Hillsborough - a good day to exhume bad news?

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 Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

The crush is said to have resulted from too many Liverpool fans being allowed in to the back of an already full stand at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

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 Liverpool fans 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.


moorlandhunter said...

It is a political fudge by Labour to cover up the thrashing they getting at the moment.
If they want to revisit this as being of national importance then why not have a full public enquiry with all the available evidence as to why Tony Blair and Labour, including Brown took us to war in Iraq on lies?
Why should the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis and the deaths of over hundred of our service people be of less importance than Hillsbrough dead?
I know why, becasue Labour do not want the focus of blame and corruption to keep on them. Far better to drag up something we already know and the Police admit was wrong!

T. P. Greatorex said...

Are there more worms per can? Or is just a matter of numerous worm filled cans? Likewise skeletons and closets?
Only asking.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of getting a copy of the Culham report about Dunblane at the same time?

Thought not.

May be the Tories will do it when they come to power. After all a precedent has now been set.

strapworld said...

But, I do know that Maggie, when she attended Hillsborough on the Sunday, gave instructions that Liverpool fans were NOT to be blamed in any way!!

So I doubt if it can backfire against Maggie.

But the reports in The Sun at the time- which caused a boycott of that paper in Liverpool- can be supported by statements- if they are ever released!!