Ellie Mae O'Hagan (co-editor of New Left Project) on the terrible, burning injustice done to ‘Self Pity City’:
Last weekend I went to Liverpool – the place that was my home for most of my adult life. I stayed with my best friend and we caught up on the news: riots in Toxteth, a local economy in freefall, and finally the Hillsborough petition, which reached over 100,000 signatures this week. Now, pending approval, the petition will be debated in parliament.Along with the one to strip convicted looters of their benefits (with nearly half again as many signatures) and – perhaps by the time this is posted, the one calling for cheaper petrol and diesel.
I’m guessing you won’t be so pleased about those, though?
For me, it's not surprising that this 22-year-old news story is as newsworthy as if it had happened yesterday. The Hillsborough football disaster is written into the DNA of Liverpool.I’ll spare you my thoughts on the quality of the DNA of the average Liverpudlian. Or rather, Scouser…
It represents both the city's darkest moment, and its extraordinary capacity for solidarity.And also it’s extraordinary capacity for mawkish sentimentality and dog-with-a-bone-style grip on old hurts…
To understand the Hillsborough disaster, one must first understand the context in which it happened. In 1989, four years after the seismic defeat of the miners, the unemployment rate in Liverpool was among the highest in the UK and the city's council was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The Liverpool fans attending the match that day were already on the receiving end of a hostile media and government ...the match saw them caged "like animals in pens", as though the players on the pitch needed to be protected from them.And as the commenters BTL point out, that was not a factor unique to Liverpool, but was indeed widespread at the time across all football matches, much to the annoyance of other teams.
Later, Superintendent Marshall's account of the day would place undue emphasis on the amount of alcohol consumed by the fans.Was that not a factor at all then? Was everyone there sober as a judge?
My, this truly was a totally unique football match!
So here we are again. Twenty-two years later and the old maxim, "red sky at night, Toxteth's alight" is relevant again. The Murdoch press is once again in disgrace, and Liverpool is facing the worst budget cuts in the country. As history repeats itself, the families and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster are on the receiving end of familiar obfuscation, familiar "unjustified and excessive delays" in releasing the information by the self-proclaimed children of Thatcher.Oh, for heaven’s sake…
It's not right. Some wounds cannot be healed by time.Well, no. If you keep picking at a scab, of course it won’t heal!
The 96 families in Liverpool are still waiting for justice.And if the papers are released and don’t contain the answers they think are in there?
Will they consider it ‘justice’?
There seem to be an awful lot of censored comments for a CiF piece...
Probably some 'racial slurs' (*SNORK*)
I listened to RAdio 4's 'The Reunion' yesterday about 'The Boys From The Blackstuff' and the usual bleating was carried on there too. All Liverpudlians are Victims it seems. There's nothing they can do about it but 'dey 'ave a grrreat sense o'umour do don' dey dey doo dat'.
4,000 died in and around Liverpool during the blitz in WW2. The second highest death toll after London. Plus thousands of homes and factories were flattened. Surely this was Liverpool's 'darkest moment'.
Even worse for Liverpool was that news about a lot of the death and destruction was kept out of the national media in case it lowered morale. Leaving them to soldier on day after day on their own.
"I’ll spare you my thoughts on the quality of the DNA of the average Liverpudlian. Or rather, Scouser…
Oh...nicely done ;)
I withold any meaningful comment on the whole Hillsborough debate out of respect for the dead. There are too many with their own agenda hopping on this bandwagon and I just hope...for the families sake...that the wheels don't come off with the sheer weight of all the parasites.
The true story of Hillsborough will sadly have plenty of reference to alcohol (a former colleague of mine who lived near the ground said that day the drunken Liverpool fans were pissing up the wall of his house before the game began and refused to be warned off) and the story may well emerge that there were a number of unpleasant factors that were relevant to the day.
Not all of them will be palatable to the sensitive Liverpudlians.
Liverpool supporters I have heard were delayed by road works on the way over the Pennines so there was a late rush to get there and get in. The pubs near the football ground did a good trade before the game (though that may always be so) and rumour had it there were a lot of forged tickets on offer in Liverpool for the day.
The decision by some late arrivals to 'rush' the turnstiles as kick off approached caused the fatal police decision to let them in to the ground to stop a crush outside. A bad decision as it turned out: the Tories had introduced legislation because of footy fans inside grounds to put up fences (part of the impetus for this was among other things the Heysal stadium disaster in Brussels, involving er... Liverpool fans a few years before)
The decision too to put the Liverpool fans at one end of the ground rather than the larger Kop end was a mistake too. But I think this was to do with access; the Forest fans could more easily disperse from the Kop end.
In the end there were reports of Liverpool fans, tanked by alcohol, behaving badly as help went to the crushed people. I wasn't there, but I heard tales that were chilling.
But the feeling among non-Liverpool fans was that this tragedy was not helped by Liverpudlians pushing to get in at kick off and more concerned before hand with getting a drink or two.
Cynics may also say that in the end it was not the police or the FA or Sheffield Wednesday (who provided the ground as a neutral venue) but Liverpool fans who killed other Liverpool fans. That however, will never be said and can never be admitted.
Liverpool needed to blame everyone else and there were terrible choices made before and during the events. But no one asked their supporters to push their way in as the game kicked off and caused the terrible crushing.
But Liverpool, as one Merseysider once told me, is a naturally occurring outcrop of cynicism on a sea of sentimentality. I have a feeling that will be very apparent when the demanded 'debate' takes place.
No reason for all gummit papers about EVERYTHING more than 20 years old not to be released.
To use the ZaNu phrase--"if they have nothing to hide..."
I'd love to see Mrs O'Hagan with a thermometer placed in her bladder while she reads http://www.sickipedia.org/search/1/?q=Hillsborough.
To understand the Hillsborough disaster, one must first understand the context in which it happened. In 1989, four years after the seismic defeat of the miners
Ah yes, 1985: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heysel_Stadium_disaster
Blame that on Thatch.
It represents both the city's darkest moment, and its extraordinary capacity for solidarity.
And this doesn't? http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/exhibitions/blitz/may.asp
If I had your sense of proportion, I'd have a twenty-foot knob.
Let's face it, they had a compliant government punping money into the place for 13 years. They made it a European capital of culture. They tried 'regeneration'. It's still broken. You fed the tapeworms and now you wonder why your date itches.
Now that they've metaphorically had a can taken from their carton of Diamond White, they're bleating. Not one sodding word of gratitude from them, oh no. They blew the rent money on scratch cards and new strips and they come yet again to the productive people to ask for another handout.
Ellie Mae O'Hagan, whose mother appears to have watched too many episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies, probably cries at the plight of all these poor spongers being cut from their giros. Gone are the nights fighting outside the pub, having a fag whilst pushing the perambulator, the hoop earrings, the Burberry knock-offs, the new plasma, the all-inclusive holiday and the snout for the weekend.
Gone, destroyed by the Children of Thatcher.
I wish I were there to dry Ellie Mae's tears. Actually, I'd collect them in a glass and drink them with relish.
My prominent memory of being mugged in Liverpool was the friendliness of the affair.
A well known brewery had commissioned my firm to carry out a noise survey and we were greeted at the gate by Union Reps. The Reps enquired if we had remembered to bring 'courtesy items' in the way of golf accessories. They were kind enough to provide directions to the nearest sports shop to which a car (and cash) were quickly dispatched.
I try to be philosophical about such things and there can be little doubt that Liverpool's unique culture was forged in its many hardships. I remain very fond of the people and I still have a sneaky admiration for those cheeky Reps.
It could have happened to fans of any side; Leppings Lane was a disaster in the making, bad enough even on less momentous days than an FA Cup semi-final. At the time, the behaviour of a significant number of football supporters was dreadful- pissed-up lairy idiots turning up late and pushing to get in was not an uncommon phenomenon. Combine that with general incompetence from Plod, crappy old grounds like Hillsborough and there's your answer. The ones who died did so partly at the hands of their fellow supporters. They can't blame the whole thing upon
Dibble, the gummint, the FA or the rest of the world. The disgusting behaviour of several hundred cocky knobheads tanked up on the local fighting bitter/lager played a pivotal role.They just refuse to accept that fact though, being natives of The World Capital Of Self Pity, and they just love the smell of burning martyr.
You'll never hear a word of apology for Heysel from them, either.
Twenty_Rothmans and Private Widdle beat me to it :- Heysel. There's 39 families in Italy still waiting for justice.
Perhaps, as a pre-condition for the release of any documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster .. the government should insist on the City of Liverpool, its football team & their fans making a public & fulsome apology for their part in the Heysel tragedy ..
I won't however be holding my breath that either will actually happen ..
"I won't however be holding my breath that either will actually happen .."
Could we help you out?
@ Twenty stone bobbies ..
"Could we help you out" ?
Possibly, if you can come up with a magic formula to insert some backbone into the former .. and extract some of the "aren't we hard-done-by" mentality from the latter ..
Meanwhile, I find this quite scary ..
How will the aliens escape when their ion thrusters have been nicked?
"How will the aliens escape when their ion thrusters have been nicked?"
LOL! You KNOW you're poor when; you park up in Toxteth and you return to find you've got a new stereo and 4 new radials.
"How will the aliens escape when their ion thrusters have been nicked" ?
"LOL! You KNOW you're poor when; you park up in Toxteth and you return to find you've got a new stereo and 4 new radials" ...
What I find most scary is that aliens, popularly believed to be far more advanced than we are, might ever remotely consider landing in Liverpool ..
I suppose they might just interpret "Paddy's Wig-Wam" as being some kind of crude space vehicle .. ;)
" Surely this was Liverpool's 'darkest moment'."
I think Coventry had a few difficulties then as well.
"Oh...nicely done ;)"
I remember ;)
"The true story of Hillsborough will sadly have plenty of reference to alcohol..."
Well, quite. It may not have been the main cause, but to pretend it wasn't a contributory factor is a nonsense.
"Let's face it, they had a compliant government punping money into the place for 13 years. They made it a European capital of culture. They tried 'regeneration'. It's still broken."
It's the one city I've always groaned on being told I need to take a business trip there. I just don't like the place.
"They can't blame the whole thing upon Dibble, the gummint, the FA or the rest of the world."
They have so far. I wonder if this release of documentation will help that continue?
"Meanwhile, I find this quite scary .."
I feel sorry for the aliens!
"four years after the defeat of the miners"
Big mining town, Liverpool?
". . . the city's council was on the brink of bankruptcy."
Yes, thanks to the shower of leftie shits which made up the local council that Mrs. O'Hagen probably voted for.
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