Hillsborough: In praise of Cameron and the politicians who always knew the truth
It wouldn't be unfair to say that many of the postings on this blog present politicians in a negative light or have some sort of criticism to level at our democratic representatives. But I want to write one in praise of them.
For the city of Liverpool Wednesday was a momentous day in which the truth, which many of us have known for so many years, was finally told to the world and I mean the world because news of the Hillsborough cover up made the front of the New York Times.
For years successive governments ignored the pleas of the Hillsborough families and survivors, these people were failed by the State. On Wednesday, the State apologised unequivocally, without any caveats and now the hard battle for justice moves forward.
The failures of successive governments are well documented at this stage. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw put it best when he highlighted the "culture of impunity" among police that Thatcher's government had created.
But Straw is not without fault either having accepted the flawed scrutiny of evidence of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith who should never have been allowed complete his 'scrutiny' given his disgraceful comments to a family member on the first day of hearings.
Thatcher, Major, and Blair failed the families but Gordon Brown did one thing, he sent his Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to Anfield on the 20th anniversary of the disaster and this happened:
Burnham told the Liverpool Echo earlier this week about what followed and the Leigh MP deserves great credit for setting up the panel whose report we have read with shock and disgust.
Others on the Labour benches also deserve great credit not least Steve Rotheram who has fought for these people all of his politicial life, Maria Eagle who stood-up to Norman Bettison and who will hopefully watch him resign, and Alison McGovern who brought great words and emotion to the historic Commons debate on Hillsborough earlier this year.
But there must be big praise too for Prime Minister David Cameron, a man who there is much to disagree with from his government's economic strategy to his shocking lack of experience for the job of Prime Minister which has so often demonstrated itself in his two years in office.
But he sure can deliver an apology.
First, let's not forget that he too is not without fault. Last year he told this website's newspaper that Hillsborough families were "like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat that isn't there."
But in his stunning statement to the Commons on Wednesday, he blew all of that away with four words: "The families were right". There are so many key lines in his statement among them the "double injustice" and that "not enough people in this country understand what the people of Merseyside have been through."
As Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said this week, the devastating nature of the report left the Prime Minister with little choice but to offer a full apology but his delivery of it was the remarkable and incredible given all that the families have had to put up with all these years. That it prompted gasps and head-shaking throughout the Commons is evidence of that.
These were only words but they were powerful words. They detonated the lies, the deceit, the cover-up that for too long too many people have had to endure.
What happens next is crucial.
The passage of time should not lessen the seriousness with which the report's findings are taken by authorities. If this was the greatest cover-up in British history as has been said this week then all appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that it is exposed in full and that justice is served.
Some fine politicians have done some fine work to expose the truth that was known for so long in the city of Liverpool and the Prime Minister has made a fine statement on the matter.
However, it is up to all politicians in all sides of the political divide to ensure that justice is not denied to these people.
For as a son of the city, William Gladstone, once said: "Nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right."