Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hillsborough: 23 years of conspiracy, collusion and cover-up

The ignorant, conceited and self-righteous often suffix the word ‘conspiracy’ with ‘nut’, as though the mere belief in the capacity of the rich and powerful to collude and plot amounts to evidence of some sort of mental imbalance in the believer. These people prefer to play the man, not the ball, invariably because they are deficient in reason and devoid of grace. They are perhaps even fearful of the truth, preferring the refuge of ad hominem in order to avoid having their petty little worlds of self-delusion offended by a single ray of potential enlightenment. Most often, they are blind to their own proclivity toward conspiracy, for the systematic defamation and summary dismissal of the ‘conspiracy nut’ is itself a kind of conspiracy against discovering deeper truth. The mature philosopher greets proposition with counter-proposition; the immature fool with insult. Such people are sadly oblivious to their own closed minds, and blind to their personal biases and bigotry.

The truth is that conspiracies are hatched and collusion perpetrated at the highest levels of political governance and law enforcement, all aided and abetted by a complicit media which is more than content to restrict the parameters of public debate in order to protect the source of their privileged access, scoops and exclusives. They tend to perpetuate their incestuous cabals, appointing only the like-minded and elevating their favourites to positions of power and influence. This is the ugly truth of the darkness at the heart of our mainstream media: in order to deflect and dominate the narrative, they isolate, ridicule and abuse those whose worldview or belief happens to be antithetical to their own.

The Prime Minister has rightly apologised for the Hillsborough conspiracy – for the shocking and systematic cover-up of what really happened on that tragic day in 1989 when 96 football fans left home to watch a football match, but never returned. Crushed to death, trampled upon, agonisingly asphyxiated; each of them mourned and missed for these past 23 years. We were told that they were drunk; that they urinated on the police; that they had no valid tickets of entry into the stadium. Their deaths, though tragic, were accidental; hastened and brought on by their own stupidity and irresponsibility. So the police briefed the politicians; the politicians disclosed to the media; the media informed the public; the public swayed the politicians, who briefed the media...

For 23 years the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and friends of the victims have campaigned for the truth.

For 23 years they have contended with personal abuse, ridicule, vilification, fabrication and lies – from senior politicians, the police, emergency services, coroners and the media. This is the Establishment.

Minus the Church.

It is somehow fitting that the highly-respected and trusted Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, should be the one to investigate this appalling saga and issue a justifiably damning report.
It remains a fundamental task of the Established Church to hold government and political parties to account; to highlight the inadequacies of the political system in order that people’s welfare may be improved. The public realm remains an arena in which the Church’s moral and ethical mission continues to be exercised. It is not, of course, exempt by divine intervention from its own conspiracies and plots within plots. But perhaps it is only the Establishment Church that, in contemporary society, possesses the status to permit it to fight for representation of a slighted electorate in the face of an increasingly abstract political and media élite.

His Grace won’t repeat the devastating findings of the Report: they may be read in summary here, here or in full here. But to read with shame and sorrow that 41 of these 96 victims might have been saved; that evidence was tampered with; that witness statements were redacted; that politicians were deceitful; that the Coroner was deficient; that the media misled... all amounts to institutional conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The Prime Minister rightly apologised to the victims’ families and to the whole nation. He declared that the disclosure of truth must be followed by justice.

Surely all those who defamed the relatives of the deceased and the people of Liverpool must apologise. Surely the Coroner’s verdicts of ‘accidental death’ must be changed to manslaughter. Surely all those who colluded and conspired in this cover-up should be prosecuted and punished.

And surely we must learn from this not to rush habitually to denigrate the ‘conspiracy nut’, for it is not beyond the realms of possibility that someday the truth will be revealed and they shall be vindicated.


Blogger Preacher said...

We watch with interest the outcome of these revelations. Apologies, truth, justice, repentance? .........

13 September 2012 at 11:18  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Seems we're all rendered speechless Cranmer. And rightly so.

13 September 2012 at 12:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Shocking; absolutely shocking. Th doctor evidence and to seek to malign innocent people to protect one's organisation.

However, is an Established Church really the sole organ of proper scrutiny in British society? Surely anyone with a sense of integrity, a probing mind, intelligence and access to full information, regardless of his/her faith, would discern the truth amongst the lies?

It seems to me these findings indicate a neeed for greater freedom of and access to information and more robust means of holding public authorities and the media to account.

13 September 2012 at 13:24  
Blogger The Justice of the Peace said...

I wonder whether in the age of the internet blogs Facebook etc such a cover up could be nowadays sustained for so long.......I think not.....I hope not

13 September 2012 at 14:06  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: What a very unpleasant manifestation of The Blame Game. On reflection, I suggest that we're looking at one more symptom of the moral decay that informs our entire society: and that is what the Church, government, and individuals need to address.

On the nature of this specific case:
I understand that I'm in a minority, but, having been to a football match once in my life (when I was 14 or 15), I've never understood why anyone would want to repeat the experience.

Now that was at Oakwell, not Hillsborough; and, even if the crowd was a tad more ebullient than I liked, those people weren't nasty. I've even a lasting memory of one amusing remark: "Wot the' think they're doing? Bally Dancing?"

Overall though, I never saw why people chose to put themselves in such a fiercely inflammatory situation in the first place. It's rather like volunteering to go into battle, unarmed.

To do so at a place (like Hillsborough) where you're going to be "penned" like animals, and willingly to pay for the insult... well, it beats me.

Under those circumstances how come nobody understands the risk of participating in a warrior situation, week after week?

I'm even half-way sympathetic to an unarmed police force that is required stop the inevitable fight. Many of the crowd gather with the express intention of developing that quarrel.


I argue, then, that responsibility for the Hillsborough example lies with individuals on all sides.

Of course I'm not blaming the mob for failure of emergency procedures, or for poor management and maintenance of facilities that host the warfare. Even WWI battlefields had nursing and ambulance facilities, and hospitals at home grew and developed in response to the challenges.

Further still, "Authorities" must undoubtedly answer for their treatment of those who pay to participate in battle. Owners, operators, and the law-makers who govern them, are also responsible for allowing too many participants into the "theatre."


But... here and now .... our responsibility is to deal with the aftermath:
Of course I agree with Your Grace's argument against cover-up and conspiracy. Since this resulted from civil warfare, as opposed to government-inspired military activity, civil law has its responsibility to deliver Truth and Justice for our society.

I'm glad then, that the established Church can still stand up and call the authorities --the law-makers and the law-deliverers--- to account. Your Grace is right.

Nevertheless, I argue that we should remember: responsibility for the Hillsborough example lies with individuals on all sides. Across the social spectrum of government, Church, and smaller social units --- mature generations have fallen down on our responsibility to explain and demonstrate that civil duties accompany civil rights.

Clearly we need to re-vitalise the concept of moral accountability at all levels. Thanks to Your Grace, and to Bishop Jones, for exposing the rot.

13 September 2012 at 16:42  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

What a magnificent statement from the Church, at last folk with some gumption prepared to shine a light on matters

The conquered adopt the laws of the conquerer and truth defeats falsehood

I keep seeing glimers of hope we are at a turning point in the struggle

13 September 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

"penned" like animals, and willingly to pay for the insult...

a fiercely inflammatory situation
like volunteering to go into battle, unarmed...

Many of the crowd gather with the express intention of developing that quarrel...

how come nobody understands the risk of participating in a warrior situation...

Since this resulted from civil warfare...

Of course I'm not blaming the mob for failure of emergency procedures...

Animals? Mob? Civil warfare???

So you don't like football -
READ THE BLOODY REPORT or keep your stupid, ignorant mouth shut.

13 September 2012 at 18:36  
Blogger IanCad said...


As being not by any means a sports fan and living overseas at the time, I thought this was merely the result of football "Hooliganism"

How wrong I was.

The wheels of justice grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.

A truly free society demands that the police must meet the most exacting standards.
They must be be well paid and should face the most severe penalties for any breach of trust.

13 September 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

IanCad on the matter of trust I have myself pointed out to those who claim positions of trust, that they should prove their claim a worthy one

We should not take their worth at face value, based on the pretentious titles they hold

Everything the state does today seems contrary to any values we hold

13 September 2012 at 19:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Powerful missal from you Archbishop, what a punch it packs. Let us hope those senior policemen, (...and one feels they were the chief instigators of the calumny...) who so callously went in for a large portion of what has turned out to be futile personal hide saving, tremble uncontrollably over this and come to dread each knock on the door...

It’s time for retribution, is it not !

13 September 2012 at 20:28  
Blogger outsider said...

Thank you Your Grace for a thought-provoking post. You certainly made me think, as you doubtless intended, that conspiracies are not just about mysterious deaths (occasionally) or belated cover-ups (as here), but also manipulate many of the key political debates of our times.

13 September 2012 at 21:38  
Blogger Berserker said...

Simone Weil wrote:

Bureaucracies always betray.

Should anyone still be surprised at that? An organisation's first obligation is to protect its own. Look at the NHS.

I agree with Non Mouse. Why should anyone want to pay good money to be treated like cattle. The answer is that the last remnant of working class power, the last feeling of belonging to a group of like minded people (the tribe) is on the cold hard places of the football clubs even though they are seated now. Never mind that in some of the top clubs, the player subs and staff now all sit in armchairs. Now that the Unions are marginalised, now that these men live in the most feminised country in the world, now that the old fashioned power of the strike is like an effete stroke across the chops - can you blame them for seeking the fraternity of the terraces.

As George Bernard Shaw once remarked: When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him, it's called ferocity.

13 September 2012 at 22:39  
Blogger non mouse said...

Dreadnaught ...
For starters... I don't dislike football. Secondly, I'm not denigrating the audiences, though I pose questions as to why they submit to the treatment meted out to them.

I did not call the crowd animals ... I indicated that people who run football facilities treat them like animals, and that these people exploit the fans.


I read several reports on the subject. You did not read my post, let alone begin to understand it. You're the one who's going in for gratuitous insult.

14 September 2012 at 01:43  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 September 2012 at 01:43  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Non mouse
Moral decay- It's called The Sun.

14 September 2012 at 01:46  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh, and PS.

Berserker gave some interesting answers to my questions. For which, "Thank you."

14 September 2012 at 01:47  
Blogger G. Tingey said...


So, now we all know what a lot of people suspected.
The police in Sheffield, after the disaster in April 1989, quite deliberately lied, to cover their own faults, and attempt to shift blame on to the victims themselves. What is worse, for a time, they were at least partially successful in this aim.

Unfortunately, this is not the only time this has happened, and the question must now be asked: “If there are deaths, and the police are seriously involved from the start, can any of their statement be taken as having any relationship to the actual events, or the truth?”
Here are a few other examples, not in any particular order, in either time, or importance, except to the victims & their families.

The death of Ian Tomlinson.
Probably a case of manslaughter by a police officer, which would have remained completely un-noticed, were it not for the prevalence of modern mobile phones with video facilities.

The murder of Jaun de Menezes
We think we know that the police officers who actually killed de Menezes were acting under what they believed were legitimate orders, but there are other considerations, even apart from the complete organisational chaos & lack of communication on that day.
These arise from the statements made by MetPlod to the press & public, such as:
“He was wearing a bulky jacket/coat .. / .. He was running .. / .. He jumped the barriers at Stockwell .. / .. He ran down the escalator .. / .. He was behaving in a (very) suspicious manner …”
NOT ONE of those statements was remotely true, but they had to be picke apart, bit by bit from other witness-statements.

The cover-up over the murder of Stephen Lawrence
Why did MetPlod prefer to be thought “racist” or even “institutionally racist” rather than admit what was painfully obvious to large numbers of Londoners, that the local police were hand-in-glove with the local gang(s), some of whose members had actually committed the killing? It is highly likely that some local officers were corruptly involved with the aforementioned gangs, but it seemed easier to lie, and to hassle S Lawrence’s companion on that day, rather than to make an arrest for murder.
Note that this is different from the case of the notorious Kray twins, who had managed to wangle high-level political protection, through blackmail, until they actually committed a gun-murder in public, at which point the police were able to successfully “get” the people they knew were violent criminals, but were prevented from touching, up to that point.

The Murder of Blair Peach
By members of the disbanded Special Patrol Group. Beaten to death in a suburban front garden-patch, for being on the wrong grid-reference. The death covered up enough to ensure that the uniformed murderers have escaped with pensions paid for by our taxes.

And many more.

Who shall guard the Guardians?

And can we believe a word they say, under almost any circumstances?

14 September 2012 at 07:19  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

I can't help thinking this is at best a gross over simplification of complex fact and at worst a journey into self-congratulatory myth. Let us remember that the root cause of this gross miscarriage of justice was the arrogance of the police. Even at the time the then PM, Mrs Thatcher was told that in all probability, the police were lying. Yet nothing was done - Thatcher owed the police for their unflagging support during the miners' strike and the police thought they could get away with murder (literally?). What I think we should be asking is how many less sensational examples are there of the police's arrogance and miscarriage of justice?

Would the 'Church' overseeing government prevent this? I suspect not! Indeed it seems as the church's power has waned in Britain so too has the likelihood of fairer trials and a more equal society increased. If the church was an endemic force for good, then we have to ask ourselves why the substantial reforms of the 19th century were necessary in the first place? The usual retort to this - particularly from Christians who seem to delight in self-congratulatory myths - is that we owe social reform and social philanthropy to the 'church'. Obviously in part social reform was championed by Christians, but for the most part (excepting Wilberforce, Shaftsbury and a few others) Non-Conformists were the real force in social reform - often (at Parliamentary level) working with Humanists to get legislation thro' a mainly indifferent (tho' supposedly Christian) parliament. Moreover, at a time when church attendance was around 50%, why did there NEED such reforms? Why did parliament NEED to force a supposedly Christian society to become fairer, have greater equity before the law and protect the poor, vulnerable and children? Surely if these are endemic qualities of 'the church' as a social force, then there shouldn't have been the need for huge social reform?

I am of course being deliberately facetious here. The issue is far more complex, though I think my own sortie into simplistic syllogisms, amply demonstrates the danger in forgetting that any political and social situation lacks simple analysis and explanation. The same is true with the Hillsborough debacle - it is not 'the church' that has brought these issues to light - it is the work of a panel that was able in itself and was chaired by an able person. To say it was the inclusion of a representative from 'the Church' is a gross over simplification. A great deal was made by reactionary Christians of the inclusion of 'the Church' (in the shape of Revd Ray Lewis) in Boris Johnson's senior team at the start if his first term as London's mayor - and we all know what happened there!

Hence, let's celebrate the fact the truth, at last, has come to light by the efforts of a capable panel under the direction of a capable chair - but is this an example of the 'the Church' as a useful inclusion in the governance of society? No, there is no evidence to suggest Christianity is a cure-all which once included in a society makes it more wholesome. A look at across the Atlantic to the US demonstrates this - a society that leads the Western world in the divorce, single parent family, teen pregnancy, murder, violent crime stakes (all higher in the Bible-Belt states, where there is 50%+ church attendance). A scout around history likewise doesn't produce evidence that church overseeing or inclusion in the workings of the state and society as a whole results in a society becoming a paragon of justice and virtue.

Let's give thanks for the fact the deceits of Hillsborough have been brought to light. But this victory mustn't be used for petty point scoring and the facile - and unfounded - belief that just additing a dash of Christianity to this or that social and/or political problem will make it better: personal and corporate integrity seem to be what is needed – and you don’t need religion to ensure this!

14 September 2012 at 09:57  
Blogger len said...

Despite all attempts to conceal the truth it seems the truth is finally being revealed about Hillsborough.
The truth is being uncovered about many situations in these last days and the more that truth surfaces the more it exposes the weakness and the inadequacies of our human situation.
Who can we look up to, who can we trust?.
One of the signs that we are living in the' end times' is that everything that is hidden will be revealed. When the Lord returns he will "…bring to light the hidden things of darkness… [and] make manifest the counsels of the hearts..." (1Cor. 4:5) The consequence of lifting this dark shroud of secrecy, which for centuries has gone unchecked, is that every thing that can be shaken will be shaken, at every level—political, financial, religious and social. Haggai 2:6-7

15 September 2012 at 09:16  

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