I suspected there would be a few who would cling to the smears that have persisted for twenty-three years. One of them is Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire Police (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/sep/13/hillsborough-report-norman-bettison-refuses-resign ).
At the time of Hillsborough, Bettison was part of a black propaganda unit at South Yorkshire Police. Its remit was to smear & discredit the fans, & completely exonerate police officers of any blame. Part of Bettison's self-serving statement yesterday warrants dissection:
"Fans' behaviour, to the extent that it was relevant at all, made the job of the police, in the crush outside Leppings Lane turnstiles, harder than it needed to be. But it didn't cause the disaster any more than the sunny day that encouraged people to linger outside the stadium as kick-off approached."
Bettison clearly isn't stupid. Therefore one can only surmise that he is being mendacious in citing the non-existant factor of the fans' behaviour; it wasn't relevant at all & Bettison knows it. Moreover, the police's job was made "harder than it needed to be" by the woeful organisation put into place by South Yorkshire Police on the day; I still recall a dazed junior PC telling me as we finally left the ground that it was his first day on the job & he hadn't been equipped with a police radio. As the situation worsened, he had no means of communicating with his fellow officers.
Furthermore, implying that the sunny weather "encouraged" large numbers of fans to "linger outside the stadium as kick-off approached" is both insultingly flippant & untrue. It also infers ever so insidiously that the "drunken fans" myth still applies. It's difficult to fathom the warped mentality of a force which checks the corpses of children to see if they had alcohol in their systems.
The online campaign to have Bettison & Patnick stripped of their knighthoods is to be commended. However, such a move is hardly tantamount to justice for the families. Prosecutions of the guilty people (Duckenfield, Bettison, Patnick, MacKenzie, et al) are the least that is required.
15.20 UPDATE: Bettison has released a statement, expressing his apology (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/sep/14/hillsborough-police-chief-liverpool-fans ). Perhaps the thought of what may yet come, & what it would mean for him, concentrated the mind & prompted this seeming mea culpa.