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:


Jeannie Ritchie,Widow of Triden PD111t said...

Dear Gadfly

I am so pleased for the families of them you died in the Hillsborough Tragedy in 1989 that the truth is now finally being told to them.
The conspiracy to withhold the truth from the families of them who died is another disgrace in our country.

I can imagine how they have suffered all these years knowing that they have been lied to.

Nothing will ever bring back their loved ones but I hope that the families may find peace that the true has finally been told.

To loss someone in a tragedy is heartbreaking but for the victims families to be deceived is an utter disgrace

We can all live with the truth but to be lied to about our loss is unsupportable.

gadfly said...

Dear Mrs Ritchie,

Sorry for the delay in posting your comment. (My email system is in a bit of a mess.)

Indeed, added to the pain of losing their loved ones, the families also had to endure the pain and humiliation of being so blatantly deceived.

Conspiracies do happen and the Hillsborough scandal puts the Gaul, Derbyshire and the Trident in context. (I personally believe that the official conduct in these cases was far uglier.)

That is why we hope that, now, the families will at least be spared the additional humiliation of being used for political point scoring.

Anonymous said...

Very useful blog. Keep up the good work.