Hillsborough: the truth finally confirmed

April 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm (cops, Murdoch, posted by JD, reblogged, sport, tragedy, truth)

The truth about the Hillsborough disaster and the police cover-up (aided by The Sun) has gradually emerged over the years since 1989, but today’s inquest verdict of Unlawful Killing is a brilliant vindication and a tribute to the families’ resolute campaigning. The blog Guy Debord’s Cat carried this article in September 2012, as the truth became undeniable:

Hillsborough: the truth at last

Liverpool is a unique city in many ways. It is a city that is divided by football but also united by it. My family is like a lot of Scouse families: we’re split between the red and the blue halves of the city’s footballing divide. I’m a Liverpool supporter, so was my grandfather, my mum and one of my aunts who’d married a Kopite. The others, my uncles (one of whom played for Tranmere) and aunt, are/were Toffees.  You’d always find Blues and Reds at Prenton Park on Friday nights to watch Tranmere Rovers before going to their respective side’s matches the following day. What other city would you find supporters from rival sides getting on so well? Only in Liverpool. Hillsborough affected not just the city of Liverpool but the rest of Merseyside.

It was 1989 and I was in the final year of my undergraduate degree at Newcastle Poly. I’d gone to the Student Union bar with some of my friends with the intention of watching a cracking tie. Within minutes of the kick-off it was obvious that something wasn’t right, the camera had panned to the Leppings Lane stand and we could see people clambering over the bars at that end of the ground. After a lot of end-to-end action, police and officials appeared on the pitch and the match was stopped. Within minutes we got the news that people were being crushed to death. I started sobbing; it was uncontrolled sobbing. I told my mates that I could have been there. I could have been one of those supporters who’d been crushed. I felt the unfolding tragedy. I can still feel it today.

In the days that followed, stories emerged in the press that pointed the finger of blame, not at the police’s lack of crowd management skills, but at the fans. The Sun, as we know, was the worst of the lot, with its editor, Kelvin Mackenzie, standing by its front page splash.

Phil Pellow's photo.

Mackenzie was unrepentant. In the years following Hillsborough and the subsequent Taylor Report, he repeated his  version of the ‘truth’ on each and every occasion when he has been asked to retract his lies. To this day, no one on Merseyside buys The Sun. Mackenzie has apologized but it’s 23 years too late. We don’t want his apology. He can go to hell.

Today, the truth behind that tragic day has been revealed when documents were released which includes letters of complaint to the Press Council , the local press agency story from which The Sun’s ‘truth’ was derived (Tory MP Irvine Patnick was also a source), the coroner’s reports and the shocking revelations that 41 of the 96 victims could have survived and the 3.15pm inquest cut off point that sealed the fate of the unfortunates.

Thatcher also believed the lies told her by a senior office of the Merseyside Constabulary.  Many documents and CCTV footage have mysteriously disappeared leaving plenty of unanswered questions. What was Bernard Ingham’s role in all of this? As Thatcher’s press secretary, Ingham was a master practitioner of journalism’s dark arts. He accepted the police’s version of events and went on record as saying,

“You can’t get away from what you were told,” Ingham said. “We talked to a lot of people; I am not sure if it was the chief constable. That was the impression I gathered: there were a lot of tanked-up people outside.”

Ingham was asked about the Taylor report and said rather tellingly,

“I think the police are a very easy target.”

We now have the truth about what happened on 15 April, 1989. What we now need is for those responsible, and I include The Sun and Kelvin Mackenzie for their smear campaign, to face justice. The liar Patnick should also be stripped of his knighthood.

Then perhaps we can get some proper closure.

Justice for the 96!

Don’t buy The Sun!


  1. Steven Johnston said,

    Here is what I think will (sadly) happen, not one of the policeman who lied will be punished, censured, loss a penny of their pension or a nights sleep over this.
    So glad that the truth is out, people were saying this for years, why it took so long to finally prove it is a tragedy.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Steven, It is always easy to have a go at the polis but they should not have been there. The business that run this football ground are responsible and should have been paying for stewards. After the Ibrox disaster where I was in attendance I was not surprised that lessons on crowd control had not moved forward and indeed those fans at Hillsburgh were penned in like animals with solid metal railings so who was responsible for that! The answer is easy the fans were treated as animals.
      The profit makers that did not sell advance tickets to control the crowds will walk away from this and the old bill will be blamed entirely.
      There is old footage from a Rangers and Third Lanark game somewhere that took place late 50s where the corrugated iron fence collapsed under pressure. Many were hospitalised but the game went ahead. The fans were watching the game from the track such was the crowd. But it was only another Saturday.

  2. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    That’s a curious attitude for a socialist to take – a court has made a decision and that is ‘the confirmation of truth’ – like the conviction of the Birmingham 6, or that of Timothy Evans (who was hanged for the murders that were actually committed by John Christie)?

    Socialists don’t take a court as the decider of truth and indeed they acknowledge courts don’t even consider crime correctly – convicting some for non-crimes (in a reasonable person’s eyes) or not seeing a crime where others will. I’ve no reason to think Philip Green (BHS) has broken any laws.

    So whilst opportunities such as verdicts are (sometimes) a good opportunity to expose wrongdoing, they rarely get the truth out in such a multi-stranded event such as this e.g. a jury is not asked about the lies and cover-ups of the courts after the event and has nothing to say on the whole process which follows the usual UK state tactic of delaying any enquiry for decades (as per Bloody Sunday, Chilcot) in the hope that key people die or forget. The facts of this case have been widely publicised for many years.

  3. Matthew Thompson said,

    The verdict of the jury at the coroner’s court yesterday opens the way for a a manslaughter charge against the match commander on the day who ordered the exit gate to be opened, thus precipitating the fatal crush on the terraces, but surely the senior officers and Police Fed rep who organised the cover-up afterwards and lied at the original inquest should also, if they are still alive, be charged with perjury and/or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The officials at the FA and Sheffield City Council who licensed the ground for the match are not without blame either and they too should face legal proceedings.

  4. Boleyn Ali said,

    One can almost hear the creaking of the punch drunk buffoon’s addled, rusty thought processes as he sizes up what peculiar, contrarian position he is going to adopt and then dress in fake left clothing.

    Lets get this straight. This has been one of the most important and telling victories for ordinary people taking on the full power of the state and the wider establishment. It has, along the way, involved the quashing of erroneous decisions made elsewhere in the justice system. It has shared characteristics with the campaigns to free the Birmingham 6 and other miscarriages of justice and also the Steven Lawrence campaign. (It is unlikely, I think, that punchy would suggest that these cases did not eventually arrive at the “truth”).

    The SY Police, well known to socialists from the miners strike, backed by No 10 and, in particular, the Murdoch media, undertook a major conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. It was a cover up of major proportions of unlawful killing. It involved the continuous vilification of LFC fans and the support groups, vilification which was even believed by fellow football supporters, who should have known better. Over the years many others have joined in, especially the equally loathsome Boris Johnson and David Cameron. Furthermore in power the record of Labour, through the office of Jack Straw, was also disgraceful.

    27 years of tireless grass roots campaigning resulted in an unprecedented 2-year long, fresh inquest. This involved detailed consideration of all the evidence and the forensic cross examination of all key witnesses by some of the finest (socialist) lawyers in the land. Detailed verdicts, covering all possible contributory factors, were provided by a randomly selected jury. Nobody party to the proceeding has made any suggestion that this was not anything but a properly conducted tribunal.

    This delivered comprehensive justice for the 96, their families and those falsely accused of causing the deaths. Whilst perhaps not a day for celebration, it is certainly one for expressing massive respect to all those who contributed to the outcome.

    Punchy does not itemise the findings with regard to this “multi-stranded event” which he feels depart from “the truth”. It is also difficult to speculate what he would propose as an alternative procedure to establish it. His contribution here, once again, demonstrates the total vacuity of his and his ilk’s “socialism”; stupid, untimely, ill-informed and wooden positions all a million miles away from the real concerns of those tragically connected to this event.

  5. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    BA (BS?) displays his/her usual lack of being able to comprehend what is actually written.

    So a comment about why Lefts should not argue there is a general ability for courts to decide ‘facts’ is wrongly turned by BA into being supposedly a specific criticism of the Hillsborough legal process. It includes that ,but is also broader. There is fetishism of ‘courts providing justice’ in BA’s comments and in the main article that is not the practice of revolutionary socialists but is that of liberals and others.

    BA has an odd and naive understanding of the ‘truth’. Contrary to his/her assertion, I doubt that such has been arrived at in the Lawrence case. My guess is that currently convicted are some of Lawrence’s murderers, but possibly not all of them, and some convicted may only be such because of the law of joint enterprise (generally criticised by the ‘Left’ unless, in an unprincipled manner, they dislike those it condemns) and who may have done no more than be there when, unexpected by them, others in their party stabbed Lawrence (so maybe not a question of ‘truth’ here, but justice). I don’t know what happened but neither, I’m sure, does anyone – BA and courts included, outside a small handful of people who were there.

    And the multi-stranded issue is quite apparent – I don’t expect the lies, distortion, etc. that happened after the event to play a part in the full verdicts (rather than the proceedings). Although I can’t find the text of the full verdicts anywhere, I would guess that there will be nothing, for example, that says the words ‘the SY police lied’ (as they surely did) in the same way I’m sure no court will mark a judgement on the lies of the Sun on this matter.

    A process that took 27 years is a long way from being a “telling victor(y) for ordinary people taking on the full power of the state and the wider establishment” as this idiot claims.

  6. Boleyn Ali said,

    yeah it took 27 years that’s why, in part, it is so telling.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Can you imagine Wimbledon tennis terracing have steel barriers with sharp point keeping the plebs in. This was corporate manslaughter.

  7. Political Tourist said,

    Glasgow Bigot’s mask slips and all is revealed.
    Wondered were all that bile came from.
    Now we know.

  8. Sam Kincaide said,

    There is a lot of important stuff coming out of Hillsborough, the point I’m interested in is the link between S Yorkshire police, the Press and the Tories. I hesitate because I really don’t do or like the idea of conspiracies. It seems the police made a series of awful decisions which led to the deaths. In a matter of hours the cover up was underway and the vilification of the scousers began.

    There were no check and balances no countervailing force, everything clicked into place the press government and so on. Of course there have been cover ups prior to this mainly around police frame-ups Birmingham, Guildford etc, Hillsborough was different, surely made possible by the brining together of Government police and press under Thatcher i.e the separation of powers had been fractured, and of particular importance in this was Orgreave which gave the senior policemen in S Yorkshire the belief they could do what they liked i.e. they were above the law and it was this which provided the context in which Hillsborough took place it made the cover up possible

    This is not to say it was a conspiracy or that we have a deep state in the UK (which I think could be argued does exist in somewhere like Turkey) rather, as in so many other areas of life bourgeois norms have been degraded, by the rise of Neo-liberalism.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Good to see that git, Bernard Ingham silent over this. “I have nothing to say” he replied when door-stepped by the Mirror. Wot, he’s not going to still say it was all the fault of tanked up yobs.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      So it was all Thatchers fault? The trouble with that is that there had been terraces at football matches since the early 1900’s as for the fences, that is trickier, they started erecting them in grounds around 1976-77. Though I accept it accelarated after Thatcher came to power in 1979 but the two are not related. How could they be, Thatcher had never shown much interest in football.

      “as in so many other areas of life bourgeois norms have been degraded, by the rise of Neo-liberalism.”

      What this has to do with Hillsborough or what it even means is anyone’s guess.

  9. februarycallendar said,

    Douglas Hurd’s Macmillanite “aristocratic social conscience” might have made things a lot better here – as Home Secretary, he wanted the government to back unequivocally the stark condemnation of the police in Taylor’s interim report, which would have made the long-term cover-up effectively impossible to sustain. But Thatcher stood in his way …

    Poignant to see, in the Times in September 1989, a report that the 90s were going to be “the decade of fan power” next to the paper’s owner talking up his interest in TV sports rights (even if not yet football, at that point).

    This is from the Daily Mail of the Monday after Hillsborough, and is undoubtedly the best thing to have appeared in *that part* of the UK press in the immediate aftermath as well as, quite possibly, the best thing Keith Waterhouse wrote after his Faustian pact with the Harmsworths:

    After Black Saturday

    If I suggest that some good may come out of the deadly shambles that was Hillsborough, I am not thinking of such safety improvements as may be triggered off, or not, by those oft-repeated shibboleths, “Lessons must be learned”, “It must never happen again” and “these are all issues which have to be very closely examined”.

    Similar resolutions were made after Heysel and Bradford but what must never happen again has happened again – with the supposed safety improvements being a factor in the cause of the disaster.

    To most observers on the touchline of this tragedy it seems blazingly obvious that football is a spectator sport in the control of fools. In the fullness of time the inquires and inquests will doubtless couch this verdict in more seemly language. And there will be recommendations effectively suggesting that the fools might, with the benefit of hindsight, acquire a somewhat higher IQ.

    But the good that may come out of the disaster will not arise out of the implementation of belated recommendations. Good is not implemented. It implements itself. It did so at that abandoned FA Cup semi-final.

    Like many other by now shame-faced listeners, I would guess, my first reaction to the initial newsflash on the radio was a sigh of “Oh God, here we go, here we go, Liverpool again!” By the end of a long grim day I had regained a good deal of the respect for Liverpool in particular and soccer fans in general that had seeped away over the violence-bespattered years.

    Mismanagement, not misbehaviour, was to blame for Hillsborough. That much was quickly apparent. But more than that: we saw the fans in a new light – and it was the light of respect.

    We saw Liverpool supporters resourcefully acting as stretcher bearers for their stricken mates, quickly organising themselves into makeshift St John Ambulance teams and using advertisement placards to convey the injured. They didn’t learn that kind of initiative on their YOP schemes.

    We saw the taunts on the lips of Nottingham Forest fans as they realised this was no mere riot. As the dead were carried off they accorded their rivals the decency of silence.

    We saw Everton fans returning home jubilant from their semi-final triumph over Norwich, only to be shocked and subdued by the news and to put away their scarves and rosettes as a gesture of respect.

    We saw stunned Liverpool survivors who had lost friends or relatives returning to the ground clutching posies of flowers which they hung reverentially on the spiked railings.

    This was the eye-opener. They looked like soccer louts and they dressed like soccer louts and doubtless in less sombre circumstances there were those among them who would have behaved like soccer louts, yet they returned carrying not bottles and beer cans but flowers.

    The proposition that inside every soccer hooligan is a decent young man trying to get out may be too saccharine-sweet a pill for our present administration to swallow, and indeed it may be a wild overstatement. But Parliament, before leaping on Hillsborough as hill-sent support for the Football Spectators Bill, would do well to take pause and consider that these are human beings and not animals they are dealing with.

    The sole function of soccer identity cards, it seems to me, is to degrade and humiliate the fans even further than they are degraded and humiliated already by being prodded and herded into cattle pens. Had ID cards been required at Saturday’s semi-final their only use, in the opinion of the Liverpool doctor who took upon himself the duty of declaring the victims dead, would have been to identify the bodies. Otherwise they could have led to a crush outside the ground as terrible and fatal as the one within it.

    But I am not about to go into the ins and outs of identity cards, inadequate organisation, allocation of tickets, crowd control, cages, crush barriers, or the insensitivity of Football Association chairman Bert Millichip who, when asked whether the Cup Final would be cancelled, replied “Life does have to go on”. Not for the dead Liverpool fans, it doesn’t.

    No: I simply say that when these matters are weighed and considered, it must be in the realisation that all concerned with football safety, from the Government down, have gone badly wrong in regarding soccer fans as a species of sub-humans with a level of intelligence even lower than that of some soccer administrators.

    Received opinion, or anyway the received opinion of those who spend most of their waking hours dreaming up new and ever more futile schemes for curbing soccer violence, is that if the fans behave like animals then they must expect to be treated like animals. Yet when they are treated so much like animals that their lives are put in peril and many of their lives are lost, then they behave not like animals but like responsible human beings. There is a valuable lesson there. Will anyone in authority learn from it?

    At the risk of waxing sentimental I will stick my neck out and repeat myself. Inside every soccer lout there is a decent young man trying to get out. That is the good that may emerge from Hillsborough’s black Saturday.

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