Ring out the old, ring in the new. It's a phrase that will resonate with many tonight. It also has an extra resonance in the case of Irvine Patnick, whose death was announced yesterday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20872924 ).
Patnick was, of course, the source for the Sun's infamous front page a few days after Hillsborough; he was the willing conduit for South Yorkshire Police's campaign of lies & smears. Patnick happily supplied Murdoch's rag with the allegations that, inter alia, the fans pickpocketed the bodies around them, that the fans drunkenly & aggressively stormed the gates to the Leppings Lane terrace (a myth repeated by Bernard Ingham in his "tanked-up mob" quote to the press less than 24 hours later), that the fans urinated on the bodies of their fellow supporters, & that first aid staff were attacked when they attempted to help.
This blog named Patnick almost exactly six years ago (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/naming-names.html ). I continued to cite him periodically over the next few years, knowing that Patnick couldn't sue for libel because it was, to coin a phrase, The Truth. However, his passing, welcome though it is to many, now means, regrettably, that he won't appear in court on a charge of perverting the course of justice.
That tiresome sentiment about not speaking ill of the dead was wheeled out by some on Twitter last night, notably Harry Cole (https://twitter.com/MrHarryCole ), contributing editor of the Spectator --a magazine which has always had such good things to say about Merseyside-- & Donal Blaney (https://twitter.com/Donal_Blaney ), an occasional scribbler for the Daily Mail's curiously-titled Right Minds blog &, in the words of Iain Dale, "The closest thing we have in Britain to a Fox News commentator". Sometimes you really are damned by your own allies, aren't you?
If it really is indecent to criticise & castigate those no longer able to speak for themselves, it's a convention that Patnick himself patently ignored. Patnick was a liar & a coward of the first order. Let that be his epitaph.