The panel headed by the Bishop of Liverpool has said that Yorkshire police lied about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which dozens of Liverpool football fans were crushed to death by other Liverpool football fans pushing their way into the ground for an FA match.
It may well be that the police did not do a very good of policing on that day. And that they exaggerated the extent to which the fans who did the pushing had been drinking. And that they tried to cover up their own failings. All very regrettable, and the Prime Minister has apologised to the family of the dead.
But. But. It was not the police who did the pushing or the crushing. If the fans trying to get into the ground had not pushed the people in front of them – not just gently but hard enough to crush the life out of dozens of people ahead of them – but had behaved like, for example, a crowd at Lords Cricket Ground or Twickenham Rugby ground or for that matter ordinary people in the London Underground pretty much any late afternoon of the week, no one would have been hurt. The notion that people might queue up without pushing in today’s world might be rather quaint, but there is something to be said for it. In this case, that something was 96 people killed in a rather unpleasant way.
I am not suggesting a whitewash, of course, for bad policing. But neither should we be too quick to confer sainthood on those Liverpool fans who crushed their fellow Liverpool fans to death in their impatience to watch a game of bloody football in Yorkshire.
The report is 395 pages long. A quick skim read, assisted by the “find” facility, suggests that there is not a word of analysis about the elephant in the room. Are we surprised by this? Not really, no.