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Hillsborough: The only lesson they learned is to keep lying

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Socialist Worker is proud of our front page from the week of the Hillsborough disaster. We don’t have to change it—it still holds true today.
Issue 2321
Socialist Worker
Socialist Worker’s front page on 22 April 1989

Socialist Worker is proud of our front page from the week of the Hillsborough disaster. We don’t have to change it—it still holds true today.

It put the blame on the Tories and the police, and their attitude towards working class people.

We also paid tribute to the thousands of ordinary people who tried to save lives on the day but who found themselves labelled “scum” by the press.

In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher, a class warrior for the ruling class, waged war on workers. She called the miners “the enemy within” and set the police on them.

We are told that everything has changed since the “bad old days”. Politicians apologise, saying that the police force is reformed and this could never happen again.

What a lie. The British establishment always looks after its own. Just look at the revelations over the last few years about collusion between the police, the Murdoch empire and Tory politicians.

Self-serving politicians, the police and the media are all in this together. Cover-ups, corruption and police brutality are what the state does best.

Only the sheer perseverance of ordinary people against slanders and lies has forced the ruling class to admit their crimes. This is true of Bloody Sunday murders in Northern Ireland, and the jailing of the innocent Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four.


None of the murderers of Stephen Lawrence would have been convicted if his parents hadn’t launched their campaign.

The police and politicians say they will learn the lessons of what happened in Hillsborough. They say this after every tragedy, after every miscarriage of justice. But the only lessons they want to learn is how to cover up better.

People, especially black and working class people, are still dying in police custody. No officer has been convicted for any of the deaths.

When Mark Duggan was gunned down on the streets of north London last summer the police shifted into gear fast. They declared he had been brandishing a gun and had shot a police officer. The cover-up of his killing continues.

When police shot Jean Charles de Menezes dead they claimed he was acting suspiciously. They said he was wearing a padded jacket that could hide a bomb and leapt over ticket barriers. These were lies.

The report into Hillsborough has laid bare the contempt the establishment has for ordinary people. It also lifted the lid on the corruption and collusion that keeps the system going every day.

There is a class rage and a deep sense of injustice among millions. Let’s learn lessons. Ours must be that the only way to fight vicious class rule is by the collective class solidarity of our side.

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