Trending Topics

      Next match: Cardiff v LFC [Premier League] Sun 21st Apr @ 4:00 pm - Pre Match Topic
      Cardiff City Stadium

      Today is the 20th of April and on this date LFC's match record is P31 W17 D7 L7

      James Lawton: Fresh Hillsborough inquiry

      Read 1715 times
      0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
      Murph
      • Forum Neil Ruddock
      • **
      • Started Topic

      • 153 posts | 17 
      James Lawton: Fresh Hillsborough inquiry
      Feb 20, 2010 03:45:08 am
      James Lawton: Fresh Hillsborough inquiry can finally end a scandal greater than Terry's fall..

      Fabio Capello has had some important issues to thrash around the last few days, no question, but if we are talking about trouble-shooting football scandal management he might agree he has been operating on a rather lower rung than the Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool.


      Not in terms of exposure, of course not, but in the meaning of what he has been doing, in the potential scale of the righting of wrongs, unquestionably.

      The Bishop has agreed to head a panel that for the next year or so will pour over every piece of documentation available on the Hillsborough tragedy and the prayer must be that he has the energy and the will and the political fearlessness to do a forensic job. And that in the end he will do what has not been done by coroners, courts of law, home secretaries.

      He will, we can hope, say what Lord Taylor, the only truly independent adjudicator of the disaster, said so long ago, that the police operation was an outrage along with the fact that when the lives were lost the Hillsborough stadium was not in possession of a current safety certificate.

      He may also say that the time has finally come for some definitive statement on failings, individual and collective, that first allowed the tragedy to progress, then grievously impaired the effort to save lives.

      It is a huge and solemn assignment and its objective is poignantly defined by Trevor Hicks, who lost his daughters, Sarah and Vicky, in the Leppings Lane crush which claimed the lives of 96 innocent people 21 years ago. "We want to hear the whole story," he said. "We're still looking for answers."

      Some, with astonishing impertinence, have already suggested that Mr Hicks and his allies in the Hillsborough Family Support Group are in error, that it is long past the time when they should have drawn a line against all the pain and the grief that came with their loss. Unfortunately, they cannot. And then, when you think about it, who really could?

      Who could ever forget for a single day that a loved one had died needlessly, because of gross official incompetence, and in that terrible chasm left in your life there is not available even the smallest of consolations that might have been provided by something even hinting at apology?

      You cannot forget if you were simply at Hillsborough that day, untouched personally by the grim, inevitable accumulation of death but near demented by the idea that something disastrous had been put in motion and could not stop.

      You cannot forget the suspicion already forming that there would indeed be a cover-up when prime minister Margaret Thatcher arrived at the stadium the following day with flowers in her hands, and, it has to be said, platitudes on her lips.

      Move on, the Hillsborough families have been told so often. Yet they refuse to budge – and they should be honoured and not scorned, in some time-worn way, by those who refuse for one reason or another to recognise the scale of the injustice that will always lay like a stone on their hearts.

      You may strain to make the link between Hillsborough and the John Terry affair and at one level you are right. One is about something as fundamental as the need for recognition that those entrusted with the care of people are answerable when that duty is abandoned as shockingly as it was at Hillsborough. The other is a reflection of what happens when someone as crass as Terry abuses the privileges he has gained in a society where the dividing between right and wrong is not so much a matter of debate but a source of ridicule.

      In precisely a week though there has been some closure on the Terry business. He has paid a price for his misjudgements, a financial one of some weight when you measure the systematic attempt of his advisers to drag from it every commercial possibility.

      Twenty one years on, there is still no hint of closure in the matter of Hillsborough. Not in the vital matter of responsibility, of any acceptance that terrible mistakes, appalling negligence, made the tragedy and that someone should be answerable.

      The Terry affair offended some sensibilities. The one of Hillsborough took 96 lives and shattered what was left of many others. The testaments of those required to live out the rest of their lives under such a shadow vary only in the degree of the pain expressed and the details of their peculiar horrors.

      If Terry's behaviour was some kind of commentary on contemporary values, the refusal to acknowledge significantly the cry for justice over Hillsborough remains a direct and disturbing statement about the reluctance of official bodies to acknowledge honestly their own failures.

      Fabio Capello was required to deal with one example of human frailty and impose upon it a degree of logic and discipline.

      The Bishop of Liverpool must seek atonement for a catastrophe in a football ground that still holds up a mirror to the way our society is run. Capello acted with commendable swiftness.

      The Bishop has more time but, we have to hope, no less a sense of urgency. He will never, after all, be involved in a more important game.

      Quick Reply