Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Explaining To Do

Peter Oborne, let the reader understand, writes:

This week’s coroner’s court verdict has exposed at last the dreadful role of the police — helped by some in the Press — in spreading lies about what really happened at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground. 

However, many questions still surround what Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has rightly called the greatest miscarriage of justice in our time.

These relate to the role of politicians. 

I am certain that the truth about Hillsborough would have been made public much sooner had it not been for a first-class political cover-up. 

This is a scandal which stretches right to the top of both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. 

The Thatcher government still ran Britain at the time of the tragedy in 1989. 

Did Margaret Thatcher and her ministers protect the police after 96 football fans were killed?

Did they intervene to restrict the terms of the Taylor Inquiry, set up in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy? 

What were the communications between the South Yorkshire Police and Downing Street? 

Did the government use its muscle and influence to shape the false narrative of events as it went to the media. 

The relevant Cabinet Office papers relating to all this have never been released to the public. 

This must happen urgently.

Mrs Thatcher had what amounted to a blood debt to the Yorkshire Police for their hugely supportive role in the miners’ strike five years earlier.

So Mrs Thatcher had every incentive to protect the force. She was always loyal to her allies. 

Don’t forget we got an inkling of her government’s attitude from her Press Secretary Bernard Ingham’s later remark that Liverpool fans were ‘tanked-up yobs’. 

There are equally serious questions to be asked about Tony Blair’s Labour government. 

In opposition, Tony Blair had promised that Labour would institute a full-scale inquiry.

However, he failed to do this after winning the 1997 General Election. 

Andy Burnham is on record as saying that Tony Blair did not order an inquiry because he did not want to offend Rupert Murdoch, whose Sun newspaper had accused ‘drunken’ Liverpool fans of attacking rescue workers. 

Can this really be true? 

Had Blair gone ahead and launched his inquiry, Liverpool fans would not have had to wait nearly two decades more to learn the truth. 

Had the Thatcher government done its job properly, they would not have had to wait at all. 

Both main political parties have a great deal of explaining to do.

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