It's been a long, long battle for the Hillsborough families, but another chink of light has this evening opened up for them. The Information Commissioner has ruled that Documents concerning Thatcher's discussions in the aftermath of the disaster should be made public (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14296590 ).
The BBC report states:
"The Information Commissioner has now ruled that releasing the files would be in the public interest."
The BBC put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request around the time of the disaster's 20th anniversary & the institutional tardiness of the response has been duly deprecated. "The Commissioner has also strongly criticised the Cabinet Office for its 'unjustified and excessive' delays in handling the BBC's request."
Making the documents public could still have an incendiary political effect, as the report explains:
"Mrs Thatcher was briefed about the disaster in the days that followed it, and it was discussed at a number of meetings. The records to be disclosed include reports presented to her, correspondence between her office and that of the Home Secretary Douglas Hurd, and minutes of meetings she attended.
"Some campaigners for the families of the victims have suggested that Mrs Thatcher sought to avoid the police being criticised."
It's tacitly accepted in Tory circles that Thatcher felt a debt towards forces such as the one in South Yorkshire for their role in the miners' strike. Added to this was her barely-concealed antipathy to regions such as Merseyside for having the temerity to elect largely Labour MPs throughout the 80s.
The Commissioner made his judgement, according to the BBC report, on the basis that the 30-year rule for publication of cabinet papers is being phased out.
Let's hope that over the next few weeks this major element of the families' fight for justice is delivered with no delays.