Hillsborough Inquiry – the unasked questions

Much fuss is being made by those in denial about the Hillsborough incident about the answers to the ten questions that the jury were instructed to answer. In particular, the nine that relate to the failures in duty of care by the police and by the stadium operators.

When, after an event that included fatalities, asking whether there was a failure of duty of care is a loaded and under-analysed question to which it is almost impossible to answer “no”, because to do so would imply that nothing further could have been done. That is clearly not the case.

Obviously, since people died, more could have been done. However, to use this to blame the police and stadium operators for murder, which is what the baying crowd around the gallows is doing, is completely unreasonable.

The ten questions need to be expanded to enable the full truth to be dealt with. Here are some unasked questions that it would benefit all concerned to answer. Mine are provided.

11. Hillsborough Stadium was a long-standing venue where thousands of football matches, including important cup matches, had been held without incident. Had all fans arrived in plenty of time to get into the ground, would the deaths have happened? Yes or no. No.

12. Have the lessons from the incident been used to make football in particular and crowd control in general far safer today than when it took place? Yes or no. Yes.

13. Can any further lessons be learned from this incident that will improve crowd safety more? Yes or no. No.

14. Will any of the conclusions of this latest in a long series of inquiries make any difference to crowd safety in future? Yes or no. No.

15. 96 Liverpool fans died because they were crushed by other Liverpool fans. Yes or no. Yes.

16. When crowds stop behaving like sentient, mature human beings and demonstrate a behaviour indistinguishable from sheep, they need to be managed like sheep, not humans, for their own safety. Yes or no. Yes.

17. When Liverpool fans stopped behaving in a safe manner, was it reasonable for the entire burden of responsibility for their safety, and the blame for any consequences, to fall on the police, stewards and stadium staff? Yes or no. No.

18. Did the police fail to anticipate the extent that Liverpool fans outside the ground would start to behave like sheep that day? Yes or no. Yes.

19. Were the concerns about crowd safety outside the ground the root cause of the decision to open gate “C”? Yes or no. Yes.

20. Is there any evidence whatsoever that any member of the police, stewarding team or stadium management meant any harm to come to anyone that day? Yes or no. No.

21. Which inquiry used to most white paint, this one or Hutton?…

The one interesting thing about this hugely expensive inquiry is how very rapidly its findings faded from the national media’s interest. For once, they seem to recognise a local story for what it is – of local interest only.

Money well spent? Yes or no. No.