Those in the right-leaning press who passed comment on the latest PMQs performance yesterday by our not all all unelected Prime Minister spoke not merely approvingly of it, but were full of praise. Theresa May had told that rotten old lefty Jeremy Corbyn where he got off, if only by repeating the claim that she was in power, and he wasn’t, nyaah nyaahdy nyaah nyaah. The moment of dishonesty and delusion got ignored.
That moment came in reply to Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds, as she asserted “I ensured that stop and search was reduced because I don’t believe anyone on the streets of this country should be stopped and searched because of the colour of their skin … And I ensured justice for the families of Hillsborough” (note that the only paper to run this story is the left-leaning Mirror; the rest have ignored it. Draw your own conclusions).
That was news to many on Merseyside. The only MPs to give their unequivocal support to the families of the 96 who died in the fatal crush at the Hillsborough stadium were Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, and the latter was not at all impressed with the PM, reminding us “The only people who deserve credit for taking on the establishment and winning are the families and campaigners who fought for 27 years for truth and justice”.
Dead right. And it got a lot worse when Phil Scraton, the principal author of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report from 2012, gave his response. “After the report’s publication, it was the High Court that quashed the accidental death inquest verdicts, ordering new inquests. As Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May had no option but to initiate a new criminal investigation … following a year of preliminary hearings, the longest-ever inquests ran for two full years, concluding in late April 2016. Their inception, process and outcome had nothing to do with Theresa May” he noted. And there was more.
The exercise had, he continued, little if anything to do with Theresa May: “Establishing the truth of Hillsborough, both in the Panel’s work and via the inquests, was the result of years of painstaking research and investigation. It was conducted often against the odds, in a climate hostile to the truth, bringing threats and disdain to those of us involved. No people know that better than the bereaved families, the survivors and all who have worked throughout to reverse the injustices of Hillsborough”.
And his conclusion was damning: “To witness a Prime Minister, her ego possibly inflated by extraordinary recent events in the United States, claiming that she ensured justice for families is, at best, delusional. At worst it is a culpable untruth, perhaps uttered in the heat of the moment, to gain traction at a time when her integrity already is under scrutiny”.
Once again, the reporting of the PM’s questionable behaviour has been kept out of all those papers that are prepared to cheer her every move. Readers cannot be allowed to know how flawed Ms May really is. Even the BBC is not reporting the story; there is no report on its local Liverpool site. Selective management of news is not just about getting some stories out there, but to prevent others from seeing the light of day.
The families of the 96 secured justice despite the best efforts of the establishment. Theresa May took no part in the process that concluded last year. That is all.