Liverpool Fans: Today's The Day Kelvin MacKenzie Faces Up To His Actions
Monday the 18th of February, it appears, has the potential to be another huge day in the progress toward justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
Reports in The Guardian indicate that this is the day that the lawyers for the families of the 96 will meet to discuss the next steps in their intention to press for civil actions against several individuals and organisations. Prime amongst these appear to be Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club who operated without a valid safety licence from the council, the FA (I'm sure that I'll return to that organisation in another piece) and most satisfyingly for any Liverpool fan; the utterly odious Kelvin MacKenzie.
All of the above have issued half hearted apologies since the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report; none have, apparently, made any constructive attempt to contact the families' lawyers in order to discuss how they can move forward in accepting their responsibility for their involvement in either the disaster itself or the ensuing cover up.
MacKenzie, it would seem, is to face accusations of malfeasance; that is, in legal definition, "intentional conduct that is wrongful". At no point since 1989 when, as editor of The Sun, he chose to defame an entire city under the banner headline 'The Truth' has this appalling individual seen fit to apologise for his actions. Not until David Cameron stood up in Parliament and singled out his paper's coverage for particular censure. In the aftermath of the report and the Parliamentary response MacKenzie issued a profuse apology; one which would never be accepted in any way but was then further tainted by his expressed desire to sue the police force for providing him with false information.
The point of malfeasance is important; the lawyers do not, apparently, have to prove that MacKenzie was lying (although there is not a single individual in this city who will believe for a moment that he was doing anything but) they merely has to show that he "was recklessly indifferent as to whether it was true or not."
Recklessly indifferent? Shall we look at this for a second?
MacKenzie's paper ran with a story from a regional reporter briefed by Sheffield MP Irvine Patnick who was, in turn, briefed by the South Yorkshire Police force. MacKenzie's contribution to this was to add the infamous headline and brief the paper's easily swayed readership that the events represented in this scurrilous example of tabloid 'journalism' was 'The Truth'.
The story claimed that Liverpool fans, rather than being the only individuals present at the event that made any concerted rescue effort, had picked the pockets of the dying, had urinated on bodies, had attacked the police, had sexually abused a young woman.
And at no point did this irresponsible, attention seeking, sales seeking individual....no let's call him what he is....this lying b**tard (lets see him try to sue me on that one) stop and think "hold on, would anybody actually do this?"
At what point in any unfolding disaster has anybody ever actually urinated from a balcony onto a police officer? At what point in the live, televised coverage of the events could anybody be construed as having taken anything from the bodies on the pitch? What was it, other than the chance to garner sales through shock headlines, that made this man imagine that other human beings were capable of the abhorrent behaviour that his paper's story claimed?
We can see what's happening on the pitch, we can see the hoardings being used as stretchers, we can see that the only people attempting to help Liverpool fans ARE Liverpool fans and yet his lowlife 'newspaper' editor chooses, uniquely, to portray the victims of the disaster as the instigators.
Surely the reaction of any sane, rational individual would have been to question his reporter? But not Kelvin MacKenzie. Kelvin MacKenzie had a story. And Kelvin MacKenzie has peddled that story for almost quarter of a century. He has been given the chance to apologise; Kenny Dalglish notably suggested that The Sun should print a front page that read "We Lied" in the same size type as the original scabrous headline. MacKenzie demurred.
He stood by his story for 23 years until it was shown beyond any doubt to be a lie. And it is his story that has played a huge part in denying the families the actual truth that they deserve; it is his story that has coloured popular opinion against the fight for justice, it is his paper that has created the idea of a 'self pity city'.
Recklessly indifferent to the truth? Constantly. And when he is finally proven to be so in a court of law? At that point can we also obtain apologies from Sky and the BBC who continue to employ this disgusting creature as a commentator on news stories? His time in the public eye as anything other than a pariah is over now. Can you hear that Kelvin? That's the sound of Justice approaching. Justice and The Truth.
This article originally appeared at Mumbling Into The Void