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Police

Hillsborough

The former Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson presided over Liverpool Football Club during their most successful period, the mid-1960s to the 1980s. He was well known for his shrewdness and informal management style. It’s only with hindsight we learn, that on the 20 March 1989, he telephoned Steve Clarke, the competitions secretary of the Football Association and urged him not to stage the upcoming FA cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, and suggested Old Trafford, as a more suitable venue. Clarke returned his call later that morning to say that ‘the committee had selected Hillsborough’ and ‘the police would not agree to the allocation being altered’ either (the newspaper, 28 April).

Editorial: Socialists and the Police

When members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary fire plastic bullets into a crowd of demonstrating workers; when miners are truncheoned to the ground by police-un­iformed men of violence; when "suspected criminals" are beaten up in police vans and those doing the beating will only be investigated by their own colleagues if a complaint is lodged; when trade unionists are stopped on the roads and forced to drive home because they are suspected of travelling to a picket line; when black youths, who are roaming the streets because poverty deprives them of a place to go, are frequently stopped and subjected to racist abuse by police officers who are bigoted and inexperienced; socialists are forced to answer the question, Are We Anti-Police? To that question we give an emphatic answer: No; we will not be driven into the simplistic analysis of hating workers in uniform who constitute the police force, when we are attacking the system which forces them to respond to its violent needs.

Ballot-Box or Baton?

An "Unemployed Demonstration" is one of the most saddening spectacles that civilisation can provide. Most of the industrial towns have their daily débâcle in front of the Union, but the futility of their actions does not seem to strike the demonstrators; in fact, all that seems to strike them is the policeman's baton. The humanitarian must turn aside in pity at the sight of a few hundred, or maybe thousand, starving and physically weakened individuals parading their distress and wretchedness up and down the streets, to be eventually sent scampering down back streets and alleys at the word of command from a police inspector. If only it were an equal combat, one would not feel its injustice quite so much. But there you have it.

Brixton Explodes

After the riots, the deluge. As the fires died in Brixton, the smouldering passions there were doused in words hosed out from all kinds of social and political analysts. Most of them claimed dolefully that they had been expecting just such a thing to happen for a long time; all of them were alert with theories about the causes, and thereby with suggestions to stop it happening again.

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