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      Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media

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      HUYTON RED
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      Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Aug 21, 2011 04:58:58 pm
      Two decades on from Hillsborough and Liverpool is still in the dark

      The stadium tragedy is part of the identity of both club and city, and it is time the government put the families' pain to rest

      Slide out of a taxi at Anfield and a figure will hand you a "Don't buy the Sun" leaflet while a familiar throng chats outside the Hillsborough Justice Campaign shop on Walton Breck Road. The disaster that cost 96 lives 22 years ago is so integral to the experience of attending a Liverpool match that the quest for the truth is part of the identity of the club.

      The campaign was always there and always will be, or so it feels, as the chip shops do their lively trade and fans gather at the Hillsborough memorial or examine Bill Shankly's statue ("He made the people happy"). But the people can't be happy – not fully – until the system extends to the families of the dead the simple right to see all of the documents relating to events in Sheffield on 15 April 1989, when Steven Gerrard's 10-year-old cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, was the youngest of the 96 who went to a football match and never came back.

      There is no let-up in the antipathy to the Sun over its coverage of the tragedy. Kelvin MacKenzie, the paper's editor at the time, was on Newsnight recently, pontificating about rioters. His inability to distinguish 22 years ago between a disaster and a so-called outbreak of criminality as people lay dying on the Hillsborough pitch would, in a more discerning society, disqualify him from comment on the recent disorder across Britain. But the current Sun continues to carry the stigma of those times on Merseyside, just as the families persist with their demand for full disclosure.

      The story so far is that an e-petition calling for previously hidden documents on Hillsborough to be released raced past 50,000 signatures this week and looks sure to acquire the 100,000 names needed to force the House of Commons backbench business committee to consider granting it time for debate.

      On Wednesday, the Cabinet Office said it would appeal against a ruling by Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, who had approved a freedom of information request from the BBC to see the papers. The e-petition took off after Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, tweeted: "Think it is very important that we support this." Since that moment, Joey Barton has interrupted his flow of Friedrich Nietzsche quotations to urge his 428,000 followers to sign online.

      The Commissioner argued that it would assist public understanding of the tragedy for the concealed documents to be released. But, in a statement, the government said: "The Cabinet Office absolutely agrees with the principle of providing information to families about the Hillsborough stadium disaster, but we believe it is important any release of information should be managed through the panel's processes and in line with their terms of reference."

      The panel referred to is the independent body set up by the previous Labour government to examine the archive and decide on publication. But the panel was not in existence in 2009 when the request for access was first made. The BBC says the records include "reports presented to Margaret Thatcher [the then prime minister], correspondence between her office and that of the home secretary, Douglas Hurd, and minutes of meetings she attended."

      For the neutral to find a position on this procedural wrangling, one has only to imagine how it must feel for the mother or father of a victim to be told, 22 years after the event, that they are not entitled to see words on pieces of paper that might release them from the torment of not knowing the full story of the defining day of their lives.

      Across Merseyside, people wake and go back to sleep with a sense of injustice that stems partly from the original coroner's inquest, which imposed a cut-off for the examination of evidence at 3.15pm, a source of anger, still, to those who believe the role of the emergency services and the full timescale of death should have been part of Dr Stefan Popper's report.

      In March, the Hillsborough panel said they would look at previously concealed documents. But you can see why the families object to the idea that a panel must decide what they can and cannot see. The system has piled years and years of additional needless cruelty on the Hillsborough families. The British obsession with secrecy and protection for those in power has stretched beyond all humane grounds the process of finding out, once and for all, what happened (and who was responsible) at an FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield more than two decades ago.

      To most of us, the obvious truth is that this pain and indignation will hang over Liverpool until the books are laid out. This shame-inducing suppression of evidence serves no moral purpose. Nor can the campaign be fobbed off, as every politician must know by now. Its spirit pervades every aspect of Liverpool football club, to the point where Rafa Benítez's last act as manager was to donate £96,000 to the campaign.

      The first e-petition to force a parliamentary debate called for convicted rioters to be deprived of state benefits. The state moves fast when it wants to punish and slowly when people want the truth.


      http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/aug/20/hillsborough-disaster-liverpool

      Slowly, but surely, we will get there.

      YNWA.
      « Last Edit: Sep 17, 2011 10:37:43 am by HUYTON RED »
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Excellent Piece From Paul Hayward in The Guardian
      Reply #1: Aug 21, 2011 05:18:30 pm
      And from Michael Calvin in The Sunday Mirror:

      How Everton fan Stephen Kelly is leading the fight for Justice for the 96 - and his brother

      Michael Kelly was a quiet man. He loved the lyricism of Lennon, the urban poetry of Dylan and Dalglish.

      Liverpool Football Club was his only hobby, his ­abiding passion.

      He worked nights in ­Bristol, as a warehouseman, and watched every game, home and away.

      He loved Anfield, the ­ritual of football, a couple of pints, and home cooking, in the family’s terraced house in Old Swan.

      Stephen, his younger brother, was a Blue. He often joked that “the only ­difference between us is the colour of our shirts”.

      His life changed, ­irrevocably, when he found Michael’s body in a cold church hall in Sheffield.

      His brother was the last of Hillsborough’s 96 victims to be identified. He was 38.

      Stephen now works, ­unpaid, helping survivors of the tragedy. You can find him in the Hillsborough Justice Campaign shop, opposite the Kop.

      He’s the one in an Everton shirt.

      This is his testimony. I hope it haunts the bureaucrats and politicians who, after 22 years, took the despicable decision to make the ­families wait for the truth, contained in Cabinet papers.

      “I will fight to my dying day for our Mike’s ­justice. I’m the last remaining ­family member.

      “My Mum and my sister passed away, not knowing the truth. I’m 58. I’ve had heart ­problems. I might not see it myself the way the ­Government is going

      “I want to go to my mum’s grave and tell her, ‘We won. Mike (below) was not a ­hooligan. He wasn’t drunk. He didn’t fight with the ­police or steal from the dead. He was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.’

      “That’s all I have to live for.

      “If I had the chance to meet the Prime Minister, I’d ask him to put us out of our ­misery. Please do it. We need to get our lives back. We need to move on. There’s been so much ­silent suffering.

      “There are so many people walking around, with a great weight on their ­shoulders. They have suicidal ideas, dark thoughts. We have an open-door policy. Some come in, have a cup of tea, and ­unburden themselves.

      “It’s like opening the sluice gates. We can tell ourselves home truths.

      “I was the same as them.

      “Every time I hear the word Hillsborough – or see Kenny Dalglish on the telly – I think of Mike. I sometimes drive to the memorial just to touch his name.

      “I’ve spent more than a third of my life struggling to come to terms with Hillsborough, but I still feel guilty.

      “I woke at 6am today and the first word I heard, when I turned on the radio, was Hillsborough. It sent me into a downer. It’s the ­unexpected victims who ­affect you the most deeply. No one knew what Stephen Whittle [who killed himself over guilt at selling his Hillsborough ticket to a friend who died in the tragedy] was going through. I feel guilty we weren’t there to help ­before he took his own life. People have been worn down.

      “They’ve lost jobs, ­marriages, families. At the time of the disaster, I was a taxi driver. I was driving around in a trance. People flagged me down – and I was driving past them.

      “I was lucky. I retrained with the help of Social Services. We want no applause, but we can at least get people the right sort of support.

      “To be honest, I’m worried what will happen when the papers are ­eventually ­released. I might receive some ­information about my brother that will tip me over the edge. There are ­hundreds of ­people – parents, brothers, sisters, grandchildren – in the same situation.

      “The stress is enormous.

      “We are not bad people in Liverpool. People made ­mistakes that day. Human ­beings make mistakes.

      “If the truth had come out earlier, perhaps we would have forgiven... but we will never forget.”

      Nor should we.


      http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/michael-calvin/Michael-Calvin-Hillsborough-Justice-for-the-96-Liverpool-Everton-Michael-Kelly-article788091.html
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Excellent Piece From Paul Hayward in The Guardian
      Reply #2: Sep 06, 2011 04:28:45 pm
      A piece by James Lawton in the Independent today:

      James Lawton: Will anyone ever have the conscience to apologise for what happened at Hillsborough?

      It is not a tidal wave because what is provoking it happened 22 years ago and, however monstrous an outrage, the business of day-by-day living inevitably dissipates even the hardest of pain and anger.

      Yet if all those from Prime Minister-level down who have been seeking to cover up the true cause of disaster all these years, who have bombarded the grieving with evasions and bromides and – as in the case of a letter from the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire to this newspaper yesterday – non sequiturs, haven't known it before, surely they do now.

      Hillsborough is not going to go away. It is not destined to subside beneath the weight of government stalling or still another round of police doubletalk.

      More than the required 100,000 have now petitioned for a parliamentary debate and who can say it is not the least that is due to the 96 innocent people who died in April 1989?

      Probably not Meredydd Hughes, head of the police force in which not one member has been required to atone in any way other than vapid, non-incriminating regret, for the command inexperience and incompetence which turned a football ground into a killing field. He urges us to wait patiently for the outcome of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

      He also explains that his decision two years ago to release police archives containing their version of affairs was provoked by the kind of issues raised by two other items of reader correspondence in The Independent over the last few days.

      One was from the father of a victim who was sent from the temporary mortuary, where his dead son lay, on a search of neighbouring hospitals. The other was from someone who, having experienced with his alarmed wife and her friend unruly scenes outside the ground, and some rocking of the bus in which they sat, wondered whether "it is time the mob outside the ground took at least some of the blame for subsequent events."

      If you happened to be at Hillsborough that evil day, if you saw how inevitable the tragedy became, if you saw groups of unengaged police officers talking among themselves as behind them a fearful crush built at the gates of the Leppings Lane entrance, if you had been told, as matter of unremarkable fact, that the only safe way to enter the ground was to walk around to the other end, and if you eventually sat down overwhelmed by the powerless conviction that people were certain to die, this last distortion of reality is a freshly revived horror.

      This is especially so if you were able to walk on to the field and see the desperate, untutored rescue attempts of those who would later be accused of stealing from and urinating on the dead.

      No one has ever said that there wasn't some rough behaviour by some Liverpool fans – but then no one who was there, and had eyes unveiled by vested interest, has ever begun to believe that the tragedy would not have been averted if those entrusted with the care of the people had done their jobs properly.

      That, when you get right down to it, is the central conclusion of the Taylor report, which also noted that the end of Hillsborough where the tragedy occurred did not carry a safety certificate for the very good reason that it was so evidently a death trap waiting to be sprung.

      One of the phrases you hear most often is that, with the enforcement of safety recommendations made by Lord Taylor, "no useful purpose" would be served by the most probing of inquiries.

      A similar argument is advanced for the Cabinet Office appeal against public revelation of reports presented to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, correspondence between her office and that of Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, and the minutes of the meetings she attended.

      There is, though, a useful purpose. It is one of a proper accounting of an affair that goes to the very heart of social responsibility. Certainly, it was guaranteed to shatter a belief in decency not only in the relatives and friends of the victims but anyone who was there to witness it and who consequently did not have to rely on the poisonously confected versions that should still shame all those who inspired them and bought them and prosecuted them as if they held any semblance of the truth.

      Mrs Thatcher arrived at Hillsborough the following morning, bearing flowers and platitudes and, yes, it is right that we know, the reality that may or not have been the basis of her public pronouncements.

      The chief constable also said: "I strongly urge commentators to await the work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. Under the leadership of Bishop James of Liverpool, I am confident it will set the documents in a perspective that is helpful to understanding events, and in a manner that respects the victims."

      This is not a matter of commentary but witness. If it is evident enough, you do not interpret what is truth and what is a lie. You see it and you know it, in your mind and in your guts, and if the consequences were as grave as they were at Hillsborough it is going to take a lot longer than 22 years to forget.

      If you want someone to explain a scripture or an aspect of moral or canon law, no doubt the Bishop of Liverpool is the man. But not on Hillsborough, not if you were there, not if you saw how many people were so carelessly sent to their deaths – and especially not if you still have to wonder if anyone will ever have either the nerve or the conscience to say sorry.


      http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/james-lawton-will-anyone-ever-have-the-conscience-to-apologise-for-what-happened-at-hillsborough-2349829.html

      lupus_hegemonia
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      Re: Excellent Piece From Paul Hayward in The Guardian
      Reply #3: Sep 06, 2011 04:54:53 pm
      Well said...
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #4: Sep 17, 2011 10:40:24 am
      And From Brian Reade in The Mirror today:

      Why Tory Hillsborough documents must be released before Thatcher dies

      I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve heard these past 22 years ask why the Hillsborough Families won’t let it lie.

      Move on, you can’t bring back your loved ones, so let it go, they say.

      I heard it again this week after a 140,00-strong petition compelled parliament to debate whether documents relating to Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the 1989 disaster should be released uncensored.

      “What good will it do?” someone asked me. I’d like to explain.

      A few years ago I asked Trevor Hicks if he thought he’d ever establish the truth about why he lost his two beautiful teenage daughters that day.

      He told me he already had. He was in no doubt that they died through police incompetence, inadequate safety procedures, a non-existant emergency service response and a culture that had allowed society to view all football fans as dangerous scum and stick them in metal cages.

      He sought another truth. Why the Establishment had wriggled out of all blame, smeared the fans as killers, lied about their actions and refused to take any responsibility for the deaths, thus denying the deceased justice and the bereaved closure.

      And he said if he could be granted one wish before he died it would be to find out what was said between Margaret Thatcher and police chiefs when she visited the Leppings Lane terrace the day after the disaster.

      Because someone in high places had told him that Thatcher decided it was imperative that the police were exonerated. That the consequences for a force she treated almost as her private army, would be immense if (as Lord Justice Taylor’s report later demanded) they took the rap for 96 deaths in their care.

      And so the cover-up began with her press adviser Bernard Ingham briefing the media that the disaster had been caused by a “tanked-up mob”.

      Three days later the Thatcher-supporting Sun’s infamous front-page about fans urinating on the dead and stealing from their pockets appeared after collusion between the Police Federation and a Tory MP. The story went round the world that drunken fans killed their own. And the truth was buried.

      So for Trevor Hicks, the Thatcher documents, which constitute the minutes from that Sheffield meeting and other correspondence with her ministers, could be the smoking gun that proves a conspiracy which went right to the top of the Tory government.

      Which is why it’s no surprise that the current one is fighting to stop those secret papers being made public despite the Information Commissioner demanding it be done.

      If, as the families suspect, the Tories have something to hide, we need to find out what it is. Which is why MPs will demand next month that every document relating to Thatcher’s role be released in an “unrestricted, uncensored and unredacted” form.

      If they win the day it won’t just be a great day for the 96 but for football. Because hers was the government that caged fans, that thought about bringing in electric fences, moats and ID cards and would willingly have killed the game.

      If they win I don’t care whether the documents go straight into the public domain or to the independent Hillsborough panel. As someone lucky enough to survive that day though, I do have one wish. That if those papers contain the smoking gun, the trigger is pulled in public before Thatcher dies.

      Because I’ve waited a long time to see that bullet fly.


      http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/brian-reade/Brian-Reade-column-Why-Margaret-Thatcher-s-secret-Hillsborough-documents-must-be-released-before-Tory-leader-dies-article800222.html#ixzz1Y9g5f600

      And yet on these very boards we've had dickheads claiming to be Liverpool fans bigging the f**king tories up.

      Hope you're still feeling proud of voting for those tw*ts.
      Gow
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #5: Sep 17, 2011 12:30:56 pm
      Excellent piece. Thanks for posting.

      JFT96
      stuey
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #6: Sep 17, 2011 12:38:52 pm
      Brilliant piece of journalism, thanks for posting mate, nail on the head stuff.

                       JFT96
      whyohwhyohwhy
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #7: Sep 18, 2011 12:47:30 am
      Thank you HR for posting these articles.  So close yet still so far.  Wouldn't surprise me if the government are desperately holding back until the f**king witch plops her clogs.

      JFT96
      stuey
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #8: Sep 18, 2011 09:03:52 am
      Thank you HR for posting these articles.  So close yet still so far.  Wouldn't surprise me if the government are desperately holding back until the f**king witch plops her clogs.

      JFT96
      I think the prerogative is saving their own arses Lyn. It's the house of cards effect - if they let the witch Thatcher face her accusers and there would only be one verdict, the repurcussions would affect the foundations of the party.
      Thatcher is still regarded as a shining light of Conservatism and held in high esteem by the fathers of the party although few would admit to it publicly, however the burgeoning ultra right policies of the laughingly called coalition are proof of her followers existence. They wish to expound her lost in time policies and set the man in the street back 100 years.
      « Last Edit: Sep 18, 2011 04:15:25 pm by stuey »
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #9: Sep 20, 2011 01:46:53 pm
      Apparently Brian Percival from Downton Abbey won an emmy and mentioned the justice campaign.

      Official Hillsborough Justice Campaign:

      The families and survivors of the HJC would like to note their appreciation of the gesture made by Brian Percival during his acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards.

      Brian was extremely generous to use an occasion designed to honour his work to highlight the need for justice for Hillsborough families. We would like to thank Brian, and also congratulate him on the well-deserved awards for Downton Abbey.

      Kenny Derbyshire (Chair)


      Liverpool FC fan and Downton Abbey director Brian Percival dedicates Emmy Award to 96 Hillsborough victims and their families

      THE MERSEYSIDE director of the Emmy Award-wining Downton Abbey has dedicated the prize to the memory of the 96 Liverpool FC fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

      Brian Percival spoke to the ECHO from Los Angeles following the Emmy Awards, where the period drama scooped four gongs, including one for outstanding directing in a mini-series.

      The popular drama, which began its second series on Sunday night, follows the fortunes of life in an English country house during World War I, and the impact of the horror on everyone, from the aristocrats to the servants.

      Mr Percival, whose other TV credits include The Ruby in the Smoke and The Old Curiosity Shop, said: “I wanted to dedicate the award because any publicity for that cause and anything that gets these families justice has got to be a good thing.

      “I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life. I go to as many home games as I can and it is a big part of my life.

      “It’s something I feel really strong about. It seemed like an opportunity to try to help in a tiny way. It is something so close to our lives, as it is to other supporters of the club and to anybody from Liverpool.

      “I remember I went to lay some flowers after the disaster and there were two women there at the time. One of the women handed me a flower.

      “There was a real sense of kindness throughout the city and that feeling stayed with me.

      “I just hope something happens soon with the campaign to win justice for the 96 Hillsborough victims.”

      Downton Abbey also won the award for best mini-series, veteran British star Dame Maggie Smith won the award for best supporting actress in a mini-series, and writer Julian Fellowes took the award for best writing in a mini-series.

      The show, which also airs on American television, has earned rave reviews and been a rating winner.

      Garston-born Mr Percival, who attended New Heys Comprehensive in Allerton and in 2009 made his first feature film A Boy Called Dad, said Downton Abbey is his most successful achievement to date.

      The director, who lives in Meols, Wirral, with comedy writer wife Julie Rutterford, said: “I’ve won three Baftas and have been successful in the UK, but Downton is the most successful worldwide.

      “Americans adore it. It was sold to 200 countries. It is turning into a worldwide phenomenon. Downton has been such a huge hit, it’s really nice. It was my first time in LA and I was taken aback by the whole thing.

      “It was quite surreal standing in front of 4,000 people on the night. And the Emmy Awards were televised all over America and most of the world. It’s been great.”

      The star-studded award ceremony on Sunday was a triumphant night for Brits in Hollywood, with Kate Winslet scooping a best actress prize for her role in Mildrid Pierce.

      Mr Percival’s gesture has pleased families of the Hillsborough victims.

      Margaret Aspinall, of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “What a lovely thing to do, we’re all delighted.

      “It just shows that after all these years people are still thinking about what happened there and want to tell the world not ever to forget about the tragedy.

      “I’m a big fan of the show too, I think it’s marvellous.”


      http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2011/09/20/liverpool-fc-fan-and-downton-abbey-director-brian-percival-dedicates-emmy-award-to-96-hillsborough-victims-and-their-families-100252-29452434/#ixzz1YUFzWgGv
      « Last Edit: Sep 20, 2011 01:56:03 pm by HUYTON RED »
      what-a-hit-son
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #10: Sep 20, 2011 07:59:59 pm
      Apparently Brian Percival from Downton Abbey won an emmy and mentioned the justice campaign.

      Official Hillsborough Justice Campaign:

      The families and survivors of the HJC would like to note their appreciation of the gesture made by Brian Percival during his acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards.

      Brian was extremely generous to use an occasion designed to honour his work to highlight the need for justice for Hillsborough families. We would like to thank Brian, and also congratulate him on the well-deserved awards for Downton Abbey.

      Kenny Derbyshire (Chair)


      Liverpool FC fan and Downton Abbey director Brian Percival dedicates Emmy Award to 96 Hillsborough victims and their families

      THE MERSEYSIDE director of the Emmy Award-wining Downton Abbey has dedicated the prize to the memory of the 96 Liverpool FC fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

      Brian Percival spoke to the ECHO from Los Angeles following the Emmy Awards, where the period drama scooped four gongs, including one for outstanding directing in a mini-series.

      The popular drama, which began its second series on Sunday night, follows the fortunes of life in an English country house during World War I, and the impact of the horror on everyone, from the aristocrats to the servants.

      Mr Percival, whose other TV credits include The Ruby in the Smoke and The Old Curiosity Shop, said: “I wanted to dedicate the award because any publicity for that cause and anything that gets these families justice has got to be a good thing.

      “I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life. I go to as many home games as I can and it is a big part of my life.

      “It’s something I feel really strong about. It seemed like an opportunity to try to help in a tiny way. It is something so close to our lives, as it is to other supporters of the club and to anybody from Liverpool.

      “I remember I went to lay some flowers after the disaster and there were two women there at the time. One of the women handed me a flower.

      “There was a real sense of kindness throughout the city and that feeling stayed with me.

      “I just hope something happens soon with the campaign to win justice for the 96 Hillsborough victims.”

      Downton Abbey also won the award for best mini-series, veteran British star Dame Maggie Smith won the award for best supporting actress in a mini-series, and writer Julian Fellowes took the award for best writing in a mini-series.

      The show, which also airs on American television, has earned rave reviews and been a rating winner.

      Garston-born Mr Percival, who attended New Heys Comprehensive in Allerton and in 2009 made his first feature film A Boy Called Dad, said Downton Abbey is his most successful achievement to date.

      The director, who lives in Meols, Wirral, with comedy writer wife Julie Rutterford, said: “I’ve won three Baftas and have been successful in the UK, but Downton is the most successful worldwide.

      “Americans adore it. It was sold to 200 countries. It is turning into a worldwide phenomenon. Downton has been such a huge hit, it’s really nice. It was my first time in LA and I was taken aback by the whole thing.

      “It was quite surreal standing in front of 4,000 people on the night. And the Emmy Awards were televised all over America and most of the world. It’s been great.”

      The star-studded award ceremony on Sunday was a triumphant night for Brits in Hollywood, with Kate Winslet scooping a best actress prize for her role in Mildrid Pierce.

      Mr Percival’s gesture has pleased families of the Hillsborough victims.

      Margaret Aspinall, of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “What a lovely thing to do, we’re all delighted.

      “It just shows that after all these years people are still thinking about what happened there and want to tell the world not ever to forget about the tragedy.

      “I’m a big fan of the show too, I think it’s marvellous.”


      http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2011/09/20/liverpool-fc-fan-and-downton-abbey-director-brian-percival-dedicates-emmy-award-to-96-hillsborough-victims-and-their-families-100252-29452434/#ixzz1YUFzWgGv

      Read that meself in tonight's Echo HR.

      Great bit of publicity for the campaign.
      danny8t4
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #11: Sep 20, 2011 08:45:42 pm
      I have great respect for those that don't forget about Hillsborough in a time when they have become successful in their field.

      He has just won an award for his programme yet chooses to mention the fallen 96 when he could of so easily just embraced in his own glory.
      stuey
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #12: Sep 21, 2011 12:59:00 pm
      I have great respect for those that don't forget about Hillsborough in a time when they have become successful in their field.

      He has just won an award for his programme yet chooses to mention the fallen 96 when he could of so easily just embraced in his own glory.
      The Mersyside born director of the Emmy award winning Downton Abbey has dedicated the prize to the memory of the 96.
      Brian Percival said on receiving the award "I wanted to dedicate the award because any publicity for that cause and anything that can bring thoe families justice has got to be a good thing. I have been an LFC supporter all my life and go to as many games as I can, it has always been a big part of my life.
      I remember I went to lay some flowers after the disaster and there were two women there  at the time. One of the women handed me a flower.
      There was a real sense of kindness throughout the city and that feeling stayed with me".
      what-a-hit-son
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      • @MrPrice1979
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #13: Apr 15, 2012 07:41:28 pm
      Bit dusty in here ay.

      Bump!

      HILLSBOROUGH: STILL WAITING FOR THE TRUTH

      by Gareth Roberts // 15 April 2012 //

      TWENTY THREE years. Or 8,401 days. Or 201, 624 hours.
       
      Whatever way you look at it, it’s a heck of a long time to go without the truth about why a loved one needlessly died.
       
      A son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, a dad, a grandad. Cruelly snatched away by a preventable crime. Because that’s what Hillsborough was. A crime.
       
      A crime for which now, more than two decades on, nobody has been made to pay for. No-one’s even said sorry.
       
      Lord Justice Taylor blamed police for the loss of 96 lives. But no policeman has ever lost his job because of it. No policeman has been prosecuted. Some policeman have been compensated for Hillsborough.
       
      One officer on duty that day is believed to have been awarded £330,000 for post-traumatic stress. Phil Hammond, who lost his son Philip, 14, at Hillsborough received £3,500 compensation for his death.
       
      How can that be right? How can that be justified? And how can the families, as so many of the ignorant suggest, ‘Just leave it’?
       
      It was the police that allocated the smaller end of Hillsborough to Liverpool. It was the police who put Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield in charge of his first major match. It was Duckenfield that gave the signal to open Gate C, allowing 2,000 fans to flood into areas already desperately overcrowded without stewards to guide them to less-populated side pens of the Leppings Lane end.
       
      It was the police that ignored cries for help from dying fans. It was the police that battered down supporters that tried to climb the perimeter fence. It was the police that watched from the control room, showing criminal inaction as the tragedy unfolded on CCTV cameras. It was police that later claimed that CCTV on Leppings Lane was out of order. The ground engineer later swore an affidavit that police had been lying when they told the inquest they couldn’t see the extent of the crush from the control box.
       
      It was the police that claimed CCTV tapes from the day were “stolen” and it was the police who have never explained how that crime could take place on the day of a disaster of the magnitude of Hillsborough in a locked and alarmed control room.
       
      It was the police whose indecision meant perimeter gates remained locked as fans lost their lives. It was the police that moved in with dogs when a gate was forced open and fans spilled on to the pitch, gasping for air. Liverpool supporters paid a heavy price for the Establishment culture which labelled football fans as hooligans.
       
      Gates were finally opened at 3.06pm when a policeman signalled the match should be stopped. But it was police who prevented 44 ambulances from helping dying and injured fans.
       
      “You can’t go on the pitch, they’re still fighting,” the police told Tony Edwards, the only professional ambulance attendant to reach the Leppings Lane end.
       
      Edwards was never interviewed by the Taylor inquiry – his ambulance never existed as far as the investigation was concerned. It was the police that engineered a smear campaign against supporters.
       
      “Black propaganda,” Liverpool MP Maria Eagle called it. Police quizzed survivors as to how much they had drunk and whether they had tickets. Even corpses were tested for alcohol levels. The police have never explained why they thought people having a drink, or trying to buy a ticket outside a football match, was a new phenomenon. It happened then, it happens now.
       
      It was the police – Duckenfield to be exact – who minutes after the disaster lied as he told FA chief executive Graham Kelly that supporters had forced Gate C open. So began a smear campaign that has hindered the fight for justice and still taints perception of the disaster to this day.
       
      The Sun is boycotted to this day in Liverpool after the cretinous decision by then editor Kelvin Mackenzie to run disgusting lies about Liverpool fans on the front page:
       
      “The Truth; some fans picked pockets of victims; some fans urinated on the brave cops; some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.”
       
      Mackenzie still defends his decision. In 2006, he said: “I was not sorry then and I’m not sorry now. All I did wrong there was tell the truth.”
       
      His source? The police.
       
      It wasn’t just The Sun, either. The police spread its lies far and wide. Across the country, lies were being manifested into the national conscience.
       
      The Sheffield Star reported: “Many supporters were still propping up the bars at 2.30pm. They raced to the stadium arriving at the Leppings Lane end at the height of the crush. Some of them were the worse for drink; others without tickets were hoping to sneak in.”
       
      The Evening Standard wrote: “How long will it take for it publicly to be acknowledged that fans themselves share the blame? The catastrophe was caused first and foremost by violent enthusiasm for soccer, in this case the tribal passions of Liverpool supporters. They literally killed themselves and others to be at the game.”
       
      The smear campaign gathered momentum.
       
      Jacques Georges, President of UEFA, jumped on board: “One had the impression that they were beasts waiting to charge into the arena.”
       
      The view of the then Tory government was also clear. The day after the disaster, Margaret Thatcher went to Hillsborough, and was briefed by police. Thatcher’s press secretary, Bernard Ingham, said he “learned on the day” that the deaths were caused by a “tanked up mob” of Liverpool fans.
       
      Lord Justice Taylor saw through it all. He blamed the police.
       
      In his official report he said the principal cause of the disaster had been the police’s “blunder of the first magnitude” to open an exit gate without directing fans away from overcrowded central “pens.”
       
      Lord Taylor also highlighted the police’s planning failure which allowed “dangerous congestion at the turnstiles”. He hit out at the police’s “sluggish reaction and response when the crush occurred” and on Duckenfield’s lies said: “He could not face the enormity of [his own] decision to open the gates and all that flowed there from.”
       
      Taylor recognised that from moment there was a concerted effort to blacken the reputation of fans.
       
      The defaming of supporters has helped to hide the truth. Families and supporters alike have since faced a dual battle – to defend their name and fight for justice.
       
      No evidence to back up the succession of police lies has ever emerged – no pictures, no witness accounts, no video footage. That hasn’t stopped people believing it, either through ignorance or bigotry towards Liverpool – the people, the city, the club.
       
      The inquests, held before a Sheffield jury, and a coroner who was in the pay of Sheffield Council, delivered verdicts of accidental death.
       
      The coroner had imposed a 3.15pm cut- off time, claiming that every victim would have been brain-dead by then and ruling out any evidence relating to events after it.
       
      That let the emergency services off the hook, making it that much harder to prove there had been criminal neglect.
       
      All charges against the police were thrown out on grounds of insufficient evidence. No senior officer was prosecuted and a disciplinary case against Duckenfield was stopped when he took early retirement at 46 on medical grounds, with a full pension.
       
      In 1997 Home Secretary Jack Straw appointed Lord Justice Stuart- Smith to look at new evidence to see if it merited a fresh public inquiry.
       
      When there was a delay at the start of proceedings, due to the absence of some family members, Stuart-Smith turned to Phil Hammond and said: ” Are they like the Liverpool fans, turning up at the last minute?”
       
      The Lord Justice discovered that 183 police statements had been edited to remove criticism of senior police management. But staggeringly he ruled there was not enough evidence to merit a fresh inquiry.
       
      The families took out private prosecutions against Duckenfield and his deputy on the day, Supt Bernard Murray. They went on trial charged with manslaughter and wilful neglect of duty.
       
      Murray was cleared of all charges and when the jury failed to reach a verdict on Duckenfield the judge halted the trial, cleared him, and ruled there could be no retrial.
       
      At the 20th anniversary memorial service at Anfield, Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose 18-year-old son, James, died in the disaster, said: “All the families have ever wanted is the full truth, and an acknowledgement by those responsible.”
       
      They are still waiting.
       
      http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/2012/04/hillsborough-still-waiting-for-the-truth/



      what-a-hit-son
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      • @MrPrice1979
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #14: Apr 15, 2012 08:04:35 pm

      Great piece this from somebody who was there.

      Hillsborough. Memories of 23 years ago.


      by TheAnfieldWrap // 15 April 2012 // 2 Comments

       
      By Simon Ellis-Jones
       Producer, World Football Focus, BBC Sport
       
      HILLSBOROUGH. The word is tough to write, even harder to say out loud.
       
      Twenty-three years have passed since that day.
       
      A huge number of football fans going to games this week will not even have been born when the 1989 FA Cup semi-final ended in tragedy.
       
      Yet for some, that sunny April day has never ended.
       
      I am one of the lucky ones. On April 15, 1989, I was a 17-year-old with a severe dose of tonsillitis.
       
      So bad that my mum told me I couldn’t go to the match.
       
      Within 20 minutes I had swapped my terrace ticket for a seat in the stands. Mum, happy I wouldn’t be on my feet for 90 minutes, relented.
       
      Dad drove, me and three mates sat in the van.
       
      We got stuck in traffic somewhere near Glossop. The A57 Snake Pass was busier than we expected and the journey from L47 to S6 took almost three hours.
       
      We were not drunk. We were not ticketless. We did not rush the gate.
       
      Yet we walked into that stadium 20 minutes or so before kick-off without having to take our tickets from our pockets.
       
      We walked through a gate opened by South Yorkshire police officers. A gate, it would later be falsely claimed, had been forced open by ticketless fans.
       
      Once inside the ground the terrace appeared to be accessible only via a narrow tunnel.
       
      I could have gone with the others down that tunnel, I could have disobeyed Mum.
       
      From my seat in the stand I had a great view. Fifteen minutes later I was on the pitch. It was not a pitch invasion.
       
      I had little idea what was happening. The shouts and screams told me it was bad.
       
      Fans, using advertising hordings as stretchers, were making repeat trips to one corner of the ground, by the Kop.
       
      I do not remember seeing bodies, just clothes. The pitch was covered. I remember asking myself: “Why would anyone not know they had lost a shoe?”
       
      At the same time my Dad was lying prostrate on the section of terrace next to pens three and four.
       
      He had been crushed so badly his heart had developed an irregular beat. He would later need some serious medical attention.
       
      His life had been saved by a crash barrier buckling, the pressure relieved just in time.
       
      Those lying beneath him were not so lucky. And they were the memories that would haunt him as he waited 11 years for his compensation claim to be heard.
       
      He was lifted over the carnage to safety by other fans. Untrained, blindly doing what they could to save lives. As the police looked on.
       
      Dad managed to get out of the stadium, praying, he later told me, he would see me and the lads standing at the agreed meeting point.
       
      We were all there. Dad went to a local shop to find a phone. Mum must have been worried.
       
      He found a bike shop. At one end was a queue of about six fans, waiting patiently as the shop assistant asked each one in turn for a phone number, which he would dial for them.
       
      Next to Dad was the shop owner, demonstrating a bike to a grandmother. Sirens wailed outside. “I’m not sure she’ll like that shade of green,” Dad remembers her saying.
       
      It is only when you actually sit down to begin a piece like this that the sheer ludicrousness of the Hillsborough aftermath becomes apparent.
       
      Imagine making an error at work, a mistake of such monumental incompetence it set in motion a chain of events which resulted in someone’s death.
       
      During the subsequent investigation you lie about your decision-making, you deflect blame onto the victim and leak misleading information to the press.
       
      But you are caught out. An official inquiry blames you and those in your charge for the tragic accident. You were out of your depth, it says.
       
      Yet there is no punishment.
       
      This is what happened 23 years ago. But it was 96 times more serious.
       
      The reason for the Hillsborough disaster was the “failure of police control”, concluded Lord Justice Taylor.
       
      And so it is nothing short of astonishing that 23 years on, not a single person has been convicted of any criminal offence for the part they played in the deaths of so many innocents.
       
      The Taylor Report which followed Hillsborough had an immense impact on British football.
       
      It was most obvious in the total transformation of British stadia. Terraces disappeared within five seasons and new safety practices put in place.
       
      Thankfully Taylor also recommended the proposed ID card system for fans be scrapped. Imagine the chaos if every fan had to produce identification at the turnstile.
       
      While some lag behind – the disaster at an Ivory Coast stadium in 2009 reminded us of that – British football fans have never had it so good.
       
      New stadiums. Comfortable seats, café lattes and paninis. Even the police are more relaxed.
       
      But never forget, there was a price to pay for your 21st century viewing.
       
      And it could have been you.
       
       
       
      @simonellisjones

      http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/2012/04/hillsborough-memories-of-23-years-ago/
      what-a-hit-son
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      • @MrPrice1979
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #15: Sep 12, 2012 05:05:45 pm
      Apologies if posted and apologies for only putting the link up, I am on the phone in the pub.

      I'll do it properly later but have a read.

      What a piece this is:

      http://www.fleetstreetfox.com/2012/09/hooligan-n-rough-lawless-person.html?m=1

      soxfan
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #16: Sep 12, 2012 07:21:50 pm
      Finally, closure for Hillsborough injustice
      By Gabriele Marcotti , ESPN

      "If it bleeds, it leads" isn't just an editorial mantra. It's how the media often deals with foreign news. You get a big hit, ideally with pictures, on day one and some instant reaction on day two. What happens over the ensuing months -- the inquiries, the understanding of the "how and why," the victims and families getting on with their lives -- is much less of a story the further away you are.

      For the past 23 years, even as campaigners in England carried on their struggle for justice in the Hillsborough tragedy, reminding everyone that what had been peddled by some as the truth -- that drunk, ticketless Liverpool fans had caused the deaths by forcing their way into the stadium -- was in fact a lie and a cover-up, too much of the rest of the world was largely oblivious.

      The original fraudulent narrative fit nicely with the zeitgeist of 1989. English clubs had been banned from European competition after the 1985 Heysel tragedy in which 39 supporters lost their lives. At the time, blame for Heysel was squarely placed on Liverpool-supporting hooligans and, to a lesser degree, the police and organizers, whose security measures on the day were wholly inadequate.

      "They did it at Heysel; they did it again at Hillsborough."

      That was the prevailing view among many across Europe. As recently as last year, I was involved in a radio debate on hooliganism when that same lie was repeated: Liverpool hooligans caused death at Hillsborough, just like at Heysel. I'm prone to giving people the benefit of the doubt, so I'll say it wasn't malevolence. It was ignorance. It's the same ignorance I find talking to casual fans from other European nations and elsewhere.

      And that's why my hope now is that the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the words of British Prime Minister David Cameron -- "The report is black and white … Liverpool fans were not to blame" -- resonate as widely and as loudly as possible.

      But there's another major message to take from this day. I spoke to the chief of police of a major Italian city. He deals with policing and supporter safety every week. I met him a few years ago when an English club was drawn to play a European game in his city. In addition to talking to the British police, which is normal in these situations, he was keen to liaise with visiting fans so he could better understand their needs and figure out the best possible way for his police force to do their job, which is to maintain order and safety.

      He had read the Taylor Report which, way back in 1990, established that the main cause for the Hillsborough tragedy was the failure of "police control." He asked me why there had been no follow-up, why those law enforcement officials responsible had never been taken to task.

      "As policemen we have a stressful and difficult job, but we also have an obligation for transparency and accountability; without it we don't have trust," he said. "We are human, we make mistakes. The difference is that when law enforcement makes a mistake, or is even accused of it, you have to fully investigate and apportion responsibility. If you don't, you lose faith in the institutions. And when that happens, the job of all police becomes that much more difficult and dangerous."

      In this case, not only were the authorities not fully investigated; it has since emerged that, on 164 occasions, witness statements by police officers and emergency services, as well as other documents, were redacted, selectively edited or otherwise doctored to shift blame on the supporters. This, folks, is what you call a cover-up, of the kind that weakens trust in all authorities and makes their job more difficult. It's one of the worst possible crimes law enforcement can commit, because it doesn't just affect the direct victims, it also affects their very own colleagues.

      This doesn't mean that today is not a happy day. It is, because uncovering truths, however painful, is better than living in an echo chamber of suspicion and cynicism. And it shows that, at least on this occasion, at least in the long run, the system eventually worked.

      It's also an occasion to remember the other times when fans went to watch a game and never returned. And how, in many of the cases below, the truth remains murky.

      Bolton, England: March 9, 1946: 33 dead
      Lima, Peru: May 24, 1954: 318 dead
      Kayseri, Turkey: Sept. 17, 1967: 40 dead
      Glasgow, Scotland: Jan. 2, 1971: 66 dead
      Athens, Greece: Feb. 8, 1981: 21 dead
      Moscow: Oct. 20, 1982: 66 dead
      Bradford, England: May 11, 1985: 56 dead
      Brussels: May 29, 1985: 39 dead
      Kathmandu, Nepal: March 12, 1988: 93 dead
      Orkney, South Africa: Jan. 13, 1991: 42 dead
      Bastia, France: May 5, 1992: 18 dead
      Johannesburg: April 11, 2001: 43 dead
      Accra, Ghana: May 9, 2001: 127 dead
      Abidjan, Ivory Coast: March 29, 2009: 19 dead
      Port Said, Egypt: Feb. 1, 2012: 79 dead

      Here's hoping the victims of these disasters and their families might one day also find peace and closure.
      soxfan
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #17: Sep 15, 2012 12:42:30 pm
      The truth is out, now it's time for justice
      Kristian Walsh, ESPN

      The last time I stood outside St George's Hall surrounded by Liverpool supporters, it was to watch the victorious Champions League winning squad of 2005 receive their deserved homecoming. A crowd so big, it was inestimable. Between 250,000 and one million people took to the streets to welcome home their heroes, who sat upon an open top bus and paraded their Champions League trophy. Images people would never see again; emotions the city of Liverpool would never feel again.

      Until Wednesday, that is: the day the truth, known by the people of Liverpool for 23 years, entered the public conscience.

      This crowd outside St George's Hall could be estimated. Liverpool City Council claimed 10,000 stood to show support, though there was no open-top bus to drive or shiny trophy to parade. But heroes did emerge, just like they have for 23 years. These were not football players, but ordinary people; they have not enjoyed publicised highs but suffered unfathomable lows. The families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough, alongside survivors and supporters in the fight for justice, walked out before the crowd. Dignified. Just as they have been since April 1989.

      Bill Shankly's most famous quotation of football being more important than life and death has never stood up against the tragic loss of lives at Hillsborough. So it proved again on Wednesday. The emotion of winning a football match unparalleled to the emotion felt as 23 years of graft, courage and fight finally brought a sliver of comfort.

      It was a victory that brought smiles on faces for the first time in over two decades and arms raised on a day some feared would never come to pass. This was more important than any football match; it always will be. This was the biggest victory in Liverpool's history, both club and city. The families were right, as David Cameron confirmed in the House of Commons. We knew that all along.

      What wasn't known was what the Hillsborough Independent Report would actually reveal; to what extent the severity of lies, deception and cowardice would be laid bare.

      The panel, led by Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, spent two years examining 450,000 internal documents. Within two minutes in Parliament, its main findings were summarised, its impact to be felt forever. "Today's report is black and white - the Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster," said Cameron. "The biggest cover up in British history," claimed Michael Mansfield QC afterwards. Neither dealt in hyperbole.

      Some things were already known by those who read previous reports. The incompetence of the Football Association for hosting the game at a stadium without a safety certificate. The incompetence of South Yorkshire Police who did not police the situation appropriately. The incompetence of the emergency services, alongside the police, who failed to respond to the dying and injured.

      But after the incompetence, the gut-wrenching cowardice. Some things that were not known. With each turn of the report's pages came a further twist of the kaleidoscope; a new, horrific insight of what happened in Sheffield both on the day of the tragedy and in its aftermath.

      Authorities attempted to create a "completely unjust" account of events that sought to blame the fans, searching for alcohol in the blood of victims, including children, and carrying out police national computer checks on those who had died in an attempt "to impugn the reputations of the deceased".

      "Despicable untruths" about the behaviour of fans were part of police efforts "to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence". Further to that, South Yorkshire Police changed 116 of the 164 statements made in the wake of the tragedy, removing any negative comments about the organisation.

      Most damning of all, 41 of the 96 who died could have been saved.

      In opposition to the original, strongly-challenged coroner's report, 41 of the deceased were either alive after 3.15pm, or suffered injuries which were inconsistent with the findings of the pathologists. 28 did not have obstruction of the bloodflow; 16 had evidence of heart and lungs continuing to function for a prolonged period after the crush.

      Hillsborough was never a football tragedy - it was a human one. As the government heard of the crimes committed against the 96 men, women and children who lost their lives, so too did the rest of the world. All gasped in unison.

      This was not about which team these people supported, or what sport they watched; it was about the system failing the deceased and all those affected. To do something so normal and not return home is tragic; to wait 23 years to discover why is criminal. 66 people died in the 1982 Luzhniki disaster in Moscow and had to wait seven years for the full truth - that was under Soviet rule.

      The families and survivors of Hillsborough battled so hard for the truth. The truth hurt more than anyone was anticipating, but still those at the front of St George's Hall raised a smile. The 96 who died, and thousands of their brethren, finally exonerated for unthinkable crimes they did not commit. That they had to be exonerated in the first place highlights the level of deception by the authorities; the lies by those in power, propagated and regurgitated by the Sun newspaper, its journalist Harry Arnold and editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

      They would have got away with it if not for the voice of Liverpool demanding justice, ever-growing and never going. That voice was heard for its heroes on Wednesday evening as the city held its vigil for the 96.

      Margaret Aspinall, Sheila Coleman and Anne Williams spoke on behalf of the bereaved families and survivors. They thanked the efforts of those in attendance: the families and survivors, who remained strong throughout; Kenny Dalglish, attendee of 96 funerals, who ensured no one walked alone; MPs Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, who helped make this day, sometimes seeming so far away, a reality; the panel who produced the report, for such a thorough investigation; the Liverpool supporters across the world, who did all they could.

      But it was the 10,000 in attendance that were there to thank those people; to pay their respects to those who died; to celebrate the end of the spineless smearing of their names. It was only ever possible because of the love of the families and survivors coupled with the sense of injustice that, like the eternal flame, never extinguished. As hymns were sung and prayers were read, a surreal mixture of joy, anger, relief, grief and pride swept through the crowds. For each person there, a different story, and a tear of happiness or sadness shed.

      A misnomer has been perpetuated about the city of Liverpool and its people for far too long. Its reputation as a self-pity city that wallows in grief entirely inaccurate. It is a city of solidarity, a city that has, traditionally, dared to stand up to the establishment and fight. Liverpool is a city that has always offered a shoulder to lean upon, and never been ashamed to seek a shoulder themselves. The image of Anfield, days after the tragedy, enshrouded in scarves, flowers and banners from all over the world is as poignant as it is heartbreaking; so, too, on Wednesday, as scarves held aloft throughout were both red and blue.

      It's that solidarity that has helped the families and survivors fight for so long. The next fight won't take so long. With the truth out, now is the time for justice. "Justice for the 96" was chanted at the vigil on Wednesday, just as it has been by Liverpool supporters at every ground in the country. It was once asked what justice constituted of. Now everybody knows.

      Justice is seeing Irvine Patnick, former MP for Sheffield Hallam, stripped of his knighthood for passing scurrilous lies to the Sun in an attempt to smear the dead, and the supporters who tried to help them. Justice is seeing Kelvin MacKenzie never work again for his hurtful headline and complicity in the attempted cover-up.

      Justice is seeing David Duckenfield and those of South Yorkshire Police punished for their failings both on the day and their subsequent disgraceful, unethical behaviour; justice is ensuring the right steps are taken to ensure nothing like the Hillsborough tragedy can ever happen again.

      Justice is to get the ruling of accidental death quashed and to launch fresh inquests over the deaths of 96 innocent people, to allow parents to know how and when their children died.

      Wednesday was a landmark day. It was the day so many questions from others were answered. The world found out why Liverpool fans never bought the Sun, and why Liverpool fans couldn't just let go. But more importantly, it was the day the families of the victims, the survivors of the disaster and all those who have supported the fight, received answers. We have the truth, and so does the rest of the world. Now it's time for justice.

      The suggestion the memory of the 96 can finally rest sits uneasy, for it always rested knowing how hard people worked to uncover the truth. The 96 have never walked alone and never will - and it is thanks to the biggest heroes the football club, and city, could ever hope for. They will keep fighting for them.

      And they will win.
      what-a-hit-son
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      • @MrPrice1979
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #18: May 01, 2016 06:43:13 pm
      Not sure if this has already been shared on these boards today but it was brought to my attention by a Tony Barrett tweet as he described it as 'Simply stunning' and I can only agree.

      Pleasure to share this as my 10,000th post.

      Amazing stuff:

      Justice, finally: a Hillsborough survivor’s story

      Adrian Tempany was at Hillsborough in 1989. Last week he was in Warrington to see the inquest jury deliver its verdict, and a community’s struggle against injustice finally win out

      By Adrian Tempany @AdrianTempany

      Sunday 1 May 2016


      After 27 years, justice came in a few short moments. At just after 11am last Tuesday, Sir John Goldring took his seat in a specially converted courtroom in Warrington, to silence. There was no preamble from the coroner today; not even a perfunctory greeting. As the microphone sputtered to life, the most controversial inquests in British history were about to come to an end. After two years, and nearly 300 days of evidence, from almost 1,000 witnesses, everything would rest on 14 questions – and on six women and three men from Warrington. The jury had given up two years of their lives to resolve this most bitter of disputes. Now, they were restricted to uttering a few simple words in response to the coroner. “Yes,” “No,” or “It is”. But with those four words, they would rewrite history.

      A few hundred yards from court, across the Birchwood industrial park, in building 401, I was one of 200 people – survivors, the bereaved, and other campaigners – who filed into an annexe to watch a stream of the verdict, broadcast live. As we waited, quietly, a member of the inquest secretariat arrived to inform us that the annexe was technically a part of the courtroom itself: we should therefore show no emotion as the jury’s determinations were announced. We ask you to be quiet and dignified, she said. A few seats along from me, Damian Kavanagh, a friend and fellow survivor, muttered: “We’ve been dignified for 27 years.”

      Eventually, the camera wobbled into focus, and the face of Sir John Goldring appeared. Unseen, off camera, the forewoman confirmed that the jury had arrived at its determinations to all 14 questions. Within moments, the debate over Hillsborough would be settled, once and for all. Here it was, in front of us on a TV screen – justice, finally. Like an intravenous drip – delivered drop by drop.

      I was 19 when I went to Hillsborough, to watch my team play an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. A man, but in many respects still a boy; crushed to the brink of death behind the steel-mesh fence of pen 3. Many of the 96 died within feet of me. I survived, but, unable to move any part of my body from the neck down in the crush, I could do no more for these people than watch them die. I owed it to them to witness their final moments, to bear testimony; but I never thought I would live to see this day.

      I am sitting with my girlfriend, Deb, who was my girlfriend that day, and has seen me through years of anxiety, and anger. In the seats beside and in front of me are other survivors. Damian survived the crush in pen 4, aged 20. He had obtained a ticket for the game for his friend, David Rimmer, who died in the same pen. Tim Knowles was a 17-year-old A-level student, one of 10 friends from Formby who had gone to the match; only seven came back alive. Mike Bracken found himself crushed outside the ground, before entering through an exit gate. After buying a drink to recover, he was horrified to find thousands more fans converging on the tunnel to the already packed central pens. With no police officers deployed to seal the tunnel, Mike briefly tried to steer them away. But he was a 20-year-old fan in a jumper and jeans. There were no police there, the fans reasoned: so what could be the problem?

      Nick Braley is an Ipswich fan. In 1989, aged 19, he was a student at Sheffield Poly, excited to be going to an FA Cup semi-final, even as a neutral. He was crushed towards the front of pen 3 and survived through the luck of being turned side-on to the fence. He was traumatised for years. The West Midlands officers who took his statement, which was critical of the policing, dismissed him as “a left-wing agitator”.

      Richie Greaves was 23 when he was caught in one of the worst-affected parts of pen 3. He gave evidence to the first inquests, and came back to tell the same truth in Warrington. His wife, Lou, sits beside Deb: “Don’t forget to keep breathing,” Lou says, squeezing Deb’s arm gently. She is desperate to get her husband back.

      Now, the jury begin. Their answers to the first five questions – on the multiple failures in police planning and in the police operation on the day – are resolved quickly. A formality. But all hinges on questions 6 and 7.

      Q6: “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

      We sit here not just as survivors, but as some of the accused. From the moment the inquests began, in March 2014, lawyers for the former match commanders at Hillsborough, led by John Beggs QC, have thrown vicious allegations on their behalf: that we were drunk, without tickets, badly behaved, aggressive and non-compliant. We sit quietly, and wonder if the jury has seen through their bile. It will not be easy: over three decades, we have been described as “animalistic” (Chief Constable Peter Wright), “tanked-up yobs” (Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham), and – quite simply – as “mental” (Paul Middup, Police Federation rep). Much of the public held us to be the people who pissed on brave coppers, or attacked them as they gave the kiss of life to stricken victims – all this while we were busy robbing the dead.

      These allegations, of course, were mostly carried in the Sun’s infamous front-page story of 19 April 1989, under the headline The Truth. It was Kelvin MacKenzie’s final choice as a banner headline; the first he had considered was: “You Scum”.

      A cross-section of the scum are here today. Damian has spent his career as a pensions administrator. Tim is a newspaper sub-editor. Nick is an accountant. Richie runs his own courier firm. Mike is a digital executive and a CBE. I am an author and journalist. All of us, just your average football fans of the 1980s.

      Now the coroner reads out Q6 to the forewoman, still unseen. “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Is your answer yes?”

      The forewoman’s voice is calm and reassuring, and wears lightly the huge responsibility. With the faintest trace of a lisp, she says: “Yes.”

      People scream, and jump to their feet. Mike’s head begins to tremble in his hands. Richie turns towards me and punches the air. I turn slowly to Deb with tears in my eyes, and she smiles and rubs my back.

      Then the moment is gone. For the coroner is on to Q7: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”

      This is not just a question of truth now: people’s lives are in the balance. To be unfairly blamed for killing people is an insult so grievous as to seriously disturb the mind. I know of one survivor, “Ian”, who lost a friend in pen 3. In 2007, Ian became upset about the controversy generated by the appearance of Kelvin MacKenzie on Newsnight, and a few weeks later he hanged himself. There was Stephen Whittle, who gave his match ticket to a friend, who died. In February 2011, Stephen stepped in front of an express train. Two of my mates who survived pen 3 have tried to kill themselves; both, mercifully, survived. But we know that if this next question goes against us, people will almost certainly take their own lives. The jury cannot know this, of course. I look around at Deb, at Richie, at Damian and Lou. No one looks at me.

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      “It is.”

      People leap to their feet and punch the air. But again, momentary relief, for we are only halfway there. Now, having answered No, the jury are asked a supplementary question: was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? That “may” sets the threshold so low, we fear the jury are practically being urged to find against us. As Tim Knowles said over an anguished pint a few months ago: “What kind of question is ‘May have?’ I might be found responsible for killing my friends on the basis of a vague, theoretical possibility.”

      On 15 April 1989, I walked into Hillsborough. An hour later I am caught somewhere between this life and the next

      But there is nothing vague about will happen to us: we will be vilified once more – for ever more – by the rightwing media and the police. We will be, for the first time in an official hearing, found culpable in killing our fellow fans. It is not the jury’s fault: they have been bounced into this. But people will die on a Yes, they may have…

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      I am sitting down but my knees give way. Tears are falling either side of my nose. The woman with the reassuring voice says “It is.”

      And the place erupts.

      Compression asphyxia. Ninety-three times it is recorded that afternoon as the cause of death at Hillsborough. It is definitive, but it offers only a glimpse into how our supporters died, or how extensive were the failings of the police and South Yorkshire metropolitan ambulance service.

      On 15 April 1989, I walked down a tunnel into Hillsborough, and into the sunshine, thinking: “Where would you rather be on a day like this?” An hour later, at just after 3pm, I am caught somewhere between this life and the next.

      The game has kicked off. I can see people in the north stand following it with their eyes. Others are fixated on the space around me, and pointing furiously, or running down the gangways to the pitch, shouting at police officers. But they are far away. Closer, a few feet away, people are dead on their feet. The air is thick with the smell of excrement and urine. Three men are changing colour, from a pale violet to a ghostly pallor. Some have vomit streaming from their nostrils. People are weeping. Others are gibbering, trying to black out what is happening. I am 19, and I know that I am about to die.

      As my brain begins to flood my body with endorphins, I am lifted above the crowd, in a bubble of warm water. It is strangely peaceful. Then shouting: rasping, aggressive shouting. In a Yorkshire accent: “Get back you stupid bas**rds!”

      Seconds, maybe minutes later, I open my eyes again. The sky is still blue, and the police have finally come through the gate in the perimeter fence. For the first time in an hour, I am standing up, untouched. Now, as I feel my body for broken ribs or bones, a group of people in front of me – who’d had their backs to me throughout the crush, and who I thought were alive – simply keel over and hit the concrete. A heap of tangled corpses piles up off the ground, three feet high. After a few seconds, I see a limb move and realise someone is alive in there. One police officer who comes through the gate later says that the scene “was like Belsen”.

      Over the next half hour, as the police rush to get word to the BBC, the FA and Liverpool FC’s own lawyer that Liverpool fans had caused the disaster by storming the gates, I and hundreds of other survivors are kicking down advertising boards and picking up bodies. A group of us sprint to a dead man who is lying partially naked by the goalline. We put him on a board and run towards the Forest end, in search of ambulances. When none materialise, we exit the stadium via a ramp and are directed by police into the gymnasium, now a temporary mortuary.

      Behind a badminton net, rows and rows of corpses under paper sheets, a policeman’s helmet on each chest. Coppers are sat around the edge of the gym, on chairs or on the floor, sobbing, hysterical. Someone is headbutting a wall. On the floor, two or three groups of people are each tending to a casualty: some are beating their patient’s chest, furiously, or blowing air into their mouth. Another man is kneeling, cradling the head of a lad in a black jacket, rocking him backwards and forwards gently, as he weeps. “He’s my brother,” he says, sobbing. “He’s my brother.” But he isn’t waking up.

      I am holding the right hand of the dead man we picked up. It is cold, and greased in sweat. He is heavy, but I am reluctant to let him go. Someone leans over one of the casualties on the floor and begins to administer the last rites. And a voice in my head simply says: “You need to get out of here, now, otherwise you’ll go mad.”

      For the next two decades, many survivors would struggle to retain their sanity. But it wasn’t us who had lost our senses: it was the British establishment.

      Chief superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander, did not lie alone, of course: this deceit was not simply the work of a bunch of bent coppers, but the product of a political culture debased. For years, historians have routinely rubbished the 70s as the decade that shamed us – 10 years of loon pants and luminous food; Britain at its most unhinged. But Hillsborough, a stain on British history like no other, can only be fully understood as part of the Thatcher era that gave rise to it. It was she who gave political cover to the South Yorkshire police, after they attacked the miners at Orgreave in 1984 and then tried to fit up dozens of them on a charge of riot – immunity their reward for breaking the strike. And as Kenneth Clarke MP has admitted, Thatcher had declared football fans as an enemy within: not football hooligans – football fans.

      On 4 August 1989, Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report into the causes of the disaster. He concluded that the main cause was overcrowding, and the main reason was the failure of police control. Here, essentially, was the truth the jury found in Warrington last week – laid before the public in August 1989. But the public didn’t get to see it first: Thatcher and her cabinet did.

      On 1 August 1989, the report was presented to the home secretary, Douglas Hurd, who sent an internal memo to Thatcher. The chief constable, Hurd thought, will “have to resign”, as the “enormity of the disaster, and the extent to which the inquiry blames the police, demand this”. Hurd requested Thatcher’s support for his own statement, in which he would “welcome unreservedly the broad thrust of the report”. Thatcher replied: “What do we mean by ‘welcoming the broad thrust of the report’? The broad thrust is devastating criticism of the police. Is that for us to welcome? … Surely we welcome the thoroughness of the report and its recommendations. MT”.

      And, at a stroke, justice was denied. Hurd had seen the rug pulled from under his feet. Now, he did not, could not, call for Chief Constable Peter Wright’s resignation – a move that would have left South Yorkshire police no option but to accept full responsibility. Suitably emboldened, they came out fighting, for 27 years.
       Tributes are placed at Anfield, two days after Hillsborough. Photograph: Peter Kemp/AP

      A few days after the disaster, I walk in to my doctor’s surgery. I am struggling to breathe properly, but I know, as I sit in the waiting room, that it isn’t my body that’s in need of attention.

      After half an hour I am called in by a GP – old, patrician; pinstripe suit and spectacles. I tell him, quietly, that I was at Hillsborough on Saturday and my chest hurts. Hmm, he says. He presses a stethoscope to my skin, then sits down to write a referral for an x-ray. But he does not look at me. As I button up my shirt I am looking at his bald head. Look at me, I am saying, silently. Look at me, you b***ard. But he won’t.

      Eventually, he hands over the referral while setting his eyes off to my right, and says – mumbles – “Do you… do you want to talk to anyone about this?” I pause for a few moments, then say no. I get up to go, and am almost at the door when he says: “It does look as if the Liverpool fans were to blame then, doesn’t it?” I turn to look at him, but all I feel is embarrassment – not for myself, but for him. “Oh well, good luck,” he says, brightly.

      So it is that the first professional people to talk to me after Hillsborough are the West Midlands police. The WMP were initially appointed to assist the Taylor inquiry, and were retained as advisers to the wretched coroner, Stefan Popper, at the original inquests, between late 1990 and March 1991.

      In July 1989, two plainclothes detectives arrived at my home in Stevenage. It was a Sunday, around 2pm, and the golf was on the TV. They sat me down, told me they would write down my statement by hand, and that I should then read it, and, if I was happy, sign it. So I began to tell them what had happened, and they began to laugh at me. They were soon snorting too, and yawning, and turning away to watch the golf. And nodding, sarcastically, when I told them about the failings of the police, and how they had abused our supporters as we tried to save the dead.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history

       Now they handed over my statement. “Read it and sign it, would you?”

      But I wasn’t happy. They had rewritten it; changed the meaning of certain incidents. Omitted key details. “Like what?” the officer said. Well, this happened, and this happened, I told them. He shook his head: “That didn’t happen.”

      Repeatedly, they informed me that I was mistaken; that I hadn’t seen anything significant; that where I was in the stadium wasn’t that bad, and that I would not go forward as a witness at the inquests. My account was probably best simply filed away. So if I just sign this statement, we’ll be off, and you can get on with your life.

      As I grew increasingly angry, the detective with the remote control in his hands pumped up the volume on the TV. I was shouting to be heard in my own living room, and they were trying to drown me out. Eventually, I signed that statement and they were gone. I could not have realised at the time, in the summer of 1989, that I was caught up in one of the biggest attempts to pervert the course of justice in British history. This was happening in real time. So I simply shut the front door, told them to “F**k off” under my breath, went up to my bedroom, and broke down.

      But they had planted an awful, tiny seed of doubt in my mind. Where you were wasn’t that bad. You haven’t seen anything. Your recollection is faulty. They had come to steal my truth; but worse, they had implied that I was a fantasist; that I had overreacted. I must be soft, I thought: and soft in the head, too.

      As the months and years went by, and the 1991 inquests recorded a verdict of accidental death, that little seed of doubt took root, and grew, and grew. Perhaps I was mistaken. Maybe I had overreacted. But it didn’t fit with the consistent nightmares, and the pile of corpses. It was like Belsen. Where you were wasn’t that bad.

      I woke up on the kitchen floor one day, after blacking out. I had panic attacks on packed trains. One day, around 1993 or ’94, washing up, or feeding the cat, or cleaning my teeth, I stopped up short and asked myself: “Come on, were you even at Hillsborough?”

      For years, intermittently, I would wake in a sweat that drenched the sheets. I would toss and turn so violently in my sleep that one day, I awoke with my feet on the pillow and my head hanging over the side of the bed.

      One morning in 1993, I woke up in a police cell. No longer able to contain my rage, I had kicked off at police officers in London, and been clapped in handcuffs. Now, sitting on a chair in the station, I was handed a charge sheet. Read it and sign it, they said. Ah, I said… I picked up their paperwork, and held it up to the light; turned it over, put it back on the desk. “No, I don’t think so,” I said.

      They laughed at me too, at first; then they gave me a bed, and threw the charge in the bin.

      Then it happened again, in west London, in 1996. But this time, the duty sergeant who released me the following morning sat me down before I left. Gave me a cup of tea. Asked me what I was playing at. I seized my opportunity and said, “I was at Hillsborough in 1989, and I hate coppers.” He nodded, thoughtfully, and said: “Well, I can understand that. But you can’t carry on like this. You’ll ruin your life.”

      I sat there disarmed… stumped. Finally, someone in authority had heard me. It was a two-minute conversation, no more… but I walked out of that police station a reformed character.

      On Thursday, the Hillsborough families announced they would file a lawsuit against both South Yorkshire police and the West Midlands police. But what of the freemasons, those pantomime villains of the piece? In March 2015, David Duckenfield admitted what most of us had long suspected – he had been a freemason since the mid-70s. Remarkably, he was promoted to grand master of his lodge a year after Hillsborough.
      While the masons’ role in the cover-up remains unclear – if indeed they had one – it is significant that Duckenfield sought to mitigate his gross negligence at Hillsborough by explaining that he was inexperienced as a match commander; that he had been dropped in at the deep end by Chief Constable Peter Wright. But Duckenfield was a limited officer; one who – some suspect – was only promoted to chief superintendent thanks to his masonic connections. The fact that Duckenfield was out of his depth at Hillsborough was certainly a factor in the deaths of the 96; perhaps this is the real indictment of a secret brotherhood pulling strings for people who would otherwise fail to prosper.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history – or at least the largest ever exposed. And really, what was it all for? Was this crime committed, and British justice so contaminated, simply to save the reputations of a handful of incompetent or corrupt police officers? Certainly, it appears they were worth more to those in power than 96 dead football fans and their families; worth more than justice itself.

      But now the truth is out. And history will record that it was the police, and not us, who stole from the dead – they stole their lives, they stole the truth about their deaths, and they stole the next 27 years of the lives of their loved ones. They simply do not learn, the South Yorkshire police: there is a thread running from Orgreave, through Hillsborough, and on to the Rotherham child abuse scandal. There is the bill, too: their lies cost the taxpayer £18m in legal fees in Warrington. Worse: the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Operation Resolve investigations into the cover-up are expected to conclude next year at a further cost of £80m.
       
      The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice was but one part of a deceit: the other was a cultural deception. Football fans were the innocent party in this disaster, but we were then robbed of our stake in the game, and of a serious say in how it should be reformed. It was the FA who granted Hillsborough three successive FA cup semi-finals between 1987-89, despite the fact that the ground had ceased to be in possession of a valid safety certificate as of December 1981. But in 1991, the organisation signalled that it was the fans, and not itself, that should change. In its manifesto, a response to Hillsborough and the Taylor report, the FA’s Blueprint for the Future of Football stated: “the response of most sectors has been to move upmarket so as to follow the affluent middle-class consumer … in his or her pursuits or aspirations. We strongly suggest that there is a message in this for football.”

      In 1992, the FA-backed Premier League appeared. In its first, crucial deal with a TV broadcaster, it hopped into bed with BSkyB, owned by Rupert Murdoch, of course: the man ultimately responsible for the Sun’s calumny. The scum had been cut adrift.

      Elsewhere, commentators talk of all-seater stadia as “the lasting legacy of the 96”. While I accept that many of the bereaved welcome all-seater stadia, the families, more than anything, asked for justice, not a plastic seat. Moreover, the 96 died because they wanted to stand on a terrace; they believed in terrace culture. The price of a ticket for the Leppings Lane end of the stadium on 15 April 1989 was £6; a seat ticket £10 – the differential was not prohibitive. The truth is they died not because terraces are inherently unsafe, but because the Leppings Lane was unsafe.

      There is a sense now that a truth of this order must lead to change. On Tuesday, when the jury gave its determinations, BBC journalists with no personal connections to the disaster broke down in court and wept. It is not simply that the jury had got everything right – a remarkable achievement, given the complexity of the case: it is that Hillsborough was never simply a football disaster; it is the tragedy of this country in the 1980s. An entire class of people abandoned by those in power; a police force politicised, who literally turned their backs on people as they screamed for their lives; the transformation of a sport that was a culture into a rapacious, globalised business – sold off to the middle class, on the basis of a monumental injustice.

      On Tuesday night, I went to the Ship and Mitre pub in Liverpool. At 9pm we walked in to the sound of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Around me, survivors, journalists, the bereaved: singing, drinking, laughing; falling flat on their arses, pissed, and getting up again. A community of people, enjoying the quiet satisfaction that they might just have exposed the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history.

      There was satisfaction, too, in the fact that Thatcher had once again been undone: for if, as she claimed, there was no such thing as society, then how had this justice been won, and our country made the better for it? Our most important tools, as campaigners, were each other; the fact we stuck together as a community. It is no coincidence that no other city rejected Thatcherism to the same degree as Liverpool. The likes of Bernard Ingham, Boris Johnson and Simon Heffer disdain the idea of communities holding together, for fear we might take the powerful to task. And we have. Now accountability must follow. Just as old age did not save celebrity sex offenders from prison, nor should it spare former police officers and others who have conspired to pervert the course of justice on such a scale, and to sustain the lie over 27 years. It would be absurd if the passage of time were their defence now.

      It would be false to write that all is sweetness and light in Liverpool this week. There is a great deal of anger and frustration among the survivors I know; it will take months, perhaps years to subside. Perhaps it never will. Similarly, this justice is one of the great moments of my life, but it will not bring closure; because for many people who have suffered deep trauma, the notion of closure is false. It presumes that once traumatised, you are set off on a straight path; that if you simply keep going, then one day, eventually, you will reach a finish line. Cross it, and you have won. But post-traumatic stress condemns you to a circular track, on which you must simply keep going, round and round, for ever. The going might become easier, but there is no finish line. All you can hope to do is accommodate your trauma into your life as best you can. And if you do that, then you have won.

      Hillsborough will always be part of who I am and how I live. It is a torment and a privilege: having come so close to dying at 19, I haven’t wasted my life. And I count so many wonderful people as friends. I am satisfied that I have been part of a campaign, as a journalist and a supporter, to expose this terrible truth. And I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to six women and three men from Warrington whose names I do not know. They have restored my faith in the country I live in; and in the idea of justice.

      And then there is Jenni Hicks. After we had both stood on the steps of St George’s Hall in Liverpool, at Wednesday evening’s vigil, in front of a crowd of 30,000, we retired to the Shankly hotel for a quiet drink, with families and survivors and campaigners. Jenni was gracious, as ever. In her hand, she held two red roses, for the daughters she lost. And she hugged me and told me that without justice for the fans, an unlawful killing verdict would have been meaningless to the families. I sat there with two brilliant Hillsborough campaigners, Jim Sharman and Chris Lightbown, and we watched her go into the night – go home with her two red roses. And we raised a glass to Sarah and Victoria, and to 94 other Liverpool fans, that they might rest in peace.

      For on 26 April 2016, we rewrote history. We made history. After 27 years and 11 days, finally, we got justice for the 96.

      http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/01/hillsborough-inquest-survivor-adrian-tempany

      Adrian Tempany’s book, And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain, is published by Faber on 2 June. Extract: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/08/how-football-lost-touch-young-fans
      reddebs
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      • 17,935 posts | 2209 
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #19: May 01, 2016 07:22:58 pm
      Not sure if this has already been shared on these boards today but it was brought to my attention by a Tony Barrett tweet as he described it as 'Simply stunning' and I can only agree.

      Pleasure to share this as my 10,000th post.

      Amazing stuff:

      Justice, finally: a Hillsborough survivor’s story

      Adrian Tempany was at Hillsborough in 1989. Last week he was in Warrington to see the inquest jury deliver its verdict, and a community’s struggle against injustice finally win out

      By Adrian Tempany @AdrianTempany

      Sunday 1 May 2016


      After 27 years, justice came in a few short moments. At just after 11am last Tuesday, Sir John Goldring took his seat in a specially converted courtroom in Warrington, to silence. There was no preamble from the coroner today; not even a perfunctory greeting. As the microphone sputtered to life, the most controversial inquests in British history were about to come to an end. After two years, and nearly 300 days of evidence, from almost 1,000 witnesses, everything would rest on 14 questions – and on six women and three men from Warrington. The jury had given up two years of their lives to resolve this most bitter of disputes. Now, they were restricted to uttering a few simple words in response to the coroner. “Yes,” “No,” or “It is”. But with those four words, they would rewrite history.

      A few hundred yards from court, across the Birchwood industrial park, in building 401, I was one of 200 people – survivors, the bereaved, and other campaigners – who filed into an annexe to watch a stream of the verdict, broadcast live. As we waited, quietly, a member of the inquest secretariat arrived to inform us that the annexe was technically a part of the courtroom itself: we should therefore show no emotion as the jury’s determinations were announced. We ask you to be quiet and dignified, she said. A few seats along from me, Damian Kavanagh, a friend and fellow survivor, muttered: “We’ve been dignified for 27 years.”

      Eventually, the camera wobbled into focus, and the face of Sir John Goldring appeared. Unseen, off camera, the forewoman confirmed that the jury had arrived at its determinations to all 14 questions. Within moments, the debate over Hillsborough would be settled, once and for all. Here it was, in front of us on a TV screen – justice, finally. Like an intravenous drip – delivered drop by drop.

      I was 19 when I went to Hillsborough, to watch my team play an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. A man, but in many respects still a boy; crushed to the brink of death behind the steel-mesh fence of pen 3. Many of the 96 died within feet of me. I survived, but, unable to move any part of my body from the neck down in the crush, I could do no more for these people than watch them die. I owed it to them to witness their final moments, to bear testimony; but I never thought I would live to see this day.

      I am sitting with my girlfriend, Deb, who was my girlfriend that day, and has seen me through years of anxiety, and anger. In the seats beside and in front of me are other survivors. Damian survived the crush in pen 4, aged 20. He had obtained a ticket for the game for his friend, David Rimmer, who died in the same pen. Tim Knowles was a 17-year-old A-level student, one of 10 friends from Formby who had gone to the match; only seven came back alive. Mike Bracken found himself crushed outside the ground, before entering through an exit gate. After buying a drink to recover, he was horrified to find thousands more fans converging on the tunnel to the already packed central pens. With no police officers deployed to seal the tunnel, Mike briefly tried to steer them away. But he was a 20-year-old fan in a jumper and jeans. There were no police there, the fans reasoned: so what could be the problem?

      Nick Braley is an Ipswich fan. In 1989, aged 19, he was a student at Sheffield Poly, excited to be going to an FA Cup semi-final, even as a neutral. He was crushed towards the front of pen 3 and survived through the luck of being turned side-on to the fence. He was traumatised for years. The West Midlands officers who took his statement, which was critical of the policing, dismissed him as “a left-wing agitator”.

      Richie Greaves was 23 when he was caught in one of the worst-affected parts of pen 3. He gave evidence to the first inquests, and came back to tell the same truth in Warrington. His wife, Lou, sits beside Deb: “Don’t forget to keep breathing,” Lou says, squeezing Deb’s arm gently. She is desperate to get her husband back.

      Now, the jury begin. Their answers to the first five questions – on the multiple failures in police planning and in the police operation on the day – are resolved quickly. A formality. But all hinges on questions 6 and 7.

      Q6: “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

      We sit here not just as survivors, but as some of the accused. From the moment the inquests began, in March 2014, lawyers for the former match commanders at Hillsborough, led by John Beggs QC, have thrown vicious allegations on their behalf: that we were drunk, without tickets, badly behaved, aggressive and non-compliant. We sit quietly, and wonder if the jury has seen through their bile. It will not be easy: over three decades, we have been described as “animalistic” (Chief Constable Peter Wright), “tanked-up yobs” (Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham), and – quite simply – as “mental” (Paul Middup, Police Federation rep). Much of the public held us to be the people who pissed on brave coppers, or attacked them as they gave the kiss of life to stricken victims – all this while we were busy robbing the dead.

      These allegations, of course, were mostly carried in the Sun’s infamous front-page story of 19 April 1989, under the headline The Truth. It was Kelvin MacKenzie’s final choice as a banner headline; the first he had considered was: “You Scum”.

      A cross-section of the scum are here today. Damian has spent his career as a pensions administrator. Tim is a newspaper sub-editor. Nick is an accountant. Richie runs his own courier firm. Mike is a digital executive and a CBE. I am an author and journalist. All of us, just your average football fans of the 1980s.

      Now the coroner reads out Q6 to the forewoman, still unseen. “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Is your answer yes?”

      The forewoman’s voice is calm and reassuring, and wears lightly the huge responsibility. With the faintest trace of a lisp, she says: “Yes.”

      People scream, and jump to their feet. Mike’s head begins to tremble in his hands. Richie turns towards me and punches the air. I turn slowly to Deb with tears in my eyes, and she smiles and rubs my back.

      Then the moment is gone. For the coroner is on to Q7: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”

      This is not just a question of truth now: people’s lives are in the balance. To be unfairly blamed for killing people is an insult so grievous as to seriously disturb the mind. I know of one survivor, “Ian”, who lost a friend in pen 3. In 2007, Ian became upset about the controversy generated by the appearance of Kelvin MacKenzie on Newsnight, and a few weeks later he hanged himself. There was Stephen Whittle, who gave his match ticket to a friend, who died. In February 2011, Stephen stepped in front of an express train. Two of my mates who survived pen 3 have tried to kill themselves; both, mercifully, survived. But we know that if this next question goes against us, people will almost certainly take their own lives. The jury cannot know this, of course. I look around at Deb, at Richie, at Damian and Lou. No one looks at me.

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      “It is.”

      People leap to their feet and punch the air. But again, momentary relief, for we are only halfway there. Now, having answered No, the jury are asked a supplementary question: was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? That “may” sets the threshold so low, we fear the jury are practically being urged to find against us. As Tim Knowles said over an anguished pint a few months ago: “What kind of question is ‘May have?’ I might be found responsible for killing my friends on the basis of a vague, theoretical possibility.”

      On 15 April 1989, I walked into Hillsborough. An hour later I am caught somewhere between this life and the next

      But there is nothing vague about will happen to us: we will be vilified once more – for ever more – by the rightwing media and the police. We will be, for the first time in an official hearing, found culpable in killing our fellow fans. It is not the jury’s fault: they have been bounced into this. But people will die on a Yes, they may have…

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      I am sitting down but my knees give way. Tears are falling either side of my nose. The woman with the reassuring voice says “It is.”

      And the place erupts.

      Compression asphyxia. Ninety-three times it is recorded that afternoon as the cause of death at Hillsborough. It is definitive, but it offers only a glimpse into how our supporters died, or how extensive were the failings of the police and South Yorkshire metropolitan ambulance service.

      On 15 April 1989, I walked down a tunnel into Hillsborough, and into the sunshine, thinking: “Where would you rather be on a day like this?” An hour later, at just after 3pm, I am caught somewhere between this life and the next.

      The game has kicked off. I can see people in the north stand following it with their eyes. Others are fixated on the space around me, and pointing furiously, or running down the gangways to the pitch, shouting at police officers. But they are far away. Closer, a few feet away, people are dead on their feet. The air is thick with the smell of excrement and urine. Three men are changing colour, from a pale violet to a ghostly pallor. Some have vomit streaming from their nostrils. People are weeping. Others are gibbering, trying to black out what is happening. I am 19, and I know that I am about to die.

      As my brain begins to flood my body with endorphins, I am lifted above the crowd, in a bubble of warm water. It is strangely peaceful. Then shouting: rasping, aggressive shouting. In a Yorkshire accent: “Get back you stupid bas**rds!”

      Seconds, maybe minutes later, I open my eyes again. The sky is still blue, and the police have finally come through the gate in the perimeter fence. For the first time in an hour, I am standing up, untouched. Now, as I feel my body for broken ribs or bones, a group of people in front of me – who’d had their backs to me throughout the crush, and who I thought were alive – simply keel over and hit the concrete. A heap of tangled corpses piles up off the ground, three feet high. After a few seconds, I see a limb move and realise someone is alive in there. One police officer who comes through the gate later says that the scene “was like Belsen”.

      Over the next half hour, as the police rush to get word to the BBC, the FA and Liverpool FC’s own lawyer that Liverpool fans had caused the disaster by storming the gates, I and hundreds of other survivors are kicking down advertising boards and picking up bodies. A group of us sprint to a dead man who is lying partially naked by the goalline. We put him on a board and run towards the Forest end, in search of ambulances. When none materialise, we exit the stadium via a ramp and are directed by police into the gymnasium, now a temporary mortuary.

      Behind a badminton net, rows and rows of corpses under paper sheets, a policeman’s helmet on each chest. Coppers are sat around the edge of the gym, on chairs or on the floor, sobbing, hysterical. Someone is headbutting a wall. On the floor, two or three groups of people are each tending to a casualty: some are beating their patient’s chest, furiously, or blowing air into their mouth. Another man is kneeling, cradling the head of a lad in a black jacket, rocking him backwards and forwards gently, as he weeps. “He’s my brother,” he says, sobbing. “He’s my brother.” But he isn’t waking up.

      I am holding the right hand of the dead man we picked up. It is cold, and greased in sweat. He is heavy, but I am reluctant to let him go. Someone leans over one of the casualties on the floor and begins to administer the last rites. And a voice in my head simply says: “You need to get out of here, now, otherwise you’ll go mad.”

      For the next two decades, many survivors would struggle to retain their sanity. But it wasn’t us who had lost our senses: it was the British establishment.

      Chief superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander, did not lie alone, of course: this deceit was not simply the work of a bunch of bent coppers, but the product of a political culture debased. For years, historians have routinely rubbished the 70s as the decade that shamed us – 10 years of loon pants and luminous food; Britain at its most unhinged. But Hillsborough, a stain on British history like no other, can only be fully understood as part of the Thatcher era that gave rise to it. It was she who gave political cover to the South Yorkshire police, after they attacked the miners at Orgreave in 1984 and then tried to fit up dozens of them on a charge of riot – immunity their reward for breaking the strike. And as Kenneth Clarke MP has admitted, Thatcher had declared football fans as an enemy within: not football hooligans – football fans.

      On 4 August 1989, Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report into the causes of the disaster. He concluded that the main cause was overcrowding, and the main reason was the failure of police control. Here, essentially, was the truth the jury found in Warrington last week – laid before the public in August 1989. But the public didn’t get to see it first: Thatcher and her cabinet did.

      On 1 August 1989, the report was presented to the home secretary, Douglas Hurd, who sent an internal memo to Thatcher. The chief constable, Hurd thought, will “have to resign”, as the “enormity of the disaster, and the extent to which the inquiry blames the police, demand this”. Hurd requested Thatcher’s support for his own statement, in which he would “welcome unreservedly the broad thrust of the report”. Thatcher replied: “What do we mean by ‘welcoming the broad thrust of the report’? The broad thrust is devastating criticism of the police. Is that for us to welcome? … Surely we welcome the thoroughness of the report and its recommendations. MT”.

      And, at a stroke, justice was denied. Hurd had seen the rug pulled from under his feet. Now, he did not, could not, call for Chief Constable Peter Wright’s resignation – a move that would have left South Yorkshire police no option but to accept full responsibility. Suitably emboldened, they came out fighting, for 27 years.
       Tributes are placed at Anfield, two days after Hillsborough. Photograph: Peter Kemp/AP

      A few days after the disaster, I walk in to my doctor’s surgery. I am struggling to breathe properly, but I know, as I sit in the waiting room, that it isn’t my body that’s in need of attention.

      After half an hour I am called in by a GP – old, patrician; pinstripe suit and spectacles. I tell him, quietly, that I was at Hillsborough on Saturday and my chest hurts. Hmm, he says. He presses a stethoscope to my skin, then sits down to write a referral for an x-ray. But he does not look at me. As I button up my shirt I am looking at his bald head. Look at me, I am saying, silently. Look at me, you b***ard. But he won’t.

      Eventually, he hands over the referral while setting his eyes off to my right, and says – mumbles – “Do you… do you want to talk to anyone about this?” I pause for a few moments, then say no. I get up to go, and am almost at the door when he says: “It does look as if the Liverpool fans were to blame then, doesn’t it?” I turn to look at him, but all I feel is embarrassment – not for myself, but for him. “Oh well, good luck,” he says, brightly.

      So it is that the first professional people to talk to me after Hillsborough are the West Midlands police. The WMP were initially appointed to assist the Taylor inquiry, and were retained as advisers to the wretched coroner, Stefan Popper, at the original inquests, between late 1990 and March 1991.

      In July 1989, two plainclothes detectives arrived at my home in Stevenage. It was a Sunday, around 2pm, and the golf was on the TV. They sat me down, told me they would write down my statement by hand, and that I should then read it, and, if I was happy, sign it. So I began to tell them what had happened, and they began to laugh at me. They were soon snorting too, and yawning, and turning away to watch the golf. And nodding, sarcastically, when I told them about the failings of the police, and how they had abused our supporters as we tried to save the dead.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history

       Now they handed over my statement. “Read it and sign it, would you?”

      But I wasn’t happy. They had rewritten it; changed the meaning of certain incidents. Omitted key details. “Like what?” the officer said. Well, this happened, and this happened, I told them. He shook his head: “That didn’t happen.”

      Repeatedly, they informed me that I was mistaken; that I hadn’t seen anything significant; that where I was in the stadium wasn’t that bad, and that I would not go forward as a witness at the inquests. My account was probably best simply filed away. So if I just sign this statement, we’ll be off, and you can get on with your life.

      As I grew increasingly angry, the detective with the remote control in his hands pumped up the volume on the TV. I was shouting to be heard in my own living room, and they were trying to drown me out. Eventually, I signed that statement and they were gone. I could not have realised at the time, in the summer of 1989, that I was caught up in one of the biggest attempts to pervert the course of justice in British history. This was happening in real time. So I simply shut the front door, told them to “F**k off” under my breath, went up to my bedroom, and broke down.

      But they had planted an awful, tiny seed of doubt in my mind. Where you were wasn’t that bad. You haven’t seen anything. Your recollection is faulty. They had come to steal my truth; but worse, they had implied that I was a fantasist; that I had overreacted. I must be soft, I thought: and soft in the head, too.

      As the months and years went by, and the 1991 inquests recorded a verdict of accidental death, that little seed of doubt took root, and grew, and grew. Perhaps I was mistaken. Maybe I had overreacted. But it didn’t fit with the consistent nightmares, and the pile of corpses. It was like Belsen. Where you were wasn’t that bad.

      I woke up on the kitchen floor one day, after blacking out. I had panic attacks on packed trains. One day, around 1993 or ’94, washing up, or feeding the cat, or cleaning my teeth, I stopped up short and asked myself: “Come on, were you even at Hillsborough?”

      For years, intermittently, I would wake in a sweat that drenched the sheets. I would toss and turn so violently in my sleep that one day, I awoke with my feet on the pillow and my head hanging over the side of the bed.

      One morning in 1993, I woke up in a police cell. No longer able to contain my rage, I had kicked off at police officers in London, and been clapped in handcuffs. Now, sitting on a chair in the station, I was handed a charge sheet. Read it and sign it, they said. Ah, I said… I picked up their paperwork, and held it up to the light; turned it over, put it back on the desk. “No, I don’t think so,” I said.

      They laughed at me too, at first; then they gave me a bed, and threw the charge in the bin.

      Then it happened again, in west London, in 1996. But this time, the duty sergeant who released me the following morning sat me down before I left. Gave me a cup of tea. Asked me what I was playing at. I seized my opportunity and said, “I was at Hillsborough in 1989, and I hate coppers.” He nodded, thoughtfully, and said: “Well, I can understand that. But you can’t carry on like this. You’ll ruin your life.”

      I sat there disarmed… stumped. Finally, someone in authority had heard me. It was a two-minute conversation, no more… but I walked out of that police station a reformed character.

      On Thursday, the Hillsborough families announced they would file a lawsuit against both South Yorkshire police and the West Midlands police. But what of the freemasons, those pantomime villains of the piece? In March 2015, David Duckenfield admitted what most of us had long suspected – he had been a freemason since the mid-70s. Remarkably, he was promoted to grand master of his lodge a year after Hillsborough.
      While the masons’ role in the cover-up remains unclear – if indeed they had one – it is significant that Duckenfield sought to mitigate his gross negligence at Hillsborough by explaining that he was inexperienced as a match commander; that he had been dropped in at the deep end by Chief Constable Peter Wright. But Duckenfield was a limited officer; one who – some suspect – was only promoted to chief superintendent thanks to his masonic connections. The fact that Duckenfield was out of his depth at Hillsborough was certainly a factor in the deaths of the 96; perhaps this is the real indictment of a secret brotherhood pulling strings for people who would otherwise fail to prosper.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history – or at least the largest ever exposed. And really, what was it all for? Was this crime committed, and British justice so contaminated, simply to save the reputations of a handful of incompetent or corrupt police officers? Certainly, it appears they were worth more to those in power than 96 dead football fans and their families; worth more than justice itself.

      But now the truth is out. And history will record that it was the police, and not us, who stole from the dead – they stole their lives, they stole the truth about their deaths, and they stole the next 27 years of the lives of their loved ones. They simply do not learn, the South Yorkshire police: there is a thread running from Orgreave, through Hillsborough, and on to the Rotherham child abuse scandal. There is the bill, too: their lies cost the taxpayer £18m in legal fees in Warrington. Worse: the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Operation Resolve investigations into the cover-up are expected to conclude next year at a further cost of £80m.
       
      The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice was but one part of a deceit: the other was a cultural deception. Football fans were the innocent party in this disaster, but we were then robbed of our stake in the game, and of a serious say in how it should be reformed. It was the FA who granted Hillsborough three successive FA cup semi-finals between 1987-89, despite the fact that the ground had ceased to be in possession of a valid safety certificate as of December 1981. But in 1991, the organisation signalled that it was the fans, and not itself, that should change. In its manifesto, a response to Hillsborough and the Taylor report, the FA’s Blueprint for the Future of Football stated: “the response of most sectors has been to move upmarket so as to follow the affluent middle-class consumer … in his or her pursuits or aspirations. We strongly suggest that there is a message in this for football.”

      In 1992, the FA-backed Premier League appeared. In its first, crucial deal with a TV broadcaster, it hopped into bed with BSkyB, owned by Rupert Murdoch, of course: the man ultimately responsible for the Sun’s calumny. The scum had been cut adrift.

      Elsewhere, commentators talk of all-seater stadia as “the lasting legacy of the 96”. While I accept that many of the bereaved welcome all-seater stadia, the families, more than anything, asked for justice, not a plastic seat. Moreover, the 96 died because they wanted to stand on a terrace; they believed in terrace culture. The price of a ticket for the Leppings Lane end of the stadium on 15 April 1989 was £6; a seat ticket £10 – the differential was not prohibitive. The truth is they died not because terraces are inherently unsafe, but because the Leppings Lane was unsafe.

      There is a sense now that a truth of this order must lead to change. On Tuesday, when the jury gave its determinations, BBC journalists with no personal connections to the disaster broke down in court and wept. It is not simply that the jury had got everything right – a remarkable achievement, given the complexity of the case: it is that Hillsborough was never simply a football disaster; it is the tragedy of this country in the 1980s. An entire class of people abandoned by those in power; a police force politicised, who literally turned their backs on people as they screamed for their lives; the transformation of a sport that was a culture into a rapacious, globalised business – sold off to the middle class, on the basis of a monumental injustice.

      On Tuesday night, I went to the Ship and Mitre pub in Liverpool. At 9pm we walked in to the sound of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Around me, survivors, journalists, the bereaved: singing, drinking, laughing; falling flat on their arses, pissed, and getting up again. A community of people, enjoying the quiet satisfaction that they might just have exposed the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history.

      There was satisfaction, too, in the fact that Thatcher had once again been undone: for if, as she claimed, there was no such thing as society, then how had this justice been won, and our country made the better for it? Our most important tools, as campaigners, were each other; the fact we stuck together as a community. It is no coincidence that no other city rejected Thatcherism to the same degree as Liverpool. The likes of Bernard Ingham, Boris Johnson and Simon Heffer disdain the idea of communities holding together, for fear we might take the powerful to task. And we have. Now accountability must follow. Just as old age did not save celebrity sex offenders from prison, nor should it spare former police officers and others who have conspired to pervert the course of justice on such a scale, and to sustain the lie over 27 years. It would be absurd if the passage of time were their defence now.

      It would be false to write that all is sweetness and light in Liverpool this week. There is a great deal of anger and frustration among the survivors I know; it will take months, perhaps years to subside. Perhaps it never will. Similarly, this justice is one of the great moments of my life, but it will not bring closure; because for many people who have suffered deep trauma, the notion of closure is false. It presumes that once traumatised, you are set off on a straight path; that if you simply keep going, then one day, eventually, you will reach a finish line. Cross it, and you have won. But post-traumatic stress condemns you to a circular track, on which you must simply keep going, round and round, for ever. The going might become easier, but there is no finish line. All you can hope to do is accommodate your trauma into your life as best you can. And if you do that, then you have won.

      Hillsborough will always be part of who I am and how I live. It is a torment and a privilege: having come so close to dying at 19, I haven’t wasted my life. And I count so many wonderful people as friends. I am satisfied that I have been part of a campaign, as a journalist and a supporter, to expose this terrible truth. And I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to six women and three men from Warrington whose names I do not know. They have restored my faith in the country I live in; and in the idea of justice.

      And then there is Jenni Hicks. After we had both stood on the steps of St George’s Hall in Liverpool, at Wednesday evening’s vigil, in front of a crowd of 30,000, we retired to the Shankly hotel for a quiet drink, with families and survivors and campaigners. Jenni was gracious, as ever. In her hand, she held two red roses, for the daughters she lost. And she hugged me and told me that without justice for the fans, an unlawful killing verdict would have been meaningless to the families. I sat there with two brilliant Hillsborough campaigners, Jim Sharman and Chris Lightbown, and we watched her go into the night – go home with her two red roses. And we raised a glass to Sarah and Victoria, and to 94 other Liverpool fans, that they might rest in peace.

      For on 26 April 2016, we rewrote history. We made history. After 27 years and 11 days, finally, we got justice for the 96.

      http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/01/hillsborough-inquest-survivor-adrian-tempany

      Adrian Tempany’s book, And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain, is published by Faber on 2 June. Extract: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/08/how-football-lost-touch-young-fans


      I read it last night mate and it certainly is a fantastic insight to the events, the follow up, the knock on effects for the survivors and ultimately the Inquest verdicts.
      bigears
      • Forum Legend - Dalglish
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      • My bird looks great in red
      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #20: May 01, 2016 07:23:03 pm
      Not sure if this has already been shared on these boards today but it was brought to my attention by a Tony Barrett tweet as he described it as 'Simply stunning' and I can only agree.

      Pleasure to share this as my 10,000th post.

      Amazing stuff:

      Justice, finally: a Hillsborough survivor’s story

      Adrian Tempany was at Hillsborough in 1989. Last week he was in Warrington to see the inquest jury deliver its verdict, and a community’s struggle against injustice finally win out

      By Adrian Tempany @AdrianTempany

      Sunday 1 May 2016


      After 27 years, justice came in a few short moments. At just after 11am last Tuesday, Sir John Goldring took his seat in a specially converted courtroom in Warrington, to silence. There was no preamble from the coroner today; not even a perfunctory greeting. As the microphone sputtered to life, the most controversial inquests in British history were about to come to an end. After two years, and nearly 300 days of evidence, from almost 1,000 witnesses, everything would rest on 14 questions – and on six women and three men from Warrington. The jury had given up two years of their lives to resolve this most bitter of disputes. Now, they were restricted to uttering a few simple words in response to the coroner. “Yes,” “No,” or “It is”. But with those four words, they would rewrite history.

      A few hundred yards from court, across the Birchwood industrial park, in building 401, I was one of 200 people – survivors, the bereaved, and other campaigners – who filed into an annexe to watch a stream of the verdict, broadcast live. As we waited, quietly, a member of the inquest secretariat arrived to inform us that the annexe was technically a part of the courtroom itself: we should therefore show no emotion as the jury’s determinations were announced. We ask you to be quiet and dignified, she said. A few seats along from me, Damian Kavanagh, a friend and fellow survivor, muttered: “We’ve been dignified for 27 years.”

      Eventually, the camera wobbled into focus, and the face of Sir John Goldring appeared. Unseen, off camera, the forewoman confirmed that the jury had arrived at its determinations to all 14 questions. Within moments, the debate over Hillsborough would be settled, once and for all. Here it was, in front of us on a TV screen – justice, finally. Like an intravenous drip – delivered drop by drop.

      I was 19 when I went to Hillsborough, to watch my team play an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. A man, but in many respects still a boy; crushed to the brink of death behind the steel-mesh fence of pen 3. Many of the 96 died within feet of me. I survived, but, unable to move any part of my body from the neck down in the crush, I could do no more for these people than watch them die. I owed it to them to witness their final moments, to bear testimony; but I never thought I would live to see this day.

      I am sitting with my girlfriend, Deb, who was my girlfriend that day, and has seen me through years of anxiety, and anger. In the seats beside and in front of me are other survivors. Damian survived the crush in pen 4, aged 20. He had obtained a ticket for the game for his friend, David Rimmer, who died in the same pen. Tim Knowles was a 17-year-old A-level student, one of 10 friends from Formby who had gone to the match; only seven came back alive. Mike Bracken found himself crushed outside the ground, before entering through an exit gate. After buying a drink to recover, he was horrified to find thousands more fans converging on the tunnel to the already packed central pens. With no police officers deployed to seal the tunnel, Mike briefly tried to steer them away. But he was a 20-year-old fan in a jumper and jeans. There were no police there, the fans reasoned: so what could be the problem?

      Nick Braley is an Ipswich fan. In 1989, aged 19, he was a student at Sheffield Poly, excited to be going to an FA Cup semi-final, even as a neutral. He was crushed towards the front of pen 3 and survived through the luck of being turned side-on to the fence. He was traumatised for years. The West Midlands officers who took his statement, which was critical of the policing, dismissed him as “a left-wing agitator”.

      Richie Greaves was 23 when he was caught in one of the worst-affected parts of pen 3. He gave evidence to the first inquests, and came back to tell the same truth in Warrington. His wife, Lou, sits beside Deb: “Don’t forget to keep breathing,” Lou says, squeezing Deb’s arm gently. She is desperate to get her husband back.

      Now, the jury begin. Their answers to the first five questions – on the multiple failures in police planning and in the police operation on the day – are resolved quickly. A formality. But all hinges on questions 6 and 7.

      Q6: “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

      We sit here not just as survivors, but as some of the accused. From the moment the inquests began, in March 2014, lawyers for the former match commanders at Hillsborough, led by John Beggs QC, have thrown vicious allegations on their behalf: that we were drunk, without tickets, badly behaved, aggressive and non-compliant. We sit quietly, and wonder if the jury has seen through their bile. It will not be easy: over three decades, we have been described as “animalistic” (Chief Constable Peter Wright), “tanked-up yobs” (Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham), and – quite simply – as “mental” (Paul Middup, Police Federation rep). Much of the public held us to be the people who pissed on brave coppers, or attacked them as they gave the kiss of life to stricken victims – all this while we were busy robbing the dead.

      These allegations, of course, were mostly carried in the Sun’s infamous front-page story of 19 April 1989, under the headline The Truth. It was Kelvin MacKenzie’s final choice as a banner headline; the first he had considered was: “You Scum”.

      A cross-section of the scum are here today. Damian has spent his career as a pensions administrator. Tim is a newspaper sub-editor. Nick is an accountant. Richie runs his own courier firm. Mike is a digital executive and a CBE. I am an author and journalist. All of us, just your average football fans of the 1980s.

      Now the coroner reads out Q6 to the forewoman, still unseen. “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Is your answer yes?”

      The forewoman’s voice is calm and reassuring, and wears lightly the huge responsibility. With the faintest trace of a lisp, she says: “Yes.”

      People scream, and jump to their feet. Mike’s head begins to tremble in his hands. Richie turns towards me and punches the air. I turn slowly to Deb with tears in my eyes, and she smiles and rubs my back.

      Then the moment is gone. For the coroner is on to Q7: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?”

      This is not just a question of truth now: people’s lives are in the balance. To be unfairly blamed for killing people is an insult so grievous as to seriously disturb the mind. I know of one survivor, “Ian”, who lost a friend in pen 3. In 2007, Ian became upset about the controversy generated by the appearance of Kelvin MacKenzie on Newsnight, and a few weeks later he hanged himself. There was Stephen Whittle, who gave his match ticket to a friend, who died. In February 2011, Stephen stepped in front of an express train. Two of my mates who survived pen 3 have tried to kill themselves; both, mercifully, survived. But we know that if this next question goes against us, people will almost certainly take their own lives. The jury cannot know this, of course. I look around at Deb, at Richie, at Damian and Lou. No one looks at me.

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      “It is.”

      People leap to their feet and punch the air. But again, momentary relief, for we are only halfway there. Now, having answered No, the jury are asked a supplementary question: was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? That “may” sets the threshold so low, we fear the jury are practically being urged to find against us. As Tim Knowles said over an anguished pint a few months ago: “What kind of question is ‘May have?’ I might be found responsible for killing my friends on the basis of a vague, theoretical possibility.”

      On 15 April 1989, I walked into Hillsborough. An hour later I am caught somewhere between this life and the next

      But there is nothing vague about will happen to us: we will be vilified once more – for ever more – by the rightwing media and the police. We will be, for the first time in an official hearing, found culpable in killing our fellow fans. It is not the jury’s fault: they have been bounced into this. But people will die on a Yes, they may have…

      The coroner: “Was there any behaviour on the part of supporters that may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Is your answer No?”

      I am sitting down but my knees give way. Tears are falling either side of my nose. The woman with the reassuring voice says “It is.”

      And the place erupts.

      Compression asphyxia. Ninety-three times it is recorded that afternoon as the cause of death at Hillsborough. It is definitive, but it offers only a glimpse into how our supporters died, or how extensive were the failings of the police and South Yorkshire metropolitan ambulance service.

      On 15 April 1989, I walked down a tunnel into Hillsborough, and into the sunshine, thinking: “Where would you rather be on a day like this?” An hour later, at just after 3pm, I am caught somewhere between this life and the next.

      The game has kicked off. I can see people in the north stand following it with their eyes. Others are fixated on the space around me, and pointing furiously, or running down the gangways to the pitch, shouting at police officers. But they are far away. Closer, a few feet away, people are dead on their feet. The air is thick with the smell of excrement and urine. Three men are changing colour, from a pale violet to a ghostly pallor. Some have vomit streaming from their nostrils. People are weeping. Others are gibbering, trying to black out what is happening. I am 19, and I know that I am about to die.

      As my brain begins to flood my body with endorphins, I am lifted above the crowd, in a bubble of warm water. It is strangely peaceful. Then shouting: rasping, aggressive shouting. In a Yorkshire accent: “Get back you stupid bas**rds!”

      Seconds, maybe minutes later, I open my eyes again. The sky is still blue, and the police have finally come through the gate in the perimeter fence. For the first time in an hour, I am standing up, untouched. Now, as I feel my body for broken ribs or bones, a group of people in front of me – who’d had their backs to me throughout the crush, and who I thought were alive – simply keel over and hit the concrete. A heap of tangled corpses piles up off the ground, three feet high. After a few seconds, I see a limb move and realise someone is alive in there. One police officer who comes through the gate later says that the scene “was like Belsen”.

      Over the next half hour, as the police rush to get word to the BBC, the FA and Liverpool FC’s own lawyer that Liverpool fans had caused the disaster by storming the gates, I and hundreds of other survivors are kicking down advertising boards and picking up bodies. A group of us sprint to a dead man who is lying partially naked by the goalline. We put him on a board and run towards the Forest end, in search of ambulances. When none materialise, we exit the stadium via a ramp and are directed by police into the gymnasium, now a temporary mortuary.

      Behind a badminton net, rows and rows of corpses under paper sheets, a policeman’s helmet on each chest. Coppers are sat around the edge of the gym, on chairs or on the floor, sobbing, hysterical. Someone is headbutting a wall. On the floor, two or three groups of people are each tending to a casualty: some are beating their patient’s chest, furiously, or blowing air into their mouth. Another man is kneeling, cradling the head of a lad in a black jacket, rocking him backwards and forwards gently, as he weeps. “He’s my brother,” he says, sobbing. “He’s my brother.” But he isn’t waking up.

      I am holding the right hand of the dead man we picked up. It is cold, and greased in sweat. He is heavy, but I am reluctant to let him go. Someone leans over one of the casualties on the floor and begins to administer the last rites. And a voice in my head simply says: “You need to get out of here, now, otherwise you’ll go mad.”

      For the next two decades, many survivors would struggle to retain their sanity. But it wasn’t us who had lost our senses: it was the British establishment.

      Chief superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander, did not lie alone, of course: this deceit was not simply the work of a bunch of bent coppers, but the product of a political culture debased. For years, historians have routinely rubbished the 70s as the decade that shamed us – 10 years of loon pants and luminous food; Britain at its most unhinged. But Hillsborough, a stain on British history like no other, can only be fully understood as part of the Thatcher era that gave rise to it. It was she who gave political cover to the South Yorkshire police, after they attacked the miners at Orgreave in 1984 and then tried to fit up dozens of them on a charge of riot – immunity their reward for breaking the strike. And as Kenneth Clarke MP has admitted, Thatcher had declared football fans as an enemy within: not football hooligans – football fans.

      On 4 August 1989, Lord Justice Taylor produced his interim report into the causes of the disaster. He concluded that the main cause was overcrowding, and the main reason was the failure of police control. Here, essentially, was the truth the jury found in Warrington last week – laid before the public in August 1989. But the public didn’t get to see it first: Thatcher and her cabinet did.

      On 1 August 1989, the report was presented to the home secretary, Douglas Hurd, who sent an internal memo to Thatcher. The chief constable, Hurd thought, will “have to resign”, as the “enormity of the disaster, and the extent to which the inquiry blames the police, demand this”. Hurd requested Thatcher’s support for his own statement, in which he would “welcome unreservedly the broad thrust of the report”. Thatcher replied: “What do we mean by ‘welcoming the broad thrust of the report’? The broad thrust is devastating criticism of the police. Is that for us to welcome? … Surely we welcome the thoroughness of the report and its recommendations. MT”.

      And, at a stroke, justice was denied. Hurd had seen the rug pulled from under his feet. Now, he did not, could not, call for Chief Constable Peter Wright’s resignation – a move that would have left South Yorkshire police no option but to accept full responsibility. Suitably emboldened, they came out fighting, for 27 years.
       Tributes are placed at Anfield, two days after Hillsborough. Photograph: Peter Kemp/AP

      A few days after the disaster, I walk in to my doctor’s surgery. I am struggling to breathe properly, but I know, as I sit in the waiting room, that it isn’t my body that’s in need of attention.

      After half an hour I am called in by a GP – old, patrician; pinstripe suit and spectacles. I tell him, quietly, that I was at Hillsborough on Saturday and my chest hurts. Hmm, he says. He presses a stethoscope to my skin, then sits down to write a referral for an x-ray. But he does not look at me. As I button up my shirt I am looking at his bald head. Look at me, I am saying, silently. Look at me, you b***ard. But he won’t.

      Eventually, he hands over the referral while setting his eyes off to my right, and says – mumbles – “Do you… do you want to talk to anyone about this?” I pause for a few moments, then say no. I get up to go, and am almost at the door when he says: “It does look as if the Liverpool fans were to blame then, doesn’t it?” I turn to look at him, but all I feel is embarrassment – not for myself, but for him. “Oh well, good luck,” he says, brightly.

      So it is that the first professional people to talk to me after Hillsborough are the West Midlands police. The WMP were initially appointed to assist the Taylor inquiry, and were retained as advisers to the wretched coroner, Stefan Popper, at the original inquests, between late 1990 and March 1991.

      In July 1989, two plainclothes detectives arrived at my home in Stevenage. It was a Sunday, around 2pm, and the golf was on the TV. They sat me down, told me they would write down my statement by hand, and that I should then read it, and, if I was happy, sign it. So I began to tell them what had happened, and they began to laugh at me. They were soon snorting too, and yawning, and turning away to watch the golf. And nodding, sarcastically, when I told them about the failings of the police, and how they had abused our supporters as we tried to save the dead.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history

       Now they handed over my statement. “Read it and sign it, would you?”

      But I wasn’t happy. They had rewritten it; changed the meaning of certain incidents. Omitted key details. “Like what?” the officer said. Well, this happened, and this happened, I told them. He shook his head: “That didn’t happen.”

      Repeatedly, they informed me that I was mistaken; that I hadn’t seen anything significant; that where I was in the stadium wasn’t that bad, and that I would not go forward as a witness at the inquests. My account was probably best simply filed away. So if I just sign this statement, we’ll be off, and you can get on with your life.

      As I grew increasingly angry, the detective with the remote control in his hands pumped up the volume on the TV. I was shouting to be heard in my own living room, and they were trying to drown me out. Eventually, I signed that statement and they were gone. I could not have realised at the time, in the summer of 1989, that I was caught up in one of the biggest attempts to pervert the course of justice in British history. This was happening in real time. So I simply shut the front door, told them to “F**k off” under my breath, went up to my bedroom, and broke down.

      But they had planted an awful, tiny seed of doubt in my mind. Where you were wasn’t that bad. You haven’t seen anything. Your recollection is faulty. They had come to steal my truth; but worse, they had implied that I was a fantasist; that I had overreacted. I must be soft, I thought: and soft in the head, too.

      As the months and years went by, and the 1991 inquests recorded a verdict of accidental death, that little seed of doubt took root, and grew, and grew. Perhaps I was mistaken. Maybe I had overreacted. But it didn’t fit with the consistent nightmares, and the pile of corpses. It was like Belsen. Where you were wasn’t that bad.

      I woke up on the kitchen floor one day, after blacking out. I had panic attacks on packed trains. One day, around 1993 or ’94, washing up, or feeding the cat, or cleaning my teeth, I stopped up short and asked myself: “Come on, were you even at Hillsborough?”

      For years, intermittently, I would wake in a sweat that drenched the sheets. I would toss and turn so violently in my sleep that one day, I awoke with my feet on the pillow and my head hanging over the side of the bed.

      One morning in 1993, I woke up in a police cell. No longer able to contain my rage, I had kicked off at police officers in London, and been clapped in handcuffs. Now, sitting on a chair in the station, I was handed a charge sheet. Read it and sign it, they said. Ah, I said… I picked up their paperwork, and held it up to the light; turned it over, put it back on the desk. “No, I don’t think so,” I said.

      They laughed at me too, at first; then they gave me a bed, and threw the charge in the bin.

      Then it happened again, in west London, in 1996. But this time, the duty sergeant who released me the following morning sat me down before I left. Gave me a cup of tea. Asked me what I was playing at. I seized my opportunity and said, “I was at Hillsborough in 1989, and I hate coppers.” He nodded, thoughtfully, and said: “Well, I can understand that. But you can’t carry on like this. You’ll ruin your life.”

      I sat there disarmed… stumped. Finally, someone in authority had heard me. It was a two-minute conversation, no more… but I walked out of that police station a reformed character.

      On Thursday, the Hillsborough families announced they would file a lawsuit against both South Yorkshire police and the West Midlands police. But what of the freemasons, those pantomime villains of the piece? In March 2015, David Duckenfield admitted what most of us had long suspected – he had been a freemason since the mid-70s. Remarkably, he was promoted to grand master of his lodge a year after Hillsborough.
      While the masons’ role in the cover-up remains unclear – if indeed they had one – it is significant that Duckenfield sought to mitigate his gross negligence at Hillsborough by explaining that he was inexperienced as a match commander; that he had been dropped in at the deep end by Chief Constable Peter Wright. But Duckenfield was a limited officer; one who – some suspect – was only promoted to chief superintendent thanks to his masonic connections. The fact that Duckenfield was out of his depth at Hillsborough was certainly a factor in the deaths of the 96; perhaps this is the real indictment of a secret brotherhood pulling strings for people who would otherwise fail to prosper.

      There is much, now, for the public to ponder. This is the biggest cover-up in British history – or at least the largest ever exposed. And really, what was it all for? Was this crime committed, and British justice so contaminated, simply to save the reputations of a handful of incompetent or corrupt police officers? Certainly, it appears they were worth more to those in power than 96 dead football fans and their families; worth more than justice itself.

      But now the truth is out. And history will record that it was the police, and not us, who stole from the dead – they stole their lives, they stole the truth about their deaths, and they stole the next 27 years of the lives of their loved ones. They simply do not learn, the South Yorkshire police: there is a thread running from Orgreave, through Hillsborough, and on to the Rotherham child abuse scandal. There is the bill, too: their lies cost the taxpayer £18m in legal fees in Warrington. Worse: the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Operation Resolve investigations into the cover-up are expected to conclude next year at a further cost of £80m.
       
      The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice was but one part of a deceit: the other was a cultural deception. Football fans were the innocent party in this disaster, but we were then robbed of our stake in the game, and of a serious say in how it should be reformed. It was the FA who granted Hillsborough three successive FA cup semi-finals between 1987-89, despite the fact that the ground had ceased to be in possession of a valid safety certificate as of December 1981. But in 1991, the organisation signalled that it was the fans, and not itself, that should change. In its manifesto, a response to Hillsborough and the Taylor report, the FA’s Blueprint for the Future of Football stated: “the response of most sectors has been to move upmarket so as to follow the affluent middle-class consumer … in his or her pursuits or aspirations. We strongly suggest that there is a message in this for football.”

      In 1992, the FA-backed Premier League appeared. In its first, crucial deal with a TV broadcaster, it hopped into bed with BSkyB, owned by Rupert Murdoch, of course: the man ultimately responsible for the Sun’s calumny. The scum had been cut adrift.

      Elsewhere, commentators talk of all-seater stadia as “the lasting legacy of the 96”. While I accept that many of the bereaved welcome all-seater stadia, the families, more than anything, asked for justice, not a plastic seat. Moreover, the 96 died because they wanted to stand on a terrace; they believed in terrace culture. The price of a ticket for the Leppings Lane end of the stadium on 15 April 1989 was £6; a seat ticket £10 – the differential was not prohibitive. The truth is they died not because terraces are inherently unsafe, but because the Leppings Lane was unsafe.

      There is a sense now that a truth of this order must lead to change. On Tuesday, when the jury gave its determinations, BBC journalists with no personal connections to the disaster broke down in court and wept. It is not simply that the jury had got everything right – a remarkable achievement, given the complexity of the case: it is that Hillsborough was never simply a football disaster; it is the tragedy of this country in the 1980s. An entire class of people abandoned by those in power; a police force politicised, who literally turned their backs on people as they screamed for their lives; the transformation of a sport that was a culture into a rapacious, globalised business – sold off to the middle class, on the basis of a monumental injustice.

      On Tuesday night, I went to the Ship and Mitre pub in Liverpool. At 9pm we walked in to the sound of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Around me, survivors, journalists, the bereaved: singing, drinking, laughing; falling flat on their arses, pissed, and getting up again. A community of people, enjoying the quiet satisfaction that they might just have exposed the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history.

      There was satisfaction, too, in the fact that Thatcher had once again been undone: for if, as she claimed, there was no such thing as society, then how had this justice been won, and our country made the better for it? Our most important tools, as campaigners, were each other; the fact we stuck together as a community. It is no coincidence that no other city rejected Thatcherism to the same degree as Liverpool. The likes of Bernard Ingham, Boris Johnson and Simon Heffer disdain the idea of communities holding together, for fear we might take the powerful to task. And we have. Now accountability must follow. Just as old age did not save celebrity sex offenders from prison, nor should it spare former police officers and others who have conspired to pervert the course of justice on such a scale, and to sustain the lie over 27 years. It would be absurd if the passage of time were their defence now.

      It would be false to write that all is sweetness and light in Liverpool this week. There is a great deal of anger and frustration among the survivors I know; it will take months, perhaps years to subside. Perhaps it never will. Similarly, this justice is one of the great moments of my life, but it will not bring closure; because for many people who have suffered deep trauma, the notion of closure is false. It presumes that once traumatised, you are set off on a straight path; that if you simply keep going, then one day, eventually, you will reach a finish line. Cross it, and you have won. But post-traumatic stress condemns you to a circular track, on which you must simply keep going, round and round, for ever. The going might become easier, but there is no finish line. All you can hope to do is accommodate your trauma into your life as best you can. And if you do that, then you have won.

      Hillsborough will always be part of who I am and how I live. It is a torment and a privilege: having come so close to dying at 19, I haven’t wasted my life. And I count so many wonderful people as friends. I am satisfied that I have been part of a campaign, as a journalist and a supporter, to expose this terrible truth. And I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to six women and three men from Warrington whose names I do not know. They have restored my faith in the country I live in; and in the idea of justice.

      And then there is Jenni Hicks. After we had both stood on the steps of St George’s Hall in Liverpool, at Wednesday evening’s vigil, in front of a crowd of 30,000, we retired to the Shankly hotel for a quiet drink, with families and survivors and campaigners. Jenni was gracious, as ever. In her hand, she held two red roses, for the daughters she lost. And she hugged me and told me that without justice for the fans, an unlawful killing verdict would have been meaningless to the families. I sat there with two brilliant Hillsborough campaigners, Jim Sharman and Chris Lightbown, and we watched her go into the night – go home with her two red roses. And we raised a glass to Sarah and Victoria, and to 94 other Liverpool fans, that they might rest in peace.

      For on 26 April 2016, we rewrote history. We made history. After 27 years and 11 days, finally, we got justice for the 96.

      http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/may/01/hillsborough-inquest-survivor-adrian-tempany

      Adrian Tempany’s book, And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain, is published by Faber on 2 June. Extract: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/08/how-football-lost-touch-young-fans

      That's a fantastic read thanks for sharing and well in on the milestone .

      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Excellent Pieces Regarding Hillsborough In The Media
      Reply #21: May 01, 2016 10:54:08 pm
      HILLSBOROUGH: THE MEDIA LET THE COUNTRY DOWN FOR 27 YEARS – AND I’M ASHAMED
      by Tony Barrett 1 May 2016

      IN the course of my life, I’ve been in the fortunate position of being able to have a number of debates with Jimmy McGovern, a close family friend and someone I respect above all others.

      The first took place in a Transit van on the way back to Merseyside from a weekend at Barnsley Workers’ College with the Scotland Road Writers’ Workshop, an organisation of which my late dad, Eddie, was a member.

      It was 1984 and the miners’ strike was at its height. Being an idealistic eight year old from a fiercely political, even more fiercely left-wing family, I had all the answers. The assassination of Thatcher, Tebbitt, Ian McGregor and various other unmentionables was high on my agenda, as was a revolution that would usher in a socialist state run by the kind of people we had just spent a couple of days with in West Yorkshire. For whatever reason, kindness to an impressionable child, friendship to my father or whatever, Jimmy indulged me, listening to my rant and injecting the occasional bit of common sense on the rare occasions I paused for breath.

      More recently, before going to see Tony Benn’s Will and Testament at St George’s Hall we met at a pub on London Road and there was another debate, this time about Scottish independence. We did not agree on everything, but on the broad issue of what we wanted to happen there was consensus — we both wanted Scotland to go its own way for its own good but mainly because we both wanted to see a rocket fired up the arse of the English establishment. As with the miners’ strike 30 years earlier, we never got the outcome that we wanted.

      But the conversation with Jimmy that sticks in my mind most was one that took place around a decade ago. The topic was Hillsborough and its various villains were all eviscerated. But then Jimmy said something that, as a journalist, jolted me. “We know about South Yorkshire Police, the FA, The Ambulance Service, the Tory government and all the rest,” he said. “But what about the media? What about the tradition of investigative journalism in this country? Where was the investigative journalism after Hillsborough?”

      It is a question that haunts me because I know there isn’t an answer to it, not a good one anyway. The truth, to borrow a sometimes misused phrase, is that in the main the investigative journalism that needed to be done, the search for facts and the holding of authority to account, was carried out by grieving families and their supporters. If there is a more damning indictment of my own industry I cannot think of one. With obvious honourable exceptions — the peerless Brian Reade and David Conn in particular — journalists in this country failed the Hillsborough families, the 96 victims and those who survived the tragedy. It is a disgrace that we should all face up to.

      The easy thing would be to hide behind the despicable Kelvin MacKenzie, but given he is still finds employment in the very industry that should shun him it is hard to accept that his attitudes and his brand of journalism are unique to him. Indeed, there are still those within the media, even this very weekend when the lies have only just been nailed, who continue to argue that Liverpool fans must bear some responsibility for what happened at Hillsborough. Such beliefs are espoused not after attending a two-year long inquest, scrutinising the evidence and reaching a verdict as a jury member, but as a columnist who has to have his/her say regardless of how little research they have done. It is rancid and it is indefensible.

      But arguably more damaging than the things the media has done — the scandalous front page accusing fans of killing their own, of stealing from the dead and urinating on them; the vicious, ill-informed opinion pieces; the failure, even as recently as this week, to appreciate the gravity of the situation and give it the presence it deserves — it is what we didn’t do that was most damaging to the fight for justice. We didn’t do the basics of our jobs. We didn’t question authority as much as we should have done. We didn’t give a voice to the voiceless when they needed it most. In our research we did not go to the lengths that Professor Phil Scraton and Anne Williams went to to discover how the 96 victims came to die.

      To borrow a phrase used at the inquests, we are guilty of negligence by omission. Whenever major organisations make grave errors in public life, the done thing is to trot out some trite nonsense about how this will never happen again because lessons will be learned. The problem with the modern media is it is yet to accept the extent of its own failings where Hillsborough is concerned so we are not yet even at the stage of trite pledges.

      There is a sense of denial, a willingness to highlight the failings of others rather than shining a light on our own and a hope that if Brian Reade and David Conn keep on fighting the good fight they will cover up the rest of our inadequacies. Now, more than ever, though, there is a need for everyone to face up to their own responsibilities.

      If the national media, and particularly the print media, is to survive the post-Leveson era, then the sometimes cosy relationships between journalists (some, but not all) and authority figures need to be smashed once and for all.
      For 27 years we let down the Hillsborough families and I, for one, am ashamed.

      Jimmy, if you are reading this, you were right. End of debate.

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