The Hillsborough inquest verdict came through yesterday, and it completely vindicated what the families of those 96 dead have been saying for 27 years that their loved ones weren’t responsible for their deaths. In fact the authorities failed and then spent decades systematically covering up the facts so the idea that ticketless Liverpool fans rushed gates, or were drunk or were pushing others to their deaths (if you let a crowd into a confined space they’re going to push ahead, so that’s not the fault of the people, but those that didn’t read the situation properly) have been shot down in flames yet a cursory look at Twitter today reveals people still push these lies and frankly, offensive bullshit.
Throughout the decades the people of Liverpool and fans of Liverpool F.C took reams and reams of abuse and insults. In fact the lies started piling up quickly with that infamous Sun newspaper cover which today’s Metro scathingly parodies with brilliant effectiveness.
I wrote at the start of this inquest of how the 96 should be remembered, but now the truth has been exposed it’s hopefully a matter of time before people face criminal charges, but they’ll be people who’ll escape legal action who deserve to be remembered in their part in all this.
I hope I’m wrong but Kelvin McKenzie will probably avoid any legal action (some are talking of him being charged with perverting the course of justice and aiding in a cover up) but his role in the cover up and smearing of the living and dead should never be forgotten. The uncharacteristic silence from a man who talks shite in the same way the rest of us breathe is deafening, but I don’t imagine it’ll last long.
Then there’s Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s former press secretary who blamed the disaster on drunken Liverpool fans and didn’t mind telling people that. There’s Boris Johnson, who leaped upon the people of Liverpool in this column in the Spectator in 2004, that was partly written by Simon Heffer. I could mention Jack Straw who decided within five weeks of Labour coming to power in 1997 that there wasn’t a need for a new inquiry.
There’s also the thousands upon thousands of Keyboard Warriors who’ve bravely slandered the dead from the safety of anonymous user names on message boards and social media for most of this century. Most of all though it’s The Sun’s role in ensuring that the lie got embedded from the off that’s going to be remembered for as long as this story drags on. There’s many good reasons never to buy The Sun, but this is by far the biggest because it’s a matter of solidarity and well as hurting an organisation that contributed in making people’s lives hell for 27 years and slurring the names of the 96 dead fans.
A lot of people and organisations are going to be consulting lawyers today and they’ll be worried, even scared of their own future but I have no sympathy. If you played a part in helping this develop from a grotesque act of negligence to a criminal cover up then I hope you get your day in court.
I missed the verdict unfold live yesterday as I was going through my own personal drama but when I did eventually see the images from yesterday I was struck but the sheer sense of relief and the dignity of the families, who have been fighting this from generation to generation. Hopefully the fight ends with this generation and justice is finally served.