Every so often, a pundit pitches a column so full of falsehood and misinformation that it goes beyond comment, beyond propaganda, and so far beyond reality that calling it out becomes a necessity. That line was crossed in no style at all today by the Sunday Sun’s floor-crossing fraud Tony Parsons, as he pretended to care about the Grenfell Tower disaster - and, sick buckets at the ready, folks - the Hillsborough families.
For a Sun columnist to take out a king sized onion and start banging on about Hillsborough takes the ultimate brass neck. Parsons has that neck. But any claim he has to the moral high ground vanishes as he not only blames those who actually give a damn about the less well off, but ponies up a pack of lies in his defence.
From the headline - “Grenfell Tower fire must not be a new Hillsborough where victims’ families have waited 28 years for criminal charges … Those responsible for the death of innocent lives in the Grenfell Tower fire need to face justice now” - Parsons deflects, exaggerates, pretends to care, and ignores his own paper’s shameful past.
Exactly how this is achieved is signposted by the opening salvo: “NOBODY in this country should be forced to wait 28 years for justice … The death of 96 Liverpool football fans at Hillsborough in April 1989 was a national tragedy and making those who loved them wait 28 years for criminal charges is a national disgrace and a mockery of justice”.
Why, Tone, do you think it took so long for the families and friends of the 96 to gain truth, and the access to justice? What paper are you writing for?
Parsons even has the gall to personalise his Hillsborough eulogy: “Trevor Hicks, now 71, lost his two teenage daughters, Sarah and Vicki … Like all the families of the 96, Mr Hicks has conducted himself with restraint and dignity throughout the long years fighting for the truth”. Especially in the face of sustained hostility from your paper.
Then, gradually, Parsons shifts his attention to the Grenfell Tower disaster: “We need to know the truth about a national tragedy as soon as is humanly possible. Twenty-eight years was too long for Hillsborough. And it would be too long for Grenfell Tower … This is not a call for the lynch mob. This is not a call for a rush to attribute blame”. No, it’s a desperate attempt by the Murdoch press to take the moral high ground.
That much was puke-making enough. But then, having laid the groundwork, Tone slips in the whoppers and obediently directs blame where he has been damn well told to.
“Will the victims of Grenfell Tower have to wait 28 years for justice? The nation should come together after a national tragedy. We should be above the cynical posturing of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, who are currently attempting to build the next Labour Government on the bodies of the dead of Grenfell Tower”. Bullshit. They want to see social justice - and not just for overpaid Sun pundits.
Then comes the blatant lie: “The Labour leaders blame Tory cuts for the Grenfell fire, although the cladding of tower blocks began during Tony Blair’s Labour Government when it passed the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order in 2005”.
Two things here. One, cladding tower blocks - to not just insulate them, but also keep water out of the joints in blocks built from reinforced concrete panels - began in the mid 1980s. The Prime Minister then was Margaret Thatcher.
And two, the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order had NOTHING to do with cladding tower blocks.
Does Sir have any more whoppers to serve up? As if you need to ask: “Routine fire inspections ended under Labour and the majority of tower blocks covered in inflammable cladding are in Labour-run councils”. Two more things here.
One, the claim on “routine fire inspections”was made by Theresa May in the Commons last Wednesday, but somehow Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council managed to inspect Grenfell Tower at least 16 times during the two years it took to complete its refurbishment. So that appears to be untrue.
And two, the majority of tower blocks PERIOD is highly likely to be in areas with Labour run councils. Moreover, the culture or corner-cutting can be traced back to the drive for cutting costs - which leads to the body overseeing the cutbacks. Which happens to have been a Tory-led or majority Tory Government.
After all that, Parsons tells his readers “Justice for Grenfell Tower should transcend politics”. Yeah, right. So what was all that blaming Labour about, except not exactly transcending politics?
What justice for the Grenfell Tower victims should involve is to disregard shit-stirring floor-crossing has-beens who are sticking their bugles in on behalf of politically motivated and uncaring billionaires whose only priority is flogging more papers - while seeking to get their grasping mitts on 100% of Sky.
That means keeping the likes of Parsons and all the other obscenely overpaid gobshites well beyond arms’ length, and there is an ideal way to do that.
As they say in large parts of Merseyside … Don’t Buy The Sun.