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Tramp the dirt down by Jay Knott (09/12/12)       ⇌ (Hillsborough)       

In 1989, as soon as the Hillsborough tragedy happened, the London magazine which I worked on at the time led with the headline 'Police killed 95 fans'. This was right. Thousands of Liverpool fans were directed into an overcrowded section of a football ground. At that time, there were fences in front of the terraces - to prevent pitch invasions! On this occasion, preventing a pitch invasion resulted in the deaths of 96 people (one died after a few days, another, four years later). Politicians, TV commentators and journalists immediately blamed the fans, claiming they died because of drunkenness. For decades, people in Liverpool have been campaigning for a fair enquiry into the disaster. 

Finally, a report has come out exonerating the fans.

• Police carried out criminal record checks on deceased to 'impugn reputations'

• Senior officers privately discussed 'animalistic behaviour' of 'drunken marauding fans'

• New evidence suggests dozens survived past 3.15pm inquest cut-off point

• 116 of the 164 South Yorkshire Police statements were doctored 

• South Yorkshire Ambulance Service evidence was misleading

• No evidence to support police account that fans were drunk and aggressive

• Margaret Thatcher expressed concern in Cabinet that the first inquiry into the disaster contained 'devastating criticism of the police'

Recently a t-shirt went on sale celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death. She's not dead yet - there's a label saying 'to be opened when the wicked witch is dead'. Not surprisingly, there was a negative reaction from conservatives who still admire the now-demented ex-prime minister. At first, I agreed with them.

Then the Hillsborough report came out, and I remembered hers, and the rest of the establishment's reaction, to the deaths of 96 (one died later) Liverpool fans in Sheffield. Particularly offensive was the reaction of the police and the Murdoch press. 

Hatred of Thatcher and all she stood for is still the right attitude. 

'Tramp the dirt down' is the name of an Elvis Costello song predicting thousands of Britons jumping up and down on Thatcher's grave:

"I'd like to live

Long enough to savor

That's when they finally put you in the ground

I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down"

Costello wrote this during his collaboration with fellow-Liverpudlian Paul McCartney. But unlike McCartney, Costello moved to London when he was young. And unlike McCartney, Costello had continuous episodes of genius, rather than occasional sparks. He later disowned the song.

You know what? I think I've changed my mind again. About dancing on Thatcher's grave. Let the mob have its day... I'll stay out of it.


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More evidence that the Sheffield police are the scum of the earth (11/18/12) by Jay Knott: