The victims of the Hillsborough disaster and their families are being used as a political football. The opening of these files raises the possibility of raising the spectre of Mrs Thatcher, still to some an object of hatred and fear. But first the back story:
In 1989, 96 fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield during the FA Cup semi-final between
The crush is said to have resulted from too many
And now, according to a report in the Guardian,
The Home Office said the documents could be released 10 years earlier than would normally be permitted after a request by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith. It is understood that Smith has spoken to Meredydd Hughes, the chief constable of
South Yorkshire, to discuss waiving the 30-year rule.
Smith said: "The government is committed to helping those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough tragedy. That is why I will be working with the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the attorney general's office to put out any information that exists that could shed light on the disaster ... as soon as possible."
The Guardian revealed last week that two ministers, Andy Burnham and Maria Eagle, the junior justice minister, would ask for full disclosure of all public bodies' documentation relating to Hillsborough.
The Southport Visitor reports:
The documents could finally reveal once and for all who was at fault for the death of the 96
Liverpoolfans who died.
Mrs Steele, from
Truro Avenue, Marshside, told the Visiter: “I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know what the files will reveal, but somewhere, something is going to come out and I think Margaret Thatcher’s minutes are the key.”
The practice of keeping state documents secret is an established practice. I will not go into the arguments here, for and against, but I find it interesting that the Government is making an exception in this case.
Could it be that these documents will be revealed at a convenient moment for Labour? Will they raise the spectre of Mrs Thatcher, who is still regarded by many as someone you can frighten children with?
Although I understand the personal tragedy, what is it about this case that has attracted the attention of Government Ministers? Is it a noble desire to give closure to grieving relatives, or something more cynical and mendacious.
Could it be, that in releasing these documents, political capital will be made and once more Mrs Thatcher will become a timely reminder, to some, of why they should not vote Conservative at the next election?
Let us not forget, this game works both ways. If Labour are intent upon opening cans of worms, the next, Tory Administration can do likewise, and believe me, there are a lot more cans, a lot more worms, a lot more skeletons and a lot more closets.