Much of the British media, excluding of course the criminal Murdoch Empire, are feigning a moral outrage at how shabbily the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy and their surviving relatives and friends have been treated. Perhaps some of the outrage is genuine but it doesn’t feel so. It feels manufactured for the moment, and will be just as quickly forgotten as soon as the next big news story comes along.

What makes this media outrage seem less than genuine is the failure by even the liberal media to join up the dots. The Hillsborough tragedy did not happen in a vacuum. If Hillsborough and all that followed was a gigantic injustice against basic democracy then it was one of many such injustices. This is not to belittle the particularities of the Hillsborough tragedy and subsequent twenty seven year cover-up, but rather to place that cruel chapter of British history in a fuller context.

 

And the larger context is one of war; war against the Irish people, many of whose descendants make up the communities in and around Liverpool, and war against the English working class – a long suffering and marginalised class that had the temerity to get themselves organised and stand up against the inequities of British capital and in particular, the British Coal Board and the Thatcher Government. Both of these drawn out wars – and they were wars - had as a side effect, the erosion of what stood for British democracy. Everything became tainted by these undeclared wars; government, policing, the justice system and all sections of the media. Dissenting political voices like that of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were berated and marginalised.

 

The stand-out cases of injustice in respect to Ireland were indeed many; the unprovoked violence at Bloody Sunday, the introduction of internment without trial, the set-ups of the wholly innocent Birmingham Six and the Guilford Four, and the cruel and barbaric treatment of the Republican hunger strikers. With respect to the war against the English working class, the main event was the violence and brutality directed against the heroic striking miners. But behind these notorious cases were the countless day to day examples of people’s lives and aspirations being trampled on by a ruthless British State seeking to reposition itself for the coming period of neo-liberal globalisation. Organised Labour had made significant gains under the post-war settlement and British capital aided and abetted by and its compliant state institutions had set itself the task of reversing those gains. The process continues to this day.

 

Seen in this wider context, the lies and deceit of successive governments and its state apparatus as applied to the victims of Hillsborough came quite naturally. Lying and demonising working class communities, be they in Ireland or Britain, was by the 1980’s, firmly entrenched in the British DNA. Murdoch was the chief conductor of the orchestra and in many ways still is. His organisation has been proved to be mired in criminality yet then as now he has the power to set the agenda.

 

In some ways life has moved on. There is now a growing demand for the tax havens to be shut down. There is a growing demand for disinvestment in fossil fuels. There is a growing demand for clean air and affordable housing in our cities. And there is a growing demand to reign in the obscene wealth of the one percent. Democracy, despite the machinations of Murdoch and Co, is back on the agenda. Oh yes, and there is a consistent and growing demand for accountability by those that lied and cheated the victims of the Hillsborough stadium disaster. The steadfastness of the relatives and friends is an inspiration for all of us in the battles that lay ahead. Just as the attacks against the British and Irish working class can be seen to be connected, so too can the resistance to those attacks. It time to join up the dots.

 

 

End JPK Copyright 27/4/16

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 April 2016 19:35 )