People of Liverpool never gave up search for Hillsborough truth

Sep 13, 2012

Opinion Digest: the Hillsborough police scandal and why families now need inquests to be re-opened

The extensive cover-up that obscured the truth about the Hillsborough disaster has to be “one of the greatest scandals of modern history”, writes Jane Merrick in The Independent. The scale of the disaster meant that everyone in the city knew someone who was killed or injured. For Merrick it was 14-year-old Philip Hammond, a skinny, blond-haired child whose blood was tested for alcohol to somehow prove that he and other Liverpool fans were drunk and therefore to blame for the deadly crush. The attitude which prompted this line of investigation still persists today as the people of Liverpool face deep-seated prejudices from politicians and the commentariat. We are hooligans and thieves, says Merrick, wallowing in our own grief and obsessing over our status as victims. Or so they say. As David Cameron belatedly apologises for the terrible events of 15 April 1989, the real heroes of this story are the people of Liverpool who never gave up on their long and painful search for the truth.


Yesterday’s independent report into the Hillsborough disaster has proved once and for all that the Liverpool fans were the true heroes on a day when politicians and a warped media “conspired to instigate a cover-up that would smear a city and its people”, writes Steve Rotheram in the New Statesman. But exoneration is not enough and the Hillsborough families cannot accept the coroner’s verdicts of “accidental death”. The new report has proved that many of the victims would have survived if the authorities had acted quicker. This revelation brings with it renewed demands for justice and families will now appeal for the Attorney General to make an application to the High Court for the inquests to be reopened and a new cause of death to be determined. Now that the truth has been ascertained, it is time for justice to be delivered.

The western powers who championed Nato’s intervention in Libya should have seen Tuesday’s tragic events in Benghazi coming, writes Simon Tisdall in The Guardian. Ultra-conservative Salafists are the most likely culprits, but no matter who the immediate perpetrators were, responsibility must also be traced back to those in London, Paris, and Washington who launched their intervention mission with “insouciant disregard for the consequences”. US ambassador Christopher Stevens’s death is a tragic reminder of what should have been obvious during that heady rush of international diplomacy. Toppling Gaddafi was never going to be the difficult part - that would come next. Now efforts must be made to stop Libya degenerating into a violent free-for-all. A power struggle is under way between the army and well-armed militia groups. The state remains weak, unable to fill the power vacuum in which extremist ideology and foreign influence can flourish.

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