of a neutral independent - it is that of a Liverpool fan who, before Hillsborough, had axes to grind against the Thatcher government and the police. And this shows in his book. Once I realised in the early pages there was a prejudice informing his views I looked in vain for *any* criticism of Liverpool fans ever. There was none - not over anything to do with Hillsborough, not even any to do with Heysel which gets the most cursory treatment. By contrast, Scraton falls over himself to criticise the police for anything and everything.

It's not the truth in the sense of being an independent fair-minded view of events. For that you need to read the Taylor Interim report. It's the polemic of a campaigner - a pro-Liverpool anti-police campaigner. The Hillsborough tragedy deserves a more even-handed treatment, as Taylor gave it. Truth is something which comes without the filter of choosing some events to highlight but ignoring other events of equal importance, or praising those who you like and chastising those you don't. Being upset with The Sun doesn't justify re-writing history the other way, and nor should it lead Liverpool fans to think that this book is an objective answer.
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Showing 1-10 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Sep 2012 11:52:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Sep 2012 10:19:01 BDT
Grr (tiger) says:
Presumably you will not have changed your views in the light of the latest report, apparently also authored by Professor Scraton. I agree that it is easy now to forget the activities of the football hooligans in the 1980s, but shouldn't each event be considered on its own particular evidence? And surely it doesn't need the motive of being upset with The Sun to re-write history when you feel other compelling reasons for doing so.
It does seem to be generally accepted now that the police version of events was self-serving, mendacious and malicious, even by many who are not regarded as anti-police campaigners. Even indeed by the police and The Sun themselves and the Taylor report itself wasn't exactly exculpatory of the police either. It is difficult being independently fair-minded, when you have the frustration of knowing that the police are using filters of their own.

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 12:52:59 BDT
al-gee says:
Anyone assessing the evidence will have concluded that it was a major cover-up by the Establishment. I suggest you go away and check the facts.......that is of course unless you yourself are a black propagandist trying to deter people from learning the truth.

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 13:14:16 BDT
al-gee says:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/sep/12/hillsborough-disaster-police-coverup-revealed?intcmp=239

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 13:16:22 BDT
al-gee says:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/sep/12/hillsborough-disaster-daily-mirror?commentpage=last#end-of-comments

Posted on 14 Sep 2012 13:22:04 BDT
al-gee says:
http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/history/index.shtm

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2012 16:24:28 BDT
Grr (tiger) says:
al-gee - I don't know about a cover up by the Establishment, but there was certainly a cover up by the South Yorkshire Police. There is evidence that Mrs Thatcher knew what the SYP were doing and didn't approve, but there is also evidence that she wasn't going to do anything about it. That to my mind is shameful, but then she wasn't that kind of politician. It was she who said there is no such thing as society, and in view of what had happened in the 1970's, perhaps the country needed a dose of nasty tasting medicine.
I think that in general there is often value in Robert Macmillan's call for scepticism, but that he is or was wrong in this particular case. He seemed to be urging scepticism of the Liverpool fans' and Scraton's account and not of the police version. Initially, I had some sympathy with that view myself, and it wasn't until the Taylor report that I realised this wasn't another Heysel. The truth is the truth, and very often it simply isn't arrived at by a "... sense of being an independent fair-minded view of events." Sometimes it has to be fought for with passion, particularly when people in power are trying to obscure it.
The Taylor report did much to rescue football, which if only for its own sake it needed at the time. But for everybody's sake we are always going to need a decent police force. There are at least some signs now that even Conservative politicians are beginning to realise that the police need to be brought to account. So that we have a force that appreciates that its job is not only to enforce the law on others but to observe it themselves. That would indeed be a worthwhile legacy from this disaster.

Posted on 3 Apr 2013 21:30:09 BDT
bettyparry says:
the truth hurts

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Apr 2013 21:22:24 BDT
The reason I didn't here encourage scepticism of the police version of events, or criticise The Sun, is because I was doing a book review of Scraton's book, not engaging in a general discussion about the rights and wrongs of Hillsborough.

My simple point is that Scraton claims in his title and presentation that this book is the objective truth. But it's not. He's not objective and neither is his book. In saying that, I am not defending the police or The Sun, or having a go at Liverpool supporters or anything.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2013 14:56:12 BDT
Grr (tiger) says:
Your point is taken.

For myself, I just think that having the truth out in the open, in having a police force of integrity and having a responsible press are all more important than Scraton being objective and fair-minded.

Your point is indeed simple.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2013 18:12:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Apr 2013 18:12:35 BDT
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