Sep 14, 2012

Hillsborough was the acme of real Thatcherism

The Hillsborough judgment has transfixed the UK for two days.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


“The Real Truth” shouted the headline of The Sun today, as it revealed the truth of the Hillsborough disaster, the 1989 catastrophe at a Sheffield football stadium that claimed 96 Liverpool fans who were crushed to death during an FA Cup semi-final. Due to incompetent crowd control, an unsafe stadium and inept emergency management, thousands of fans were crushed between walls and fences in the spectator area.


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34 thoughts on “Hillsborough was the acme of real Thatcherism

  1. Mark Duffett

    Less sociological but nevertheless fiercely brilliant reportage of Hillsborough by Brian Reade is a must-read:

  2. Microseris

    A good reminder of why we subscribe.
    A powerful, emotion charged piece. Journalism lives.

  3. johnb78

    Johnson was editor of the Spectator 15 years later, in 2004, when he published the vile editorial in question; he doesn’t even have the excuse of publishing before the facts were known.

  4. Kristian

    Thanks, Guy. Excellent article.

    I was only a kid back in ’89, isolated down in Australia, so didn’t understand it at all. So much so, as kids in the playground we did stupid things like “stacks on” while shouting out “Liverpool!”. I shudder at that thought now…

    Just like I (literally) shuddered when I read your last sentence.

  5. David Hand

    Guy, Guy, Guy.
    Blaming Thatcher for Hillsborough is like blaming Tony Blair for phone hacking. Or Bob Carr for the criminal activity exposed by the Wood royal Commission. Or George W Bush for 911.

    It all seems so self-servingly logical to the left elites who are addicted to interpreting events such as these to some sort of grand narrative of socialist emancipation.

    Memo to Guy
    The Labour north / Conservative south divide has existed for decades. It was there when I was a kid in Swindon in the 60s and it is greater now than it has ever been before. It is not a Thtcharite phenomenon.

    Hillsborough was a monumental police stuff up. The fiction they produced to cover for their ineptitude deserves retribution. Hillsborough took place in a climate where football fans were herded by police to stadiums like cattle. In London as well as Sheffield.

    To suggest police ineptitude has only just come to light is laughable and refutable. Hillsborough initiated sweeping reforms of football such as all seat stadiums for all 92 league clubs.

    Hey guy, keep rewriting history. Didn’t that Tory PM named Churchill bomb London or something? He must have as he was running the country at the time.

  6. Guy Rundle


    i didn’t blame Thatcher or Thatcherism for the actual tragedy at Hillsborough. I said that the way in which the cover-up was done was emblamatic of Thatcherism

    Why don’t you read the article, in particular this paragraph:

    “Hillsborough was the acme of real Thatcherism — one in which a corrupt police force, corrupt state and corrupt oligarchic media defined a “social enemy”, and poured all the hatred and frustration of a divided society onto their heads. That they chose the most abject of victims was no coincidence — the greater the withdrawal of human sympathy, the more that a rigid and life-denying political ethos could be reinforced. Sun journalists of the time spoke of the absolute mania with which editor Kelvin MacKenzie drove the Hillsborough campaign, against all evidence; the degree of complicity, with dozens upon dozens of officials involved, was so large as to go beyond any rational calculus.”

    Before you go off on one of your auto-rants about left elites…

  7. Benedict

    This article implies a sequence of events that involves Boris Johnson jumping on a “bloodwaggon”. Hmm…Hillsborough happened in 1989, Boris’s comments were made in 2004. That suggests poor old Boris was a bit slow because he missed the “bloodwaggon” by about 15 years.

  8. izatso?

    Hand ? David Hand ? Are you the David Hand who wrote the thesis ‘ Disassociation in Modern Political Discourse’ ? Really ? No. It was well constructed. Quite erudite, even. Had to look words up, ‘n stuff ! No, not you then.

  9. izatso?

    the fat tory shite was at Oxbridge, natch

  10. izatso?

    sorry guy, people ……

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