Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Hillsborough tragedy

With the publication of the Hillsborough report, that famous saying, according to which tragedy in life normally comes with betrayal and compromise, has been verified again.

The report from the panel created by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in 2009 has just been disclosed to the public, thus allowing the families of the football fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster to find out the truth about the circumstances of their death.
And a series of shocking aspects have emerged, and further intrigues have started to take contour.

Familiar with the dealings in the Gaul, Derbyshire and Trident formal investigations (planned under Blair’s government), I could not help noticing the similarities and a number of disturbing aspects:

As the Hillsborough report revealed:
  • official negligence was covered up by blaming the victims for their own deaths;
  • the media colluded in the cover-up by presenting a misleading version of the events and  spreading smears;
  • police statements were amended to avoid liability;
  • the existence of a conspiracy to withhold the truth right across the Establishment.
Sadly, the same (and a lot more and a lot worse) can be said about several other public inquiries.

Such tragedies represent terrible, both private and public, loss. It is therefore the duty of the public, thorough the institution created to serve it, to properly investigate the causes of the loss, mitigate it and learn lessons for the future. This is not and should never be a political game. If it were, this would show a far deeper level of depravity than a hundred doctored statements.

The Hillsborough tragedy occurred under a Conservative government, and I therefore have my doubts as to whether the keenness on the part of Labour to get to the truth has been a hundred per cent motivated by compassion and honour. Why, in the campaign for the truth, has Labour been the loudest?
The panel was formed in 2009 by a Labour government who expected to lose the 2010 elections. What prevented them from setting up this panel 12 years earlier or sooner after Labour had come to power?

We have also noticed that Lord Falconer and Michael Mansfield QC are involved in advising the Hillsborough Family Support Group, with the former making lavish use of conditionals in his statements about future legal actions, and with the latter, hastily, calling the Hillsborough “the biggest cover-up in history”. 

The families, as Prime Minister Cameron said, suffered a double injustice and they have suffered a lot. Justice now needs to be done – and, most importantly, done for the right reasons. This was a tragedy and it should never be turned into a Tu Quoque defence for Labour.

It now turns out that documents showing the role of the police in covering up the Hillsborough disaster were handed to the Crown Prosecution Service 14 years ago. That is under the last Labour government, who must have decided to stash the evidence away as political ammunition for the future.


Negotiations are now ongoing:

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sad news

On the 18th of August 2012, the Hull Daily Mail announced the death, at the age of 71, of Norman Fenton, the TV-documentary maker. It was Mr Fenton who commissioned the search for the Gaul and was on board of the search vessel when the wreck was located, in 1997.

Norman Fenton’s death was sad news for the Gaul families whom he had known well and worked with over the years. (He also attended, for a brief period, the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation.)

In his long TV career, Norman Fenton made many films, including 5 documentaries about the Gaul and, as his family have revealed, was working on a book about the Gaul at the time of his death. 
Norman Fenton (like a few others) knew the truth about the Gaul and one can imagine that he was eventually going to lay it down on paper. It was, however, not to be. 

May he rest in peace!