Friday, August 19, 2011

Hillsborough: Justice Needs The Truth

More than twenty years on from the Hillsborough disaster and still, it seems, attempts will be made to deny those who most need the truth the access they demand and deserve.

The BBC reports:

"The government is appealing against an order to release cabinet discussions from the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster.

"Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held meetings about the tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

"Information commissioner Christopher Graham has ruled that the information is in the public interest." (More)

Something to hide? The official line is that the Hillsborough independent inquiry must run its course.

Yet given the horrors surrounding that day in Sheffield, the way those who survived and those who lost loved ones have struggled to have their voices heard it's hard to understand the government's stance.

Hard also not to feel that there are victims here who have been ignored, palmed off and treated with disdain by successive governments. And that's a wrong that this government - whatever the motives for their intransigence - don't seem keen to put right.

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign released this statement:

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign is disgusted but not surprised by the government’s decision to appeal the release of information to the BBC. The fact that it quotes the Hillsborough Independent panel’s work and ‘public interest’ as the reasons to appeal is both illogical and disingenuous. It states that information should be “managed through the panel’s processes”; in what way will the information be ‘managed’? Why is there a need to ‘manage‘ the truth? If the panel is committed to the true facts being revealed then why is there such concern regarding the BBC revealing those facts?

The panel does not have a moral right to ownership of the facts.

The issue seems to be that the BBC would make public the contents of the cabinet meeting minutes immediately, whereas the panel will not release any information before 2012. The government’s action in appealing the decision indicates the close working relationship between itself and the ‘independent’ panel. The decision appears to us as a policing exercise that is not in the best interests of those most affected by the Disaster.

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign will now have to seriously reconsider the relationship it has with the panel. Of paramount concern to the campaign is that the panel, via the government, should seek to police that truth in this way.
(Anfield Road)

Two decades later and those that matter are still being ignored.

This is something that should unite us as football fans. That's neatly summed up on Twohundredpercent:

"As Paul Nuttall, the UKIP North-West Member of the European Parliament (and, as such, not a man that those of us that write this site would often agree with) said in response, 'Revealing the facts on Hillsborough is hardly a matter of national security, it is a matter of natural justice.'" (More)

96 lives lost.

And still there appears to be a disdain for those who matter the most. This isn't about a BBC story, about political point scoring, about the principles of freedom of information.

It's about a political elite finally doing the right thing.

It's about those 96 football fans and the scores left behind whose lives would never be the same again.

You can do your bit by signing this petition in support of the release of these documents.