Mrs Thatcher may not be dead yet despite the wishes of many in the Labour Party and the TUC who want to dance on her grave but the BBC are happy to put the boot in whilst they’ve got the chance.
This report from the BBC claims Mrs Thatcher was concerned that the police were being criticised over Hillsborough (and plays into BBC intimations about her ‘defending’ the police because of their outstanding work policing the Miner’s strike).
Hillsborough papers: Thatcher’s concern about police criticism by Taylor
Margaret Thatcher had concerns that a report into the Hillsborough disaster constituted a “devastating criticism” of police, newly released papers show.
The then prime minister made the remark in response to a civil servant’s memo about the conclusions of the Taylor report into the 1989 tragedy.
The memo said then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd intended to welcome the “broad thrust” of the report.
But the PM urged him to welcome its “thoroughness and recommendations”.
The new report spells it out without interpretation and spin:
2.6.134 A subsequent briefing note requesting agreement to the Home Secretary’s proposed statement drew a strong response from the Prime Minister:
74 What do we mean by ‘welcoming the broad thrust of the report’? The broad thrust is devastating criticism of the police. Is that for us to welcome? … Surely we welcome the thoroughness of the report and its recommendations – M.T. [Margaret Thatcher].
2.6.135 This change was conveyed to the Home Secretary and adopted in his statement.
So Thatcher was concerned about ‘devastating criticism of the police’?
No she wasn’t.
Clearly she is not wishing to defend the police and is not ‘concerned about criticism of the police’…what she is concerned about is that the government ‘welcomes the thoroughness of the report’…….the previous phrasing, ‘welcoming the broad thrust of the report’, would have implied she was looking to criticise the police….she neither looks to criticise nor defend…what she wants to demonstrate is that the government seeks the truth and backs the findings of the report whatever they may be.
This is a highly misleading story, deliberately so, on a subject that is of great sensitivity and passion…..and one in which someone at the BBC has decided they can try to inflcit as much reputational damage to Mrs Thatcher as possible by falsely trying to make out she was attempting to protect the police from criticism.
Reading the new report it is quite clear that the government fully accepted the findings of the Taylor Report and that it was essentially police failures that lead to the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough…..
2.6.125 The Home Secretary advised the Prime Minister that he had discussed the report with ‘colleagues most closely involved’.
72 LJ Taylor proposed to hold a press conference and Mr Hurd intended to respond via a Home Office statement.
2.6.126 While noting that the report was critical of SCC and SWFC, he stated that: ‘the most severe criticism is directed at the South Yorkshire Police; Taylor concludes that the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control’.
Further, ‘senior officers involved sought to duck all responsibility when giving evidence to the Inquiry’, and ‘[t]heir defensiveness apparently infuriated the Judge’.
2.6.129 The briefing noted that Mr Hurd thought that the Chief Constable ‘will have to resign’ as the ‘enormity of the disaster, and the extent to which the Inquiry blames the police, demand this’
While being ‘a very sorry episode … there seems no reason to think that the report’s conclusions are wrong’.
It is more and more apparent that it is the BBC who welcome the criticism of Thatcher more than anything else and no slur or smear is beneath them.
The BBC has decided to put its authority and credibility behind completely unsubstantiated and highly politicised comments by Jack Straw….no where is he made to reveal any evidence to back up those claims…because there is none…it is pure wishful thinking and political opportunism of the most despicable kind, shabby beyond belief even for a politician.
The BBC is keen to make sure you know that Norman Tebbit is a ‘close personalally’ of Mrs Thatcher…so any comment by him can be discounted as partisan.
Remarkable how much of what Straw said was given air time but so little to the Conservatives to answer such a slanderous lie from the contemptible Straw who is merrily making political hay from the deaths of so many.