Former Tory MP for Sheffield Hallam who was criticised for his comments about the behaviour of Liverpool football fans at HillsboroughSir Irvine Patnick, who has died aged 83, was the last high-profile Conservative in Sheffield, but his reasons for prominence were not what anyone would have wished. His competent but unremarkable decade as MP for Sheffield Hallam was interrupted by two moments in the limelight, one uncomfortable, the other disastrous.The first was when he was credited with coining the phrase “socialist republic of South Yorkshire” to describe the politics of a county council which his then leader Margaret Thatcher had abolished with relish in 1986. Far from tarnishing the Labour leadership in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, the nickname became a battlecry for defenders of, among other reforms, some of the cheapest public transport in the UK.Far more serious was an undertow of allegations that Patnick had been instrumental in blackening the name of Liverpool football fans in comments straight after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 which led to newspaper allegations against them, most notoriously in the Sun. Like many other claims and counter-claims, the truth of this had to await the report in September 2012 of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which found that Patnick had made vigorous comments about drunken and disorderly fans in conversation with the local White’s news agency. He referred to them kicking and urinating on police and said that he had seen the bruises.He subsequently said that he was “deeply and sincerely sorry” for passing on “inaccurate, misleading and plain wrong information” which he said had been given to him by officers from South Yorkshire police. He survived calls from Liverpool’s elected mayor, Joe Anderson, and one of the city’s Labour MPs, Steve Rotherham, for the removal of the knighthood that was conferred on Patnick in 1994 after he had spent five years as a government whip.Patnick was born in Sheffield and had a lively Jewish upbringing as part of a large family whose forebears had fled eastern Europe for Yorkshire. In a humbler version of the great diaspora success stories such as the Marks and Burton families in nearby Leeds, they created a secondhand goods empire famous for Patnick’s Junkerama store, whose slogans included: “Net curtains – we have enough for every window in Sheffield.”The family were generally sociable, approachable and down-to-earth, which helped Patnick’s progress from city councillor, from 1967, to leading the opposition on the “socialist republic” county council, from 1973, and finally to representing Hallam, the Tory stronghold in Sheffield, from 1987. He lost his seat in 1997 to the Liberal Democrat Richard Allan, who was succeeded in 2005 by Nick Clegg.Irving was unabashedly rightwing, opposing sanctions against South Africa, supporting the death penalty and obstructing gay rights reform. This went with a personable nature and a deep commitment to the Jewish community which is and always has been a rich contributor to Sheffield life. Educated locally at High Storrs grammar school and Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University), he was vice-president of the Sheffield Jewish Congregation and Centre, life president of Sheffield Jewish Representative Council and a former national vice-chairman of the Maccabi sports and youth organisation.He enjoyed the rough and tumble of politics and delighted in dishing out as well as taking the inevitable flak that focused on the only Tory MP in South Yorkshire. This gave him a carapace which was useful in his role as party whip, although he regretted that job’s ban on making broadcast appearances during which he could taunt Labour’s far greater, but sometimes ponderous, Yorkshire army.Hillsborough was a different matter entirely, and although Patnick knew the area around the football ground well, having fought the safe Labour seat in 1970 and 1979, his unquestioning acceptance of slurs on the fans is unlikely to be forgiven. He said in September that he was shocked at “the extent of the deceit and cover-up” but added: “I totally accept responsibility for passing such information on without asking further questions.”He had had nearly 24 years to do so, after the Liverpool Labour MP Eric Heffer first questioned the truth of the allegations in the House of Commons on the very day of the Sun’s report. Heffer said that the claims contradicted CCTV film and demanded that Patnick “come up with the so-called evidence”.He is survived by his wife Lynda, a daughter, Suzanne, and a son, Matthew.• Cyril Irvine Patnick, politician, born 29 October 1929; died 30 December 2012Hillsborough disasterSheffieldConservativesLiverpoolLocal governmentThe SunLiverpoolGay rightsJudaismLabourMartin Wainwrightguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Former Sun editor’s solicitors wrote to South Yorkshire police demanding apology for lies that led to ‘The Truth’ headlineA chief constable has told the former editor of the Sun Kelvin MacKenzie that he will not be getting an apology relating to the infamous “The Truth” story published in the wake of the Hillsborough football disaster.MacKenzie provoked fresh anger from the Hillsborough families when it emerged he had instructed solicitors to demand an “apology and recompense” from South Yorkshire police.Writing in the Spectator magazine, MacKenzie said he suffered “personal vilification for decades” as a result of the newspaper’s discredited reporting of the disaster.The Sun’s front-page story, which ran four days after the tragedy in April 1989, claimed that Liverpool fans urinated on police officers resuscitating the dying, and stole from the dead.According to extracts published on the Spectator’s website, MacKenzie writes: “Now I know – you know, we all know – that the fans were right.”But it took 23 years, two inquiries, one inquest and research into 400,000 documents, many of which were kept secret under the 30-year no-publication rule, to discover there was a vast cover-up by South Yorkshire police about the disaster.”Where does that leave me?”The former editor goes on to say police patrols around his house had been increased and describes the “physical danger” he faces in Liverpool.”But the people who have got away scot-free are South Yorkshire police,” he writes, adding that he is seeking recompense for “the lies their officers told”.South Yorkshire’s current chief constable, David Crompton, issued a statement which said: “SYP have received a letter from Kelvin MacKenzie’s lawyers, which demands the force makes an apology to him.”We have publicly apologised to the Hillsborough families and the Liverpool fans but we will not apologise to Mr MacKenzie.”He chose to write his own headline and he should accept responsibility for it.”Sue Roberts, secretary of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, had said: “The gall of that man to paint himself as a victim and for him to ask anybody for an apology; it beggars belief.”On 12 September a damning report by the Hillsborough independent panel said a cover-up took place to shift the blame on to the victims, and that 41 of the 96 lives lost could have been saved.The panel found that 164 police statements were altered, 116 of them to remove or change “unfavourable” comments about the policing of the match and the unfolding disaster.The Sun’s 1989 report caused widespread revulsion in Liverpool and led to a near total boycott of the paper on Merseyside that exists to this day.MacKenzie and the current Sun editor, Dominic Mohan, apologised for the newspaper’s role after the panel’s report was published.Hillsborough disasterLiverpoolKelvin MacKenzieThe SunNewspapers & magazinesNational newspapersNewspapersPoliceguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Former editor of tabloid says story headlined ‘The Truth’, pinning some blame on fans, was published ‘in good faith’Steve Bell
David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire, said he was profoundly sorry for his force’s handling of Hillsborough and the aftermath, but insisted the force had not been corrupt.
Trevor Hicks, of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, rejects an apology from former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie for running a story blaming fans for the tragedy, calling it “too little, too late”.
Former Sun reporter Harry Arnold has broken his long silence over the paper’s controversial coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.The Sun alleged that drunken Liverpool fans abused victims and police during the tragedy that caused the deaths of 96 people. It resulted in a boycott of The Sun on Merseyside that continues to this day. Arnold, who wrote the story, has explained to a BBC programme how it came about, saying he was “aghast” when he saw that it would be headlined “The Truth”.He said his story had been written in a “fair and balanced way” because he understood that the claims – which were later shown to be totally unfounded – were no more than “allegations”.He said it was the editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, who wrote the headline. “I was about to leave the newsroom when I saw him drawing up the front page,” said Arnold.”When I saw the headline, ‘The Truth,’ I was aghast, because that wasn’t what I’d written. I’d never used the words the truth… I still believe [I wrote it] in a balanced and fair way.”So I said to Kelvin MacKenzie, ‘You can’t say that’. And he said ‘Why not?’ and I said, ‘because we don’t know that it’s the truth. This is a version of ‘the truth’.”Arnold, who left The Sun in 1990 to join the Daily Mirror, continued: “He brushed it aside and said, ‘Oh don’t worry. I’m going to make it clear that this is what some people are saying’.”And I walked away thinking, well I’m not happy with the situation. But the fact is reporters don’t argue with an editor. And, in particular, you don’t argue with an editor like Kelvin MacKenzie.”The programme, Hillsborough: searching for the truth, also contains an interview with a police officer who was on duty at Hillsborough that day when Liverpool were playing an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.He said the fans did not behave as described by The Sun, explaining: “I didn’t see any Liverpool fans urinating on a police officer, or any police officers, and I didn’t see any Liverpool fans steal money from dead people or pick money up that had fallen out of people’s pockets. I didn’t see that. And it probably didn’t happen.”Senior officers responsible for policing the game, David Duckenfield and Bernard Murray, faced disciplinary proceedings and both left the force.Murray was cleared on two counts of manslaughter and the jury could not reach a verdict on Duckenfield at a private prosecution at Leeds crown court in July 2000.Government and police documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster are to be released at Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral on 12 September.They are being made public along with a report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has examined hundreds of thousands of papers. It was chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones.Hillsborough: searching for the truth, is to be broadcast on BBC1 in Yorkshire and the North West on Sunday (9 September) at 10.25pm.Source: BBCHillsborough disasterThe SunKelvin MacKenzieLiverpoolLiverpoolNottingham ForestPoliceDaily MirrorRoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
“A good man is just about to take on the Impossible Job.” That was the conclusion of the Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter in writing about the Football Association’s decision to offer the England football manager’s job to Roy Hodgson.The reason was made abundantly clear in the coverage in other national papers this morning. As Winter noted, they were declaring Hodgson “a failure before he’s even been appointed.”A couple of editors registered their surprise – and implied criticism – in front page headlines: “Hod choice for England” (Daily Mirror); “What are the Hods on that?” (The Sun) and “Forget ‘Arry, it’s Roy in the frame for England” (Daily Star).In the sports pages, the boot really went in. Reminding readers of Hodgson’s brief and unhappy stewardship of Liverpool, the Daily Mail’s main headline said: “Kop flop Roy is FA’s choice.”The Mirror was critical too: “Oh why, oh why, oh Woy?” This reflected the widespread bafflement that the media’s favourite, Harry Redknapp, had been overlooked.The general view from almost every football commentator was that Hodgson was nothing more than a safe and uninspiring choice.They included The Sun’s Steven Howard, “After Fab… the drab”, the Mail’s Martin Samuel “Is this a job for Mr Average?” and the Daily Express’s John Dillon, “Little joy in a chase for Roy Hodgson”. Brian Woolnough in the Daily Star predicted that the FA would suffer a backlash from fans. “He is a safe pair of hands rather than the ‘character’ England needed,” he wrote.The word “safe” can be found in almost every reaction. Daniel Taylor in The Guardian thought him “a safe option, a mid-table manager whose best work in England has been done at two relatively small clubs in Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.”In The Independent, Musa Okwonga thought Hodgson’s appointment has infuriated people “because it shows us what we really are: we are outsiders, peering up at football’s elite.” So a pragmatic choice makes sense.Tony Evans, The Times’s football editor, was wholly unimpressed by the appointment of a man “whose bathroom cabinet is bigger than his trophy cabinet.”It was “a retrograde step,” he wrote and then had the gall to add: “It is unfair to pillory Hodgson.”In what is clearly a self-fulfilling prohesy he concluded that Hodgson “will become the focus of public criticism very quickly.” Amid the negativity, it was a pleasure to read the piece by Oliver Holt in the Mirror, “Don’t destroy Roy: why Hodgson deserves better than to be written off before he’s even got the England job”.He accepted that Hodgson, unlike Redknapp, he lacks the common touch, nor does he have the charisma of Martin O’Neill.But, wrote Holt, “he is tactically astute, he is a clever coach and… he is well-respected throughout the game…”What he will need to overcome is the inverted snobbery that will be aimed at him by some because he’s a cerebral manager.”I found myself nodding at that. As a long-standing West Ham fan, I recall the same reaction to the appointment of Ron Greenwood in 1977. Too cerebral, it was said.But his record as England manager was far from disastrous: we qualified for the 1982 World Cup – for the first time in 12 years – and though we were eliminated in the second round, we were unbeaten throughout the tournament.Will cerebral Roy do as well as cerebral Ron? I think he might do better.Roy HodgsonNational newspapersDaily TelegraphThe IndependentThe TimesThe GuardianDaily MailThe SunDaily ExpressDaily MirrorDaily StarNewspapersHarry RedknappWest Ham UnitedWest Bromwich AlbionLiverpoolThe FARoy Greensladeguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds