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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2013

TV review

Hillsborough - never forgotten

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool Labour Party president 1980-85 and one of the 47 surcharged Liverpool councillors

This BBC4 programme Hillsborough - Never Forgotten on 3 April was a powerful reminder of events leading up to the recent Independent Panel's findings on the 1989 Hillsborough catastrophe that claimed 96 lives.

It revealed the now widely-recognised cover-up by the forces of the state. Archive footage of senior police officers and Paul Middup, of South Yorkshire Police Federation, lying about drunken fans and the smugness of coroner Stefan Popper who ruled on the now notorious cut-off point for the victims' deaths; all merged into a poisonous brew of mendacity.

The film revealed how, after decades of obstacles erected to frustrate the bereaved families' quest for justice, one event triggered dramatic change.

At a memorial meeting for the 96 at Anfield stadium in April 2010, Andy Burnham addressed 34,000 people.

He was a member of a Labour government whose prime minister ruled out a fresh inquiry into Hillsborough.

As he spoke, a lone voice rang out: 'justice for the 96'. That cry swirled around the stadium until 34,000 supporters of the 96 chanted the demand in unison.

A shaken Burnham reported: "Next day, we had a Cabinet meeting and I said to Gordon [Brown] 'I'm going to raise Hillsborough'.

"It wasn't on the agenda and it wasn't on the government's radar. I said 'I'm not saying this just because I had a bad time yesterday'."

23 years of fobbing off had not diminished the intense feeling in Liverpool - for the government to retain any credibility an independent panel would have to be set up to satisfy the demand for justice.

After that senior police officers and politicians, seeing the game was up, all outbid each other in giving the deepest apology for the behaviour of those complicit in this criminal activity. But we have yet to learn of a single prosecution from these revelations.

The film had a heart-rending interview with special constable Debra Martin who had tended to the injured and dying.

She was pressured into falsifying her evidence when two West Midland police officers visited her.

However, in depicting the events leading up to Hillsborough, economic decline, joblessness, the 1981 riots, etc, the producer couldn't resist including "the 'Militant' control of the council".

It's as though the 47 councillors were part of the problem and not a force which tried to put right, with great success, the appalling decline in Liverpool's fortunes.

Hopefully the event to mark the 30th anniversary of the 47's election on 27 April will help dispel the pernicious myths that the same establishment which demonised the victims of Hillsborough still belch out when given the opportunity.

Liverpool: discussion and exhibition marking 30 years since the election of Liverpool's socialist council

Saturday 27 April, 10:30am

Adelphi Hotel, Lime Street, Liverpool

Speakers include Len McCluskey general secretary of Unite, Janice Godrich, president PCS union, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary and Tony Mulhearn

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In The Socialist 10 April 2013:


Thatcher's death

Now let's bury Thatcher's legacy

Thatcher: a class warrior for capitalism

Thatcher's death: readers respond 1

Thatcher death: readers respond 2


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Halt the Thatcherite onslaught - TUC must call a 24-hour general strike!

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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

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Greater Manchester: Stop extermination of our NHS

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Socialist Party review

Hillsborough - never forgotten


 

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