Four years after the Birmingham Six were released, Paddy Joe Hill is still serving a life sentence. He speaks to David Harris about his autobiography, sixteen years wrongful imprisonment and a personal battle for peace.

‘I don‘t want sympathy. I want people to get angry. because it‘s only when people are angry that something positive gets done.. Anger is one commodity that Paddy Joe Hill has plenty of - in November 107-1. on his way to Belfast to visit a sick aunt and attend a funeral. he and five others were arrested for the [RA bombing of two Birmingham pubs and brutally beaten by the now disbanded West Midlands Serious Crime Squad.

The Birmingham Six were convicted on a wave of media hysteria. false confessions and discredited forensic evidence. spending more than sixteen years in prison to mollify the British

: public and whitewash the reputation of l a partisan police and legal system. Now. a stranger to his family. with his

‘Prison conditions you to live in an unnatural world. I’m emotionally dead. Now I

marriage broken but his rage intact. Hill has written an account of his life. Forever Lust. l-‘nrci'er (imre with the i help ofjournalist Gerard Hunt. It

demands to be read as a scarifying

i indictment ol‘judicial and political

Paddy Joe Hill is embraced after his release in 1991

arrogance. ‘lt‘s not the concept of British justice that‘s wrong.‘ he says.

‘lt‘s the people who administer it who

are rotten. evil. corrupt and perverted.

We were already convicted before we

were even chargcd.’

The book is candid about his petty

criminal past and about the club-law

prefer to be in the company of a strangers than with my family.’ i

that rttles prison life. although he was partly itntnune because of his hard— nosed toughness and his acquaintance

with the sy stem. Yet his refusal to succumb meekly to his fate had an atnbivalent effect.

‘.\laybe in some ways my anger has tnade it harder for me. but I don't want to forget what they don‘t want to

remember.‘ he says. Since his

conviction was quashed in l‘Nl, Hill has not forgotten other innocent victims 1 of false arrest. His campaigning on their behalf gives him some purpose in

a society he no longer feels at home in. ‘l’rison conditions you to liye in an unnatural world. I‘m emotionally

dead.‘ he admits with rare resignation.

‘.\'ow I prefer to be in the company of

. strangers than with my family. I tried to tell my children that the reason I travel hundreds of miles and spend hours

E visiting people in prison is that I feel

for them. whereas with my children I

don‘t feel fuck all. I don‘t feel nice telling you that. but I'm not going to sit here and tell you lies because that's

what I went tojail on: lies. People may , not like what I say. but I'm not here for a popularity contest.‘

Hill has been approached by

television. and is aware of the need to

constantly iog the public‘s short-term

memory. but he is resolute that any dramatisation will be free of the poetic

licence that sweetened In the Name of

the Father. ‘Believe me. there‘s fuck all

in our stories that's glamorous. All our stories are filled with is heartache and sorrow and pain and iiiiset'y'. If anyone

' can find anything to glamorise. all I can

say is they must be fucking sick.‘

Four years after his release. l’addy Joe Hill is still serving a life sentence for other people's crimes. not the least of

which is public indifference. tl)avid

; Harris)

l-‘m‘ever INS]. forever (iii/1e /)_\' I’rl(/(/_\‘

Joe Hill um! (Icmn/ Hun! is published

by Bloomsbury (1/ {/4.‘)‘).




GLASGOW G1 lHA r TELEPHONE 0141 552 2929


128 Princes Street. Edinburgh. EH2 4AD 0131 226 2666

Thursday 27th July 7pm


will be reading from and signing his latest novels Ragged Lions and King David.


reading and signing his novels I Virgil '

and Ovid.

JAMES JAUNCEY who will read and sign copies of his latest novel The Mapmaker.

£100 of Sceptre books to be Won in a free prize draw.

Free tickets available from branch. Wine will be served.

CO The List 14-27 Jul 1995