Why the questions about #Paul_Nuttall, #Ukip and #Hillsborough need proper answers …
Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 20/02/2017
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Greg Lance – Watkins
it is amusing to wonder if this sub headline:
‘Professor Phil Scraton calls for ULIP leader …’
was deliberate, a Freudian slip or just an apposite typo!
Interestingly I am given to understand that there is a photographic record, in detail, of those who were involved in the tragedy at Hillsborough and the ajoining stands – I feel it is incumbent on Ukip, to some extent, to restore the credibility of their leader by making strenuous efforts to investigate this record so that Paul Nuttall can point out his father, his two uncles and himself on the relevant photographs.
In view of Paul Nuttall’s undeniable dishonesty and Walter Mittyesque delusional self promotion and fantasy CV and lack of integrity in permitting his employee Lynda Roughley to try to defend him by accepting the blame for his postings on the web site and for that matter, without much clearer validation, his willingness to permit his father to seek to defend his comments about Hillsborough, there is an undeniable display of lack of integrity in his behaviour and claims – at best.
On the Hillsborough I believe the only acceptable response Ukip can now make is to provide the irrefutable photographic evidence that Paul Nuttall was in the zone that can justify his claims to have been a ‘survivour’. It is my hope that he can provide this third party proof, as without it any individual of any integrity would immediately resign as leader of Ukip, as a candidate in the Stoke by-election, as an MEP and from any public office now or in the future – donating any further income or pension entitlements in favour of The Hillsborough Survivours Group for the genuine survivours.
It would seem I am not alone in my doubts and criticism – a position I have held since my first revelations on the matter, long before the issue was a public matter!
I concede that I too user the terminology ‘accident’ relative to the Hillsborough tragedy as although there is no doubt that, as proven, members of the police lied to establish a cover-up of their crass incompetence in a manner which makes one wonder why all those who have been proven to have thus lied have not been prosecuted and where apposite ignominiously sentenced and discharged from the police and any pensions therefrom.
Similarly it was foolish of some in the media and in public office to comment adversley – The Sun and various journalists and politicians included – however it is understandable that they took the assertions of the police at face value, particularly as there was no clear immediate information readily available that refuted the police claims, of which I am aware.
That it was an ‘accident’ is, in my opinion, irrefutable as I can see absolutely no evidence of a premeditated plan to cause injury, merely a gross incompetence on the part of senior police officers and a criminal attempt to lie inorder to cover-up their utter incompetence and failure of judgement.
Why the questions about Paul Nuttall and Hillsborough need proper answers – Phil Scraton
Professor Phil Scraton calls for ULIP leader to fully clarify his position
By – Phil Scraton
- 16:01, 20 FEB 2017
- Updated16:02, 20 FEB 2017
Five months later, in support of a petition initiated by Anne Williams , whose son had died, he repeated his loss adding that he understood ‘as well as anyone how deep the scars of that tragedy go’. Not least because he, 12 years old at the time, was a ‘survivor’.
Questioned last week about the veracity of his claims he stated that ‘an impression was given that was not accurate’. Despite the claims having been quoted directly from his words, UKIP press officer, Lynda Roughley, took full responsibility and offered her resignation. In a heated Twitter exchange UKIP’s major donor, Arron Banks, stated he was ‘sick to death’ hearing about Hillsborough – ‘it was a disaster and that’s it, not some sort of a cultural happening’. He added, ‘milking a tragedy forever is sick’.
On Friday in an address to the UKIP faithful a tearful Paul Nuttall failed to distance himself from Banks’ comments. Instead he said he had been subjected to a co-ordinated, cruel and almost evil smear campaign’. Nigel Farage came to his defence with an attack on Labour.
According to Farage, Nuttall had ‘tried again and again to help to do whatever needed to be done and they [Labour] kept him out of it for years’. For ‘political reasons’ Nuttall had been deliberately excluded from ‘victim support groups’. This was an absurd allegation. Knowing the campaigns as well as I, no-one tells the families or survivors what to do, least of all political parties.
Through the past 27 years I have read hundreds of testimonies from Hillsborough survivors, rescuers, witnesses and the bereaved. I am well aware that in the aftermath of disasters some might exaggerate, even fabricate, their experiences. For others, as the recent inquests demonstrated, their memories are anything but precise. I’m not that concerned to know whether or not Paul Nuttall, as he maintains, was at Hillsborough in 1989 – and 1988. But given his public standing and the impact of his comments on the bereaved and survivors at such a sensitive time, I do want to know more.
Repeatedly he has claimed ‘survivor’ status. What exactly does this mean? The crush outside the turnstiles? Or the fatal crush in the central pens on the terraces which claimed the lives of 96 men, women and children, that left over 400 seriously injured and many thousands traumatised. These are the survivors, many bereft and traumatised, others who have taken their own lives, or have died prematurely as a direct consequence of the pains of survival.
Paul Nuttall states that on entering the ground he was in the ‘upper tier’. What does that mean exactly? There are two possibilities. Either the ‘upper tier’ standing pen 7 at the north end of the Leppings Lane terrace or the West Stand seated area above the terrace. While fans in both places witnessed the horrendous scenes in the central pens they were not survivors of the fatal crush. Yet his portrayal of survival appears consistent with his original claim that ‘close personal friends’ had died. A claim he has now admitted was false and for which he has accepted responsibility.
But what of his full story? On the day, how did he and his family members travel to Hillsborough? What time did they arrive at the ground? Were they in the crush at the turnstiles, did they enter through Gate C, and were they in the pens or in the West Stand? These are the questions put to the many witnesses interviewed by the current investigation teams. They were the focus of questioning survivors’ testimonies at the inquests. In the aftermath, when the Taylor Inquiry appealed for witnesses, did Paul Nuttall’s party offer to be interviewed? Did they volunteer statements?
There is a further coincidental dimension to all this. The Hillsborough Project, of which I was the director, was based at what is now Edge Hill University, then a college of higher education. We wrote two substantial reports, in 1990 and 1995. We worked with Jimmy McGovern on his award-winning drama-documentary, Hillsborough, first broadcast in late 1996. I accompanied many families to the Stuart-Smith scrutiny of new evidence and wrote three submissions. In 1999 I published the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth. It was widely publicised and serialised in the Sunday Mirror.
A year later the prosecutions of the two senior officers at Hillsborough were held in Leeds. Towards the end of 2000 I published the second edition of the book. The coverage, especially in the North West, was extensive. We hosted meetings with families and survivors at Edge Hill. Paul Nuttall studied History at the College. Our Centre was in the heart of the campus. We must have passed each other on numerous occasions – on the pavements, corridors, coffee bar and so on. He would have walked past our Centre many times.
During that period, given the massive publicity our work received, Paul Nuttall could not have failed to know about the Project, its work with the bereaved and survivors.
Yet he never approached us, never shared his experiences. I understand fully there were many people who were, and have remained, unable to talk about what they witnessed on the day. What is not so readily explained is why Paul Nuttall did not drop by for even a confidential conversation, why he held back on disclosure until the Hillsborough Independent Panel was in session and why he chose national television as the forum to break his silence? These are questions of timing and context that, alongside the questions regarding the details of his experiences on the day, require explanation.
If Paul Nuttall was not a prominent politician, these questions would not matter. But he is now a significant public figure and his party has called out others on matters of trust, frankness and openness. Given that flaws in his Hillsborough story have been exposed and admitted, and the bereaved families and survivors are in the midst of a crucial period in the ongoing investigations, the questions detailed here require answers.
According to recent reports Paul Nuttall is under investigation by the European Parliament, along with fellow UKIP MEPs, for alleged misuse of funds. He is also reported as being under police investigation for alleged election fraud in the current by-election. Having erroneously stated in his on-line CV that he held a doctorate and also that he had played soccer professionally, it has emerged this week that he falsely claimed membership of the Board of the North West Training Council.
Regarding Hillsborough, it is time for him to make a full statement, in as much detail as memory allows, recounting his journey to Sheffield, arrival at – and entry into – the ground, his precise location inside, his proximity to the central pens and his journey home. He might also explain why his family did not volunteer statements to the investigations at the time, including their experiences of Leppings Lane in the previous year.
Professor Phil Scraton is author of Hillsborough: The Truth, was lead researcher and primary author of the Hillsborough Panel’s Independent Report and advisor to the Hillsborough Families’ legal teams throughout the recent inquests.
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This entry was posted on 20/02/2017 at 22:33 and is filed under Hillsborough, Paul Nuttall, UKIP. Tagged: Arron Banks, GL-W, Greg Lance-Watkins, Greg_L-W, Hillsborough, Lynda Roughley, Paul Nuttall, Phil Scranton Prof., Prof. Phil Scranton, Stoke by-election, UKIP. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.