Look Left – The Hillsborough Report, the Olympic legacy, and decarbonisation

Shamik Das looks back at the week’s politics, including our progressive, regressive and evidence of the week.


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• Twenty three years after 96 football fans were killed in the Hillsborough disaster, the whole truth finally emerged yesterday, triggering calls for prosecutions and a fresh inquiry.

David Cameron issued a full and thorough apology for the “double injustice” of the 1989 stadium disaster, in the “failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth” and the efforts to denigrate the deceased and suggest they were “somehow at fault for their own deaths”.

The key findings of the report (pdf) from the Hillsborough Independent Panel are:

• Police carried out criminal record checks on the deceased to “impugn reputations”;

• Senior officers privately discussed “animalistic behaviour” of “drunken marauding fans”;

• There was no evidence to support police accounts fans were drunk and aggressive;

• The weight placed on blood alcohol levels among the dead was “inappropriate”;

• New evidence suggests dozens of people survived past the 3:15pm inquest cut-off point;

• 116 (one hundred and sixteen) of the 164 South Yorkshire Police statements were doctored;

• South Yorkshire Ambulance Service evidence was misleading.

For our full analysis of the report’s findings, see Kevin Meagher’s report on Left Foot Forward today, and for an eyewitness account of the tragic events of Saturday, April 15th, 1989, see Richard Watts’s article on LabourList.

The truth is out; now for justice.

• The legacy of London 2012 was the main topic at the start of the week.

Sunday saw the end of the Paralympic Games, Monday witnessed a parade of Olympic and Paralympic stars, and to cap an incredible summer, Andy Murray won the US Open in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In Scotland, there were calls for greater investment in grassroots sport following Murray’s extraordinary triumph, with politicians from all sides hoping to bask in reflected glory – see our article here for more.

Wider afield, there have been calls for London to learn the lessons from previous host cities, namely: a clear and consistent vision; a revitalised plan for the Olympic Park; delivering long-term change for East London. For more see our article on safeguarding the Olympic legacy here.

And to see what the post-Games polls are telling us, see our report on whether our golden summer will bring about lasting change here.

• Climate change and energy secretary Ed Davey has come under renewed fire over his Energy Bill, amidst fears the Lib Dems are caving in on a 2030 decarbonisation target.

Davey, in an article on Politics Home yesterday, had sought to take on criticisms from the right that his policy is too statist and from the left that it amounts to nothing more than a nuclear subsidy.

Though he deserves praise for engaging his critics, he remained silent on the most significant critique of his draft law: the lack of any legal goal for reducing carbon emissions from power stations. There was no mention of the 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector, one of the key demands of manufacturing firms and environmental groups.

For more, see our articles from Will Straw, here, and Joss Garman, here.

Progressive of the week:

Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews, who this week ordered the re-marking of GCSE English papers, following the summer grading row. Andrews made his move as Parliament’s education select committee heard of “major flaws” in the way this year’s examinations had been graded.

For more, see our reports here and here.

Regressive of the week:

Right-wing US documentary maker and commentator Dinesh D’Souza, whose new film, “2016: Obama’s America” brings up all the old anti-Obama conspiracy theories and lies, presented as fact, a film so error-strewn it’s difficult to know where to start.

See more in our review of the film here, and check out our latest campaign digests here and here.

Evidence of the week:

The House of Commons public accounts committee report into the Regional Growth Fund, which found its failure “nothing short of scandalous”.

The £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund has only created 2,442 new jobs, with just 13 per cent of the budget so far being spent on the frontline. The report says that, while the cost per job created was £60,000 or less in three quarter of cases, there were examples where it reached more than £200,000 per job.

For more, see our report here.

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