Cameron said what had to be said, as would anyone else in his position. The fact that there no punches pulled was down to the damning evidence, to which there was no room for manoeuvre.
What I find alarming is that it was generally accepted that the UK was free and democratic back in ‘89, yet the overwhelming level of conspiracy and censorship would not have looked out of place in any police state. Without wishing to sound all Trotskyite but the Establishment ensured that this manipulation of events was allowed to happen without challenge and without question. I can accept that the government of the day were not complicit in this, but they certainly did not give mind to the possibility that officially things went horribly, horribly wrong.
In this or any other case of injustice, that selfsame Establishment exists. There could be all the enquiries under the Sun (a poor analogy, I suppose) but this will not lead to a culture change. The willingness of the police to close ranks still goes on today (Rawlinson and De Menezes) as it did back in ’89 and long before that.
As it was Hillsborough was christened tragedy before there was even a chance to look at whether there was a legal case to answer. The Taylor report was thus thrust into the forefront whilst the powers that be in South Yorkshire Police were allowed to dodge a bullet. The crazy thing was that had it not been for McKenzie the SYP might have avoided a scandal that has plagued its existence ever since.
This is a momentous day, no doubt, but whether this will achieve some form of closure is debatable. The tampering of evidence must surely bring certain key players back to the courtroom, retired or not, to face up to not only what they did but what they should not have done.
This. Excellent comment and got me thinking.
I did say I had nothing more to add earlier but I have simply not been able to get Hillsborough out of my head. I’ve had the legacy of Hillsborough, Thatcher and the 80’s swimming around my head so I’m just throwing some thoughts down. If it comes across as a cod sociology essay then apologies in advance.
When the time comes for the comprehensive retelling of the 1980’s in the same manner that the 1970’s is being treated at the moment (hopefully not by Dominic Sandbrook), it would be apposite to analyse Britain’s social history through the prism of Thatcher and the Police’s war on the working class throughout the decade.
All of Thatcher’s three administrations were predicated upon ‘the enemy’- as she would famously ask at cabinet meetings, ‘is he one of us?’ This was the entire philosophy of Thatcherism- the working classes of Toxteth, Brixton and elsewhere in 1981 were ‘the enemy within’, the Trade Unions were ‘the enemy within’, the miners were ‘the enemy within’, Militant in Liverpool were ‘the enemy within’, Galtieri was the ‘the enemy outside’ and of course football fans were very much ‘the enemy within’. The unacceptable face of a working class about to be dealt with.
Thatcherism’s attack on the working class and the post war settlement was two pronged- the ‘velvet glove and the gauntlet’ approach. The subtle velvet glove- the ‘property owning democracy’ that led millions to ‘invest’ in their own house. Of course, if you are now shackled by a mortgage, class solidarity dissipates as you worry more about losing the house you have bought than fighting for better working conditions in a job which can be easily transferred overseas or to one of the latent millions unemployed.
In conjunction with draconian Trade Union laws and the long planned hammering of the miners, the victory was complete- a cowed/self satisfied I’m alright Jack working class, having class solidarity either beaten or seduced out of them.
Hillsborough was the ultimate manifestation of this decade long culture of the ‘enemy within’ instilled in Government and Police. Although by 1989 the working class had been defeated (the miners strike saw to that), football fans as overwhelmingly working class were still evidence of the enemy and therefore everything should be done to ensure that they were the perpetrators for this horrific event.
Not only were they football fans, they were Liverpool fans- the city of Toxteth, Heysel, Hatton’s Militant and the 1980’s most celebrated attack on Thatcherism, Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff. They had it coming; they ******* well had it coming and no mistake.
The brutal way that SYP responded in the aftermath- blood tests for alcohol on the dead, grilling the grieving families as to the victim’s social and drinking habits followed by the unspeakable cover up was continuation of the same Machiavellian and brutal pattern of behavior that the Thatcher Govt had utilized against the miners. The brazenness indicative of ‘made men’ within Thatcher’s Police establishment and veterans of the Battle of Orgreave four years earlier were plain to see.
Let us never forget the sheer depths of depravity the political and policing pillars of Thatcher’s establishment stooped to- “Sir” Irvine Patnik’s lies about the fans and “Sir” amending PC’s reports and pushing the ‘drunken yob’ angle before the bodies had even been buried. These amongst many similar disgusting acts in the name of the Establishment.
If Hillsborough is symbolic of anything other than the appalling deaths of 96 innocent people at the hands of official negligence and subsequent cover up, it is this- it was the culmination of a decade long political mantra of ‘the enemy within’ and assault on the working classes. SYP acted as if it still had carte blanche to make sure that the enemy was defeated. The cover up testifies to the fact that the Establishment was still looking out for each other.
Hillsborough was the most despicable end to a decade fostered and won by class hatred, hatred as evidenced by the Establishment’s actions in causing, and reaction to the Hillsborough disaster.