Why Doesn't David Cameron Set Up a Leveson Inquiry for Hillsborough?

13/09/2012 13:51 BST | Updated 12/11/2012 10:12 GMT

Why isn't Lord Justice Leveson holding a Public Inquiry into Hillsborough?

After all, it involves the press, the police, a blatant cover-up lasting years, politicians and the establishment actively assisting that cover-up, judges going along with the concealment of the truth, taxpayer funded public services lying, distorting and doctoring evidence... and 96 dead people.

Particularly when it is now clear that 41 of those people might still be alive if the authorities had been more interested that day in saving lives rather than instantly going into rescue mode over their own reputations.

Don't we need to publically and forensically examine and expose just how all those forces combined to both libel and maintain that foul libel for so long against those poor men and women, and the families left behind?

With respect, surely such an Inquiry would be at least as valid as the current Leveson Inquiry into the media which a panicking David Cameron has already spent £5m on to try and protect his own reputation...

But what could we learn usefully from such a public examination of those appalling events in Sheffield 23 years ago? Are there really any lessons to emerge from what happened in those dark days for today's world?

The simple answer is a simple yes. Because the Hillsborough cover-up that began in April 1989 continued, and was actively helped to continue, by a succession of police, politicians, public officials and judges right up until just three years ago when one courageous minister in the last government - Ironically, Everton-supporting MP Andy Burnham - said "Enough! It's time for the truth to come out."

I have no doubt that the single biggest issue that would emerge from just such a Leveson Inquiry into Hillsborough is the way SECRECY allowed that evil to fester.

It would open up to the daylight the danger to you and I of entrusting access to TRUTH - yes, that ever-present word in the Hillsborough story - to the powerful and those in power.

It would properly expose for the lie it is the assumption that those who rule over our lives act solely for the benefit of the public they are appointed to serve, rather than in their own sordid self-serving best interests.

And it would show up the way too many laws are designed, and time and again actively misused, by the establishment to hide the inconvenient, cover-up the damaging, and protect their own who committed the downright wrong.

The 400,000 previously-hidden documents examined by the Hillsborough Independent Panel led bravely by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, disclosed that that is what went on for years.

What needs to happen next is a Leveson Inquiry, with all the same powers His Lordship has used against the press for the last year, to expose publically HOW it was able to happen.

It needs to publically cross-examine the 164 former police officers who altered their evidence; the senior officers who orchestrated that doctoring of the facts; the ACPO officers still in post; the coroner who arbitrarily decided all the victims died by 3.15pm that day, and the laws that gave him the power to do it; the previous Inquiry chairmen who connived with the ongoing cover-up; that local MP who supported the South Yorkshire Police lies and was then rewarded five years later with a knighthood; those in Whitehall, particularly the Home Office, who at best wilfully ignored the evidence before their very eyes; the mindset that allowed newspapers, particularly the Sun, to assume the police would be telling the truth; the politicians of both parties who went along with burying the truth with those 96 dead Liverpool fans; and, most of all in my view, the secrecy laws that allowed them to get away with it. And it must all be done in public, in front of the cameras, with full legal powers to compel witnesses and evidence.

Because it is abundantly clear that the only reason the families of the 96 dead have got some justice now is because at last those many-layered veils of secrecy were ripped aside by the courage of Andy Burnham.

The current Leveson Inquiry into the Press has been hijacked by those constantly seeking new curbs on the media in the name of privacy, though there is no doubt there have been serious excesses that deserved exposure and potential condemnation.

But one huge lesson of Hillsborough must be that we need more open access to state secrets not less; that it is restrictions on information provision that need ripping up, not the current blocks being maintained; that we must now install defences against the establishment being allowed to hide truth in your name.

We currently have a Freedom of Information Act in this country, brought in by Tony Blair. He ended up hating it, because it unfortunately allowed the public to do what it said on the tin - get information.

You won't be surprised to know politicians of all parties, spurred on urgently behind the scenes by outraged civil servants and public bodies like coroners (familiar?) public bodies (familiar?) and the Police (familiar?), are now trying to emasculate the FoI and remove all its teeth.

I believe a Leveson Inquiry for Hillsborough is vital to force all those involved in the cover-up to explain and justify how they acted to protect their own vested interests at the expense of truth and justice.

It is also vital to ensure it can never happen again - and the only way to achieve that is to rip up the secrecy laws that allowed that cover-up to go on for so long. Are you listening, Mr Cameron?