Enough Whiney Scouse Voices Already: Some Perspective On Hillsborough.

Earlier today Raedwald posted:

In the Mail this morning I recommend Peter Oborne’s account of the aftermath of the Hillsborough findings. Like Oborne, I too believed plod’s account at the time (a lying travesty of evasion, distortion, invention and calculated dishonesy) which shamefuly the plods’ lawyers even tried to maintain at the inquest. It wasn’t as if I was stupid or naive or even trusted Plod; I’d trained as a mining engineer in south Yorkshire when the coal miners went on strike, and I’d seen at first hand the real suffering of folk in the pit villages around Doncaster and the bastardy of the drafted-in plods – Maggie’s Army. I’d been stopped on the A1 regularly on the Friday night drive home to Suffolk every time plod spotted my safety gear in the car and knew what it felt like to be seconds away from the primitive threat of thuggish violence if you gave the wrong response, or cheeked them. One learned to be humble, contrite, apologetic and big-up the southern middle class accent.

I came across the same plods, this time experienced and combat-hardened, during the Wapping dispute in London. Driving from central to south London via Blackwall Tunnel meant running the gauntlet of checkpoints, and vans full of armoured plods with clubs round every corner. So when Hillsborough happened, I had no reasons to imagine plod was a creature elevated in any way from the extinct neanderthal primates. Yet I did believe their Hillsborough lies – that the fans were drunk, rowdy, that they were out of control, had rioted, and the 96 dead were none of Plod’s fault. God forgive me.

I fear Raedwald is too hard on himself.

It’s been obvious from very early on the police were involved in a cover up. It’s what organisations do when things go badly wrong, whether they are government or business organisations.

To exonerate ‘the fans’ completely however is an anti – cover up. First of all criticisms of the fans behaviour, such as those voiced by the late Brian Clough were spun by Liverpool political figures and much of the media as if they accused the fans who died and were injured were somehow to blame. In fact those people who were killed or injured or were simply subjected to a terrifying experience were well behaved people who had bought their tickets and gone into the ground in an orderly way. There was no suggestion they were responsible in any way for the crowd problems.

In the past few days we’ve been treated to a parade of whining voices trying to claim there were no drunken people in the crowd. I don’t believe that, if its true then it was the first big match crowd ever where nobody arrived the worse for drink.

We all saw the television news coverage of Liverpool fans who had arrived without tickets trying to smash down one of the large exit gates, presumably to get into the ground free, so it cannot honestly be said fans were not in any way responsible. The human battering ram trick, which I only saw on TV that day but witnessed in person at Old Trafford, Man. City’s old ground, Maine Road, Bolton’s Burnden Park, and Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park, was a speciality of Liverpool and Everton fans at the time. It may have been employed elswhere, most of the big teams in the 1970s and 80s had their share of hooligans.

As for the notion currently being peddled by the media that Liverpool football fans at the time were angels, two words, Heysel Stadium

Can anyone really blame the cops (whatever we might think of them and I’m no fan) for panicking on seeing that nightmare unfolding? Unfortunately in panic, the worst possible decision, to open the gate, was made. It’s perhaps worth pointing out for the sake of perspective that in the USA and in most of Europe, if sports fans behaved in that way and did not disperse when the police told them to, the cops would have started shooting.

If there is any culpability, as has been said elsewhere in the threat, it must lie with the Football Association because they chose to play a very big match where passions were bound to be high, at a dilapidated ground in an unsuitable location.

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6 thoughts on “Enough Whiney Scouse Voices Already: Some Perspective On Hillsborough.

  1. Police or fans? Who do you believe?

    As with most things I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in the middle but hey! We need somebody to blame because its never our fault is it?

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  2. This is an anti-whitewash. I am fully prepared to accept that some police are bent, some are thugs, some are liars, some are psychopaths, some are members of secretive organisations, and some are any combination of those.

    But the fans innocent? Maybe most were. But I remember having to cross the street in fear to escape drunken thugs who were football fans. I worked with a lout who killed another fan (and went to jail for it, but only for a couple of years). Effectively the centre of town was a no-go area with thrown toilet rolls, cans and stones; pissing in the street; and intimidation. I used to play football as a kid but what was rife in the 1970s and 1980s made me loathe the ghastly game.

    It appears that football has cleaned up its act in the last couple of decades, but 30-40 years ago a match was an excuse for a drunken brawl. Thank God for the police back then. Maybe, back then, most of the police were decent people pissed off with being permanently on the firing line.

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  3. How about the politicians Dioclese?

    For it was they that treated these fans as pigs to be caged…

    They control plod, and they control the press, and it is the Sun that to this day is not bought in Liverpool.

    It is the politicians that are currently replaying the same tune… The crowd is getting unruly, lets tell a big pile of lies and sow some doubt…

    Make them support us and vote to remain chained to the establishment corporatist system.

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  4. The fans were caged because at the time there was a huge problem of violence among fans. And liverpool were by no means exempt. Heysel?

    So yes, I am shocked and even slightly surprised by teh extent of the rozzers’ lying and incompetence, but hey this is the south yorks force – probably teh worst in the country.

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  5. My fellow scousers are guilty of many things but thank god for the sentimental maudlin streak that animates the city, 27 years is a long time to fight,the families did us all a favour showing just what can be done to those that would ignore us.

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  6. My thoughts align with much of your post but have a great deal of sympathy for Budgie’s view.
    I don’t personally know of any major cover-ups, other than those now well-publicised ones, but I have been “caught” 4 times with Road Traffic violations (none of which proceeded to a charge) and one of which still rankles with me.
    BUT: remember that the verdict was on a 7 to 2 majority. There must have been good reasons why the 2 disagreed and especially so as they would have felt under pressure from the other 7 – or maybe (yes, my speculation) the 5 adamant ones and the other 2 who gave in easily.
    Also: I worked in a factory in Liverpool for 3 years in the mid-80s and there were repeated occasions when some of the workers* would boast that they got into all Div’n 1 (as was) grounds without paying. Arrive early; get tanked-up; charge the weakest gate with Dutch courage 5 minutes before the start. Always works!
    *Workers? A considerable proportion were always looking for ways to get time off – the slightest grounds; nearly always helped by the on-site union rep. (The dog ate my homework wasn’t in it.) The majority were not like that but (as the Russians say) a spoonful of tar ruins a barrel of honey.
    What I suspect happened was that the police at that time – one of much hooliganism – were prepared to take a strong line – to “draw a line in the sand”; whatever that took – with tragic consequences, especially as the criminal few got off scot-free and were probably not directly involved in any of the deaths.

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