Hillsborough: Finally Justice, Now Accountability

by Ray_North on April 27, 2016

Unknown-1For years, some Manchester United fans have engaged in an invidious little chant aimed at Liverpool fans that goes, ‘always the victim, never to blame.’

Well, finally, that chant should be put to rest – Liverpool fans were the victims, and they are not to blame. The decision of the jury at the Hillsborough inquest exonerated Liverpool fans, declaring that they were in no way to blame for the tragedy that unfurled at the FA Cup semi-final of 1989, instead, according to the verdict, the blame lay fairly and squarly on the shoulders of the South Yorkshire Police, who unlawfully killed the fans through gross negligence.

I have to admit, that I didn’t expect that verdict: perhaps, years waiting for juries to return verdicts has scarred me, but, I feared that the standard of proof required to pass a verdict of unlawful killing might be too high, indeed, I even doubted whether that would be the right verdict – but, on reflection, I was wrong and I underestimated the jury: the verdict was entirely correct, and the jury should be applauded for taking two years out of their lives to listen to, understand and be brave enough to deliver the right verdict.

But, what next?

It still doesn’t feel quite over. It’s all very well the South Yorkshire Police and Derek Duckenfield putting out statements uttering their ‘heartfelt apologies’ – but, I’m afraid they count for nothing, the families of the deceased, the fans of Liverpool, indeed the whole City, demands and should expect proper accountability – and that means a criminal prosecution in the Crown Court, because crimes have been committed here.

First, there is the obvious crime of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence, following the inquest’s verdict, there can be absolutely no reason now for the CPS not to indict the South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club for the offence of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence; the FA and the Ambulance Service, may also find themselves in the dock. And alongside them, should be those who held high office at the time – just as a Managing Director will carry the can for his companies criminal negligence, then the Chief Superintendent of a Police Force, in this case, Mr Duckenfield should similarly find his name on the charge sheet.

But, there are other offences at large as well – the Police altered statements, gave misleading information to the press and lied at inquests, public hearings and investigations – charges of Perverting the Course of Justice, Contempt of Court and the very serious Misfeasance in a Public Office should now follow.

The investigating authorities should also be allowed to look into the activities of the Number 10 Press Office and the Home Office, because if they knowingly colluded in the act of propagating lies that were eventually repeated in a Court of Law, then, they too may have questions to answer, though, I concede that this may be tricky.

Finally, of course, there is the Murdoch media – even last night, the Sun and The Times were stubbornly refusing to run the story about Hillsborough on their front page, in what was a demonstration of Murdoch at his most arrogant, sticking up two defiant and bony fingers at the people of Liverpool, the grieving families and the whole system of British justice.

It is difficult to imagine how, in reality, the Murdoch empire can be brought to account over this, I only hope that his comeuppance will come in the Court of public opinion when people finally stop buying his newspapers and watching his TV channels.

The people of Liverpool will never ‘get over’ Hillsborough, they are a wonderfully sentimental people; they care deeply about injustice and they protect their own. These are characteristics that I admire in them, characteristics that Boris Johnson wouldn’t even begin to understand when he infamously told the people to ‘move on’. I just hope that, from now on, they can grieve for their dead with a sense of pride that when people tried to blame them, they never ever rolled over and gave up but fought for what was right and, ultimately, they won.

The Hillsborough 96 will never walk alone.

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Last night in the House of Lords, Lord Alf Dubs tabled an amendment to the Immigration Bill allowing for 3000 unaccompanied Syrian Children, who had fled from one of the worst areas of conflagration on the planet, to be allowed into this country.

UnknownThe Tories opposed the amendment and it was subsequently defeated.

3000 children will now remain in transit camps awaiting an extremely uncertain future – no doubt, some of them will be ok and will be rehoused and find true stability and love, but the real danger for many hundreds of these children is that life in the camps of Northern Europe will, at best, see them institutionalised never to properly leave, and at worst see them becoming prey to worst kind of abuse involving people traffickers, slave labour and boy soldiers back in the places they have fled from.

These are children.

The Tories argued that we couldn’t afford to look after these children – which, given that we are the supposedly five richest economy in the world is an argument that is as heartless as it is baseless; others argued that we would be opening up floodgates to tens of thousands of others – well, frankly, so be it: for me i’d rather us be overcrowded with thousands of children who we are striving to help, than watch a single child condemned by our viciousness; another argument was that others should help as we’ve done enough – well this isn’t an argument, it’s an excuse, and a shameful one at that.

I’m a proud Welshman, a proud Brit; on the whole I think of our nation and its people as compassionate, clever and resourceful – but, the decision of the Government to oppose Alf Dubs amendment and say no to 3000 children has left me, for the first time, embarrassed and ashamed by my country.

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Week 16: Villain – Zac Goldsmith

April 25, 2016

Last week’s Villain of the week award went to Tory Mayoral Candidate, Zac Goldsmith. Zac Goldsmith was billed as the clean cut, attractive face of modern Toryism: young, popular, charming, intelligent, seemingly normal and cosmopolitan. Indeed, he once triumphed, or appeared to, a breed of enviro-friendly Conservatism, something that kind of went the same way […]

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#1074: 1987, Prince, Sign ‘☮’ The Times

April 25, 2016

Prince RIP. Prince was quite possibly the most difficult artist to pigeonhole. Throughout his incredible career, he was a musical magpie hopping around rock, pop, R&B, funk, soul, jazz, blues, disco and gospel. Personally, like most people, I love his imperial phase through the 1980s – where he produced some of the best albums of […]

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Week 17: Prat – Eamonn Holmes

April 25, 2016

This week’s prat award goes to Eamonn Holmes for saying that Prince was “more of a girls’ artist” and that “men couldn’t relate to his flamboyancy.” A comment straight out of the straightjacket of the 1950s. His comment alludes to a number of Luddite options – that being a girls’ artist is in some way […]

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Week 15: Prat – David Cameron

April 25, 2016

The winner of Week 15′s Prat of the Week is…. our Prime Minister, HHJ David Cameron. First, big apologies this should have been posted a couple of weeks ago when this story was fresh and causing a fair bit of wobbling amongst the Tory hierarchy. Alas, we were a bit Labour-like in our failure to […]

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Week 15: Hero – Bruce Springsteen

April 24, 2016

The Hero of the Week Award  for Week 15 goes to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen for his principled stance against bigotry A couple of months ago the City of Charlotte in North Carolina passed a city ordinance outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.  This brought a swift reaction from the Republicans and the Christian […]

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Week 14: Hero – Governor Jerry Brown

April 24, 2016

The Hero of the Week Award for Week 14 went to Democratic Governor of California, Jerry Brown (and the Democratic controlled legislature) ‘I am Governor Jerry Brown, my aura smiles, but never frowns….’ So goes the first line of California Uber Alles the blistering first single from West Coast Hard Core legends, The Dead Kennedys. […]

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Week 13: Hero – Johan Cruyff

April 24, 2016

The Hero of the Week Award for Week 13 went to Dutch footballing phenomenon, Johan Cruyff You may have noticed a drying up of regular postings on this site.  That is because both the regular contributors to it have been all more than unusually busy with work and life stuff and also because with a […]

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Week 16: Prat – Nigel Farage

April 23, 2016

The UKIP leader again wins our Prat of the Week award for outstanding idiocy We learned something new about the Brexit-ers this week: they are pretty ignorant of history, particularly US history. We had the increasingly ridiculous Boris Johnson accuse Barack Obama of hypocrisy for making the case for the UK to remain in the […]

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Jeremy Corbyn is growing into the job of Labour Leader

April 18, 2016

“I actually paid more tax than some companies owned by people he might now quite well.” Jeremy Corbyn, PMQs, April 13th, 2016 There. In a nutshell. Jeremy Corbyn uttered quite possibly the most witheringly perfect slap down of David Cameron and George Osborne’s grubby tax arrangements. “You know what he is really jealous of? That […]

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#1073: 2016, Iggy Pop, Gardenia

April 18, 2016

Gardenia comes from Iggy Pop’s recently released superb album Post Pop Depression. It is quite possibly the most David Bowie Berlin era sounding song ever recorded by someone who isn’t David Bowie. Iggy Pop co-wrote and recorded the album with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and it completely recaptures his Berlin era collaborations […]

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Week 16: Hero – Liverpool FC

April 18, 2016

Liverpool Football Club are our heroes of the week for coming back from 3-1 down to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in the Quarter Finals of the Europa League. There is something rather special about big European football nights at Anfield. Liverpool have a gluttonous back catalogue of glorious European triumphs and have now reached a […]

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Week 15: Villain – Caffe Nero

April 11, 2016

This week, coffee chain Caffe Nero receives our regular award for villainy I have a minor confession – amongst my weaknesses arising from my ridiculously sweet tooth is the Sicilian Lemon Cheescake served by Caffe (with two ‘f’s) Nero. Frankly, if I’ve been shopping somewhere and fancy a tea afterwards, there is nothing better than a […]

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#1072: 1969, Merle Haggard, Hungry Eyes

April 6, 2016

Country legend Merle Haggard sadly died today, on his 79th birthday, from pneumonia complications. Somehow, we have got to song 1072 without a song by the Hag, and so this tribute is well over due. Haggard often gets a bad rap from the left: his most iconic song, Okie from Muskogee about a conservative Oklahoman view […]

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Week 14: Villain, Sajid Javid

April 5, 2016

Thiss week’s Villain is the Minister for Trade, Sajid Javid. About twenty minutes drive from me is Shotton Steelworks, I pass it when I take my family for walks at the wonderful Wepre Park – Wepre Park is a beautiful natural valley with a wonderful 14th Century castle lying ruined at the top of the […]

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Week 14: Prat – Paul Dacre

April 4, 2016

  Prat of the week goes to Daily Mail editor, and arch Eurosceptic, Paul Dacre for receiving £88,000 in EU subsidies in 2014. Pot kettle, kettle pot. The editor of a newspaper that is the self proclaimed hater of all things EU goes “cap” in hand to Brussels. Paul Dacre has an estate on which […]

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Week 13: Prat – Allison Pearson

March 28, 2016

Our prat of the week goes to columnist Allison Pearson for tweeting this immediately after the terrorist attacks on Brussels: @allisonpearson Brussels, de facto capital of the EU, is also the jihadist capital of Europe. And the Remainers dare to say we’re safer in the EU! #Brexit Classy eh? Making political capital out of a […]

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Week 13: Villain – ISIS

March 28, 2016

This week, the bloody atrocities carried out by Islamic State and its offshoots in Brussels and Lahore make them our villains of the week We had a debate this week on who our villain would be. Unlike other weeks, it clearly was not going to be a domestic politician – both candidates have been responsible […]

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Week 12: Hero – Barack Obama

March 22, 2016

This week’s hero is the President of the USA, Barack Obama. At the moment when I think of Barry O, I think two things: first, I think, (scrunched up disappointed face), ‘oh what a disappointment that was,’ then, I think, ‘fuck me, I wish he was staying for another term.’ History will probably, just about, […]

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Week 12: Prat – Jeremy Corbyn

March 21, 2016

This week, the Labour Party leader wins our dubious award for being the most significant prat of the last seven days Before being too unkind, I want to say that I want Jeremy Corbyn to succeed. I think I am the only one of the regular contributors to this blog to have been to my […]

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Week 12: Villain – George Osborne

March 21, 2016

This week’s villain award goes to George Osborne for overseeing the collapse of his 2016 Budget statement due to the bitterness surrounding disability cuts and the subsequent resignation of Iain Duncan Smith. For one of the few times in his gilded political career, George Osborne is in a marginalised position of weakness. When he sat […]

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#1071: 2012, Savages, Husbands

March 19, 2016

2016 has been a busy old time for us all here at All That’s Left one way and another in our lives beyond this blog, hence our frankly shameful lack of output this year. For me, it has also meant that I haven’t been to any gigs this year until Thursday. But what a great […]

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Week 11: Hero – New Zealand

March 15, 2016

This week’s Hero of the Week is New Zealand for showing the world the way on zero hours contracts The government of New Zealand is a one of the centre-right, led by Prime Minister John Key since 2008. His National Party is the master of all it surveys, crushing the opposition Labour Party in the […]

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Week 11: Prat – Maria Sharapova

March 15, 2016

This week’s prat award goes to the Women’s Tennis star, Maria Sharapova. Just when you thought you had a good handle about which performancing enhancing drugs you could and couldn’t take, the next time you are putting in your training for whichever Olympic event you are currently considering, a new one comes along. This time […]

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So, are you still a unilateralist?

March 15, 2016

I pose this question because, for the first time in a few decades the issue of nuclear weapons has started to gain major traction in the public debate. My prediction is that, due to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is a self-confessed and committed unilateralist, it is going to become an increasingly significant issue, and […]

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Week 11: Villain – George Osborne

March 14, 2016

This week, for the third week running, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wins our award for being the greatest villain of the last seven days Our regular Villain of the Week award is beginning to feel a bit like the naughty school kid who keeps on having to visit the headteacher’s office. “All right, Osborne. […]

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#1070: 1978, Earth Wind and Fire, September

March 13, 2016

There have been a number of sad deaths of music greats this year so far. We have paid tribute to David Bowie, Paul Katner and Signe Toly Anderson from Jefferson Airplane and George Martin. In addition Glen Frey of the Eagles and this week prog-keyboard legend Keith Emerson passed away (the latter from suicide apparently). […]

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Week 10: Villain – George Osborne

March 13, 2016

Last Week’s Villain of the Week Award goes to the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne Not exactly unfamiliar with this Award, is our loathed too clever by half chancellor.  In fact by my count this is not only his second win in  a row, but I make it the 24th time he’s won overall. […]

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Week 9: Hero – Vincente Fox

March 13, 2016

The belated Hero of the Week Award for a fortnight ago goes to former Mexican President, Vincente Fox for telling it like it is about Donald Trump The Donald Trump phenomenon gets ever more scary, as the candidate once dismissed as a joke seems inexorably now to be headed for the Republican nomination for President, […]

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