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Wednesday 26 September 2012

Kelvin McFilth Protests Too Much

[Update at end of post]

Hardly a day passes without someone out there on the right proving true what is known as Olbermann’s Dictum: “The right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood”, and today’s adherent is none other than former editor of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun Kelvin MacKenzie, who has decided that all that grief he and the Sun got after Hillsborough was the rotten rozzers’ fault.

You think that the first day of April has come early? It certainly looks like the most ridiculous of propositions, but he is apparently serious: according to the Spectator, Kel has instructed lawyers to demand an apology for what has resulted in him suffering “personal vilification for decades”. And he suggests that the Sun only got the treatment it did on Merseyside because of its support for the Tories.

Er, hello, this is crap, isn’t it? I mean, wall-to-wall crap of the freshest and most steaming kind? While Kel is right to point out that his paper was not the only one churning over the smears orchestrated by South Yorkshire Police to cover up their utter ineptitude, the others all withdrew their stories pronto – and apologised – as soon as it came clear that the facts were rather different.

The Sun never did that. And the idea that it was singled out by those in Liverpool just because of its support for Margaret Thatcher is equally bunk: the Mail and Express were both supportive of the Tories throughout the 80s, as were the Telegraph and Times. None of these titles – not even the Murdoch ones – attracted the ire of Scousers. MacKenzie is once again playing the victim.

And Kel also forgets – conveniently – that his decision to run the front page that got the Sun into so much trouble was queried by one of his senior reporters, but that he ultimately wielded such power at the paper that nobody dare actually stand up to him. It was, as with everything else, down to his behaviour and ultimately his refusal to retract and apologise repeatedly over the years.

After all, the Taylor report – published the year after the Hillsborough tragedy – stated at the outset that the cause of the crush that led to 96 Liverpool fans dying was a failure of Police control. That should have caused MacKenzie to at least stop and think. He did not. Time and again, he declined to apologise, or on the occasion that he did, later stated that this was only because Rupe told him to.

So now he’s going to law to try and dump his obstinacy and prejudice onto the Police, the very group of public servants that the Sun under his editorship unfailingly supported throughout the 80s, whatever their actions. As Richard Littlejohn, one of Kel’s contemporaries, would have been quick to say, you couldn’t make it up. One can only hope that any action gets laughed out of court.

After all, that couldn’t happen to a nastier specimen than Kelvin McFilth.

[UPDATE 27 September 2045 hours: South Yorkshire Police, via their current Chief Constable David Crompton, have said that, while they have apologised to the fans and their families, they will not be apologising to Kelvin MacKenzie.

As Crompton points out, "he chose to write his own headline and he should accept responsibility for it". The secretary of the Hillsborough Families Support Group has said that Kel's attempt to play the victim "beggars belief".

MacKenzie is of course free to pursue his legal action further, but the most likely outcome is that he gets a final response along the lines of that delivered in the case of Arkell versus Pressdram (1971). He is uniquely qualified to interpret those wise words]


Alistair Coleman said...

From the BBC report: A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said the force "awaits Mr MacKenzie's letter with interest".

Which, as we all know, is legalese for "because heaven knows we could do with a good laugh"; and the reply would be sourced from the reply given in Arkell vs Pressdram (1971)

Richard T said...

it's hard to see what Kelvin MacKenzie is trying to prove unless he wishes to demonstrate unequivocally that he is a bigger channel through which excrement passes than we thought he was.