Monday, January 21, 2013

Thatcher's Poodle Repeats The Same Old Lies

The reaction of those instrumental in spreading the lies about Hillsborough has ranged from seeming remorse (the late, unlamented Irvine Patnick) through to a claim of victim status (the specimen that is Kelvin MacKenzie). Bernard Ingham's response has been that of the cornered rat, lashing out in characteristically venal fashion, despite the findings of the Hillsborough Panel.
Ingham was at it again last week with an outburst which says so much about the individual whose actions during the 80s warranted the soubriquet, "Thatcher's poodle" ( ).
Revelling in his ignorance & hubris, Ingham declared that he hadn't read the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report & also claimed that "political games were being played."
Clearly, Ingham is well-qualified to identify "political games" when he sees them. After all, the role he played in helping Murdoch to acquire both The Times & Sunday Times in 1981 can be filed under the category of political machinations ( ).
Ingham's charmless ejaculation of bile reminds me of what the right-wing hack Donal Blaney wrote a few weeks ago on the Daily Mail's Right Minds blog ( ). As someone who was at Hillsborough, Blaney is very much in a minority of one when he exonerates Patnick et al. That may well have everything to do with Blaney's hard Right politics & nothing to do with reality; an ideologue always inhabits a bubble. Indeed, Blaney refers to Patnick as "the Tory MP who worked most closely with the police". Well, that's one way of putting it.
Expressing astonishment at the condemnation of those such as Patnick, Blaney goes on to say:
"When I attended the Carling Cup Final at Wembley last season, I was greeted by the sight of a banner that read: 'Expose the lies before Thatcher dies'. What lies is Lady Thatcher responsible for exactly? None. The Bishop of Liverpool made that plain in the Hillsborough Report but why let facts get in the way of years of grievances, real or imagined?"
Blaney's professed incredulity is couched in characteristically Daily Mail terms. As such, it attempts to distract attention from the cover-up at the highest levels of government. It's a cover-up whose origins lay in the visit that Thatcher, accompanied by Ingham, made to Hillsborough just 24 hours after the disaster, as David Conn noted in a Guardian piece last year. The article quoted Ingham ( ):
" 'You can't get away from what you were told,' Ingham said. 'We talked to a lot of people; I am not sure if it was the chief constable. That was the impression I gathered: there were a lot of people tanked up outside.' "
Conn later focused specifically on Thatcher's involvement in the cover-up:
"Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said Ingham's explanation that the 'tanked-up mob' account was given to Thatcher by the police confirmed the families' long-held suspicions.
" 'The prime minister got it from the very top, from the police force which caused the deaths of the 96, then went on to blame the fans. It's an absolute disgrace and it sickens me.' "
For Blaney's information, the Bishop of Liverpool made no specific mention of Thatcher at the launch of the Panel's report. As for his sneering reference to "years of grievances, real or imagined", perhaps Blaney might find it instructive to read a government paper released under the 30-year rule at the end of 2011 ( ).
Maybe we shouldn't be so taken aback by Blaney's words. After all, as someone who is pleased to be described as the nearest thing the UK has to a Fox News commentator ( ), Blaney seems to be an arch-exponent of denial & delusion, as this classic blog post from October of last year attests: .
However, it's to Ingham that we must, reluctantly, return. His disdain for those he regards as the architects of their own tragedy sits uneasily with an episode from his own ostensibly law-abiding background ( ).
Additionally, Ingham's willingness to believe any old pack of lies he's told explains his presence in Chris Morris' brilliant spoof on the evils of the deadly drug "Cake" back in 1997 ( ).
Given Ingham's , ahem, chequered track record, it's puzzling why he continues to be viewed by the media as a credible commentator, a point you could make to his agents, United Agents (email: or phone +44(0)2032140884). 

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