MacKenzie demands apology from police over Hillsborough
Incredulity as former Sun editor calls in lawyers over 'personal vilification' on Merseyside
REPORTS that Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, is demanding an apology from South Yorkshire police for 'misleading' him over the Hillsborough tragedy have provoked outrage and incredulity.
The man behind the infamous headline 'The Truth', which was written above a story claiming Liverpool fans urinated on the dead, stole from victims and attacked police, says that he has suffered "personal vilification" on Merseyside because of police efforts to cover up the circumstances of the disaster, which were exposed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel earlier this month.
Now he is seeking recompense for "the lies their officers told".
A blog on The Spectator's website announced that an article by MacKenzie would appear in the print edition of the magazine this week. "MacKenzie tells of police patrols being increased around his house and the physical danger he faces in the city of Liverpool," it says.
The article also quotes from MacKenzie's piece. He writes: "It took 23 years, two inquiries, one inquest and research into 400,000 documents, many of which were kept secret under the 30-year no-publication rule, to discover there was a vast cover-up by South Yorkshire Police about the disaster. Where does that leave me?"
In his piece MacKenzie also claims that the attacks on The Sun in Liverpool had more to do with its support of the Thatcher government than they did on the paper's coverage of Hillsborough, and he reasserts his claim that his was not the only paper to run the "copper-bottomed" story about the behaviour of fans, which came from a news agency in Sheffield.
Guardian media blogger Roy Greenslade said MacKenzie was now "fighting back" over the Hillsborough affair. Commenters on the Spectator and other websites had a rather less charitable view of MacKenzie's demands as Twitter went into overdrive.
"Even now, Kelvin Mackenzie doesn't get it. It did not take 23 years to prove The Sun on Hillsborough was lies. Taylor report said so in 1989," said Guardian football writer David Conn.
Others were more frank. Comedian Jeremy Hardy commented: "Beneath the preening arrogance of a bully lies a snivelling, self-pitying milksop." Times football writer Tony Barrett described him as "the ultimate troll" and another user summed up the feelings of many by calling him a "stupendous bellend".