I think the last time I wrote anything about Hillsborough was on Dec 19th, 2012. A cold and drizzly day but I don’t remember feeling either of them on my skin. Walking away from the Royal Courts of Justice my only thought was one of hope. The old coroner’s inquests had just been quashed and new one’s had been ordered. One of the comments of Lord Chief Justice were as follows
“We must put in record on admiration for the families' long battle for the truth and our regret that it has taken such an unbearably long time to come about. Justice demonstrably has not been done”
It’s been a very long time right? From 1989 one hurdle, obstacle, hill at a time we reached more lies and more liars. More ready to throw so many into categories of “drunk”, “yobs”, “thieves”, “ticketless” and, how can we forget, “Liverpool fans”. The last being turned into something a nation should turn their nose at. Little did we know it was what they wanted. How could any of us know? 24/7 aka Jim Sharman said “the lies got out before the truth could get its boots on”. The truth in fact was left stripped of dignity and pushed to one side and so began the machine from institutions determined to bury it.
Where can anyone start with the lies? There have been so many. From the S*n who still show their inability to tell the truth to a certain press secretary who still to this day shares that same trait, there is a common theme – a lack of integrity. Their histories of that characteristic remain and I certainly don’t expect it to change. Older readers will recall people only too willing to tell all who would listen how fans were unruly and were just so willing to do the things unimaginable during a time of such anguish and tragedy. They went from TV, to radio, to print to push this drug of deceit to unwitting, dare I say it gullible, people hooked on pinning every lie upon anyone who feels a Liver Bird beating alongside their chest. Can anyone imagine how to begin fighting a tide like that? Against people shaped to believe a lie. People designed to know better. People who forgot to be human.
Humanity is something taken for granted. The expectation is that everyone will be human when it’s needed but when that doesn’t happen where do you go? If every door is closed then surely, surely someone will open a small crevice of kindness? You want to believe that one person will. You have to because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. A fight against a false narrative is no easy feat. A fight against authorities designed to serve you and help you is infinitely harder… especially when the wrong “Iron Lady” doesn’t care about you or your city. She just doesn’t care at all. She told her “private army” that they could act with impunity and demoralising contempt for the working classes… so that’s what they did.
What they didn’t do was think about what that does to certain people’s psyche. Flight or Fight kicks in and the fight is one we’ve seen lead to today. “Accidental Death” is what they told us to believe in the early 90s. The inconvenience of truth just wouldn’t go away. The infiltration of those lies designed to discredit and destroy mixed in to give them further credence was permitted by those organisations that we have all come to hate. This should never be forgotten. The systems to uphold law and order forgot all principles easier than you forget what you throw into the trash. If this makes you angry then just think what it felt like for all those seeking justice for their son or daughter that they’ll never hold again? If this makes you angry then just think what it felt like for every single survivor who just wanted the truth too?
If this makes you angry then we are lucky enough to care and we are lucky enough to know that many who cared decided to fight and we are lucky enough to know they weren’t going to give up. Ever.
And we shouldn’t either. Every campaign and every push has meant many have arisen and learnt. Educated themselves on what is the biggest cover up in British history and decided that it wasn’t right to tarnish fellow supporters. Those we know from the corners of the Anny Road through the family behind you at the kop. The young lad held in his dad’s arms as he tires watching but never says because he wants to come again. Those we know or read of because they cannot be there to fight with you because of the incompetence of others. Those who survived that fateful day and then labelled before they could catch their breath.
And then there is the real Iron Lady. Anne Williams. What can any of us say to give justice to the memory of Anne Williams? With what has been delivered today maybe the actions speak louder than the words. Those who came to know her or ever spoke to her know of her fortitude. I can only hope and pray that should I ever be in a place of darkness I could have just an iota of her strength, a strength driven by a son’s last word, “Mum”.
I’m still lucky enough to see my mum. I’m also lucky enough to see my daughter and today I also got to see the beauty of what a new arrival can do to light up another person’s family. Should that light be extinguished my life would be over as what would I have left? It’s when we reach the other side of that void that we find the resolve of those so many stronger. It’s probably where some very special people reside and they are the ones that showed us all how to climb that hill.
We climbed the hill in our own way. It holds a special place at the Red and White Kop. Names like Kesey and Zlenpasha may mean nothing to those reading this. To others they know what followed. A word to a phrase to a flag to an iconic piece that will now live in history. Many reading this may recognise the phrase from a song by Pink Floyd called Fearless. It’s a word that empowers and encompasses so much when you hear it resonate around you. Fearless, the song, carries a passage that shows a journey that many have taken to
You say the hill's too steep to climb,
You say you'd like to see me try,
You pick the place and I'll choose the time
And I'll climb
The hill in my own way
just wait a while, for the right day
Just wait a while for the right day. For years many right days didn’t come. When they have come the reflection has always been one that shows it should never have taken that long. When they pass the realisation of another journey awaiting serves to strengthen the resolve needed to be Fearless once more. To climb that hill in our own way.
We never forget those we’ve lost on that fateful day and those who’ve passed away during this fight for justice. They are part of our very fabric because they are where we have come from and they will be so much of where we are going… and we will go there together