Socialist Worker

Hillsborough: 96 were killed by cops and Tories

Issue No. 2501

Guilty—cop David Duckenfield and Margaret Thatcher

Guilty—cop David Duckenfield and Margaret Thatcher (Pic: PA)


The jury decisions in the Hillsborough inquests have utterly vindicated survivors of the disaster and families of the dead. They also underline that every element of the establishment and its hangers-on were involved in the disgusting cover-up of the truth.

It is because of Tories, cops and the media that families and survivors have had to live for nearly three decades with the lie that “drunken, ticketless, late” fans caused the disaster.

Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was one of the many Tories who smeared and condemned the fans, while backing the police. Her support for the South Yorkshire cops was a thank you for their work in brutally beating the miners during the 1984-5 strike.

Socialist Workers front page then...

Socialist Worker's front page then...


This was the force that led the violent suppression of miners at the “Battle of Orgreave” in June 1984. Thatcher’s press secretary Bernard Ingham wrote to Hillsborough justice campaigners that “tanked up yobs” were responsible for the deaths and that to blame the police was “contemptible”.

... and now

... and now


The Tories were crucial to both the deaths of the 96 and the cover-up. They unleashed the killers.

The Sun and its odious editor Kelvin McKenzie loyally defended the police and savaged the fans.

And the police themselves changed evidence, deliberately hid the truth, and continued to spout lies about the fans—even at the inquests. They had contempt for fans. At Hillsborough they didn’t see desperate people trying to escape a deadly crush. They saw hooligans intent on trouble.

Police chief David Duckenfield’s decisions directly caused the deaths.

Hillsborough is not a one-off event. Across Britain there are family campaigns for justice over deaths in custody and police abuse. Police protect Nazis on demonstrations and refuse to take racist attacks or abuse of young working class people—particularly girls—seriously.

The problem isn’t individual officers or an individual police force. The police are rotten to the core because they exist to prop up a rotten system and the inequality, oppression and violence that goes with it. Their job is to police working class people on behalf of the rich.

So it is hypocrisy for David Cameron to claim he is sorry for the way Hillsborough families and survivors have been treated.

Ordinary people who have fought for truth and justice over Hillsborough should be proud. They have shown that it’s possible to wring concessions from our rulers.

But we still don’t have the whole truth about Hillsborough. And the police and their backers will organise to try and stop justice being done.

The battle for full justice over Hillsborough continues.

But we should all feel stronger in our struggles against the system that produced the disaster.


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