Sunday, March 11, 2012

Local MP Caught Offside

Last year's parliamentary debate on the Hillsborough disaster was notable for an eloquent & moving speech by Steve Rotheram, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton (
He spoke for countless people in reflecting upon the day itself as well as its aftermath, & delivered a measured & poignant address at the annual memorial service in 2009 (
There have, however, been instances when, to put it charitably, his comments haven't been fully thought through (
You might have concluded that Mr Rotheram had learned a lesson about choosing your words carefully. If he had, it's unfortunate to observe that the honorable member for Liverpool Walton has forgotten it. Hugh Muir noted in his Guardian Diary column the other day that the MP put his foot in it over a tweet he sent on March 2nd (!/SteveRotheramMP
Apparently siding with those Liverpool supporters who continue to believe that the club handled the Suarez affair brilliantly, the MP accused anti-racism campaigners of "causing trouble" & that the best thing to do was to ignore them. Not surprisingly, such comments have been countered & rightly so. Mr Rotheram has duly delivered his mea culpa, or act of "evasive action", as Muir puts it. All very unfortunate & oh so avoidable, too had he watched a Channel 4 News report which described how the club privately accepts its failings over the affair ( ).
This episode also draws attention to what is a disturbing ambivalence among many Liverpool supporters over Suarez' incendiary remarks to Patrice Evra in October of last year & the subsequent antics (the proffered & spurned handshake at Old Trafford). It's been said before but bears repeating, blind loyalty is not a virtue & the unthinking, tribal claque who continue to champion Suarez' case just don't understand that. It's sad that an MP who should know better ( & who knows full well about distorted accounts as well as smears) temporarily allied himself with such an ignorant audience.

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