Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough: 'The Truth Is Great!'

WHEN the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 Jim Pinkerton declared:  'The Truth is Great!'.  Jim, then a copy taker on the Sunday People in Manchester and a supporter of Manchester United and Ashton United, made this declaration in classical Latin.  The Hillsborough disaster in South Yorkshire also occurred in 1989, and the relatives of the victims of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster, must be feeling the same way now the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel has been released today by the Right Reverend James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool. 

This afternoon, the Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to Parliament following the release of previously unseen documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster.  Admitting that the new report's findings are 'deeply distressing' Mr. Cameron pointed to three areas of concern:
i)  The failure of the authorities to help protect people.
ii)  The attempt to blame the fans.
iii)  The doubt cast on the original coroner's inquest.

Most importantly, David Cameron said:  'The families have long believed that some of the authorities attempted to create a completely unjust account of events that sought to blame the fans for what happened.'  He continued:  'Mr Speaker, the families were right.  The evidence in today's report includes briefings to the media and attempts by police to change the record of events.'   Media reports at the time were fed with false allegations about the Liverpool fans:  'Several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead.'  In particular, Mr. Cameron singled out The Sun and News International for special comment:  'The Sun's report sensationalised these allegations under the banner headline "THE TRUTH".'  'This', said Mr. Cameron, 'was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt.'  It was found that it was part of the efforts of the Yorkshire police to 'develop and publicise a version of events that focused on allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence.' 

Also the report found that police reports were significantly altered in 164 cases and according to David Cameron: '[in] 116 (there were attempts to) explicitly removed negative comments about the policing operation- including lack of leadership.'

Expect more on this matter.

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