On Monday night, [October 17 2011], MPs in the House of Commons discussed the release of documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster of April 15 1989 in which 96 innocent football fans were killed.
BBC Parliament covered it on TV, and I'll bet they got the highest viewing figures they've ever had. MPs of all parties spoke in support - the final vote in favour was unanimous - and it was incredibly powerful, moving, even inspiring!
Because it's what politics is supposed to be about - passionate, and for the good of the people.
There were heroes - Steve Rotherham MP, whose speech was honoured as one of the best in the house in decades. You can see it here. Andy Burnham, Maria Eagle and a few other MPs deserve credit.
There was a huge spontaneous round of applause from the public gallery for MP Alison McGovern's speech, and her words had some MPs in tears.
And I shed my own tears for the 96, their families, friends and fellow travellers and for people like Sheila Coleman [Hillsborough Justice Campaign], Jenny Hicks [Hillsborough Families Support Group] and Anne Williams [Hope for Hillsborough]. Then there all the individuals, like survivor Peter Carney, who have fought for 22 years but only now are getting a glimpse of 'closure'.
I'd urge you to try to see the whole debate; it's more eloquent, illuminating and informative than I can be here, and it was [surprisingly] non-partisan, also correcting all of the lies, myths, accusations and stereotypes that were spun immediately after the tragedy, and which have hurt the perception of the city, and moreso the people of Liverpool ever since...
I'll declare an interest, albeit a fairly obvious one. I'm a Liverpool fan, I'm anti-establishment and I'm a proud Scouser. On the 20th anniversary, one of my songs, Heart As Big As Liverpool was used to commemorate the 96 who died on that terrible day. I was honoured and humbled to stand arm in arm with survivors and family members to watch those 96 names remembered to a background of my music.
But also on the 20th anniversary, I was asked by NME to write a piece about Hillsborough. I was proud to be able to help raise awareness, especially in a once-beloved publication. What really shocked me was the nasty comments posted after the article by ill-informed indie kids about the tragedy, and the people of Liverpool. Luckily, I was able to call on friends and fans to reply, which they did swiftly and with great enthusiasm!
Because the search for truth and justice isn't exclusive to Liverpool fans. EVERY family in the city - red, blue or neutral - was impacted. And beyond Liverpool too, like the Hicks family, who'd travelled up from London, and who lost two daughters.
But all decent people get it, and not just football people. Happy Mondays did the first Hillsborough benefit I was involved with at the Hacienda. The La's and The Mission did the next one in Liverpool with me and Mick Jones of the Clash.
The Hillsborough families also have the support of Gerry Conlon [Guildford Four], Paddy Hill[Birmingham Six] and John McManus, who now run MOJO, the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation..
Thousands of people have kept the eternal flame of hope alive in these long 22 years and all deserve credit and our thanks.
Recently, Mick and me, along with the Farm and many others, played a benefit for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, which was also in memory of murdered Jay McVey, another victim of a miscarriage of justice, under the banner 'DON'T BUY THE SUN'.
In Liverpool, there's been an incredibly effective boycott of The Sun since it printed disgusting lies days after the horror of Hillsborough, and neither they nor their rabid rentaquote editor of the time, Kelvin McKenzie have ever apologised, or been brought to book for the outrage, although there's talk of the "Murdoch" select committee finally dragging them in. Cardiff City fans have recently started their own boycott after a murdered supporter was needlessly vilified in that rag.
But there are other villains in this piece besides Kelvin McKenzie and the Sun...
Let me share the words: CONSPIRACY, COVER UP, COWARDLY, CONSERVATIVES. CLASS WAR!
There was a proven conspiracy from the moment the awful reality dawned that day...
Top cop David Duckinfield briefed within the hour that a gate had been broken down by 'drunken Liverpool fans', when in fact he had directly ordered it to be opened! Margaret Thatcher's spokesman Bernard Ingham also briefed directly to the press etc that fans who were "a tanked-up mob" were responsible - and nobody did or said anything without Maggie's say so. And the cowardly South Yorkshire Police not only lied, changed officers' statements, tested the dead including children for alcohol, they then set up a black ops team to 'manage' their lying story afterwards. Again, this is acknowledged fact, not conspiracy theory - read Brian Reade's story.
And class war? Liverpool, and it's unique independent way of thinking, was Thatcher's nemesis, and paid the price for resistance over and over...
No wonder there's a new campaign: "EXPOSE THE LIES BEFORE THATCHER DIES." Because despite the hope brought by the debate on Monday night, there are still fears to be addressed:
Apologies from Thacher, Ingham, The Sun, Kelvin McKenzie, Duckinfield and the police may go some way to soothing the pain. But surely there should be consequences for the frankly evil behaviour perpetrated?
The release of all documents, including cabinet briefings, will help us move on.
Downside: There are now TWO MILLION more documents for the Hillsborough Independent Panel to pore over. That's some workload! And can we be sure of the independence of this latest inquiry? When it comes to the establishment, as Keef notes, it's 'once bitten twice shy'...
Will there be pressure on the panel? Will the much talked about "redactions[editing/censoring]" be used to continue the cover up? Will the Sun reveal their sources and additional information?
What of the 'lost' evidence, like CCTV tapes from the stadium on the day? And why has truth and justice taken so long?.
Will all the groups - Hillsborough Families Support Group, Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Hope for Hillsborough - be equally represented?
So there are fears, but there is hope. There have been false dawns before, but we keep believing. Justice is supposed to be equal for everyone - the mere fact that people have to fight for justice is indictment enough of the establishment and of the society we live in.
As one great Scouser once said: "GIMME SOME TRUTH!"
And to the 96 - YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE...
More human stories shared here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/localhistory/discover/hillsborough/
Follow Pete Wylie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/petewylie