The whole of England owes the people of Liverpool and all the campaigners for Justice For The 96 a massive debt of gratitude for spending the last 27 years demanding that the truth be recognised.
Nothing will ever make the hurt go away for the tragic loss of life on that cruel day in 1989 when horrific scenes scarred the depressingly ill-fated FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough.
Nothing will make that gutwrenching pain go away. But it would have been far worse if these heroic people who have refused to surrender their fight for justice never achieved today’s inquest verdict. For the jury to tell the families of the deceased that the behaviour of their loved ones did not cause or contribute to the tragedy was the only acceptable verdict.
Justice will only be complete when the punishments are served. Thank God that the deceased, along with their families and friends who survived at Hillsborough have had their names cleared. That justice is now complete as a consequence of today’s historic inquest conclusion.
What saddens me is that many of the guilty will go unpunished because it has taken so long for justice to be served. What pains me most of all is that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is one of the observers of this tragedy who has escaped more stringent examination.
As the Liverpool Echo reported in April 2013:
‘Mrs Thatcher did voice concern that a 1989 report into Hillsborough constituted a “devastating criticism” of police.
The comment came in a handwritten note in the margin of a civil servant’s memo informing her that the Home Secretary planned to welcome the broad thrust of Lord Taylor’s interim report on its publication in August 1989.
Mrs Thatcher had already been warned the interim report was “very damning” of police but attached “little or no blame” to Liverpool fans.’
The establishment media have held back from openly criticising Thatcher, who died three years ago this month, for her role in the cover-up. The cynical viewpoint would be that the establishment media do not want to discredit one of their own. And it is hard to argue against them because the media are who we rely on to expose the truth in such circumstances. And the truth is the media must share the blame for allowing the cover up to happen.
The shameful stand taken by The Sun will never ever be forgiven by the people of Merseyside and rightly so.
The newspaper’s former editor Kelvin MacKenzie claimed he “got caught up” in the Hillsborough cover-up when he signed off on the The Sun’s front page headline ‘The Truth’ in the wake of the 1989 disaster.
He ran a falsified story claiming some Liverpool fans urinated on police and had picked the pockets of the dead. Those claims were found to be entirely without foundation and the end product of a smear campaign to shift blame onto victims.
We now know the facts. But what about Thatcher? Was she not the head of the snake, the pyramid that orchestrated the cover up?
My view is that whatever stand you take on this she is guilty, either guilty of authorising the cover up or guilty of not stopping the cover-up. What is indisputable is this:
Thatcher was on a personal crusade to punish football supporters for the embarrassment of hooligasm that was a symptom of the civil discontent in Britain in the eighties.
Thatcher had access to all the evidence and either she personally authorised the cover up, which I have always believed was the truth, or she is guilty of not doing her job because it was her responsibilty to find out what happened. Either way she is guilty.