Wes Streeting MP
As the BBC has reported, “In 2016, inquests concluded those 96 fans had been unlawfully killed. Senior Coroner Andre Rebello said the 55-year-old was the disaster's ‘97th fatality’ and as such, the conclusion was the same”. And in the 32 years since Hillsborough, one constant has endured alongside the memory of those who went to watch a football match and never made it home, and that is the shunning on Merseyside of the Sun newspaper.
Hillsborough memorial at Anfield
It was, after all, the Sun, edited at the time by the deeply unpleasant and still unrepentant Kelvin McFilth, that smeared Liverpool fans in the aftermath of the disaster. So it might have been thought that, immediately after the death of that 97th victim, politicians would stop and think before paying fealty to the Murdoch mafiosi.
The paper with which Wes Streeting is doing business
Sadly, this thought was apparently missed by rodent-like opportunist Wes Streeting, who was only too willing to appear in the Sun, proudly Tweeting out “Poorest kids hit hardest after Tory cuts to policing. It’s time to get tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. This is the Tories’ record. They’re the party of crime and disorder - good for criminals, bad for kids. Me in tomorrow’s Sun”. No link will be provided to that article.
Was he serious? “Yep. Voters read the Sun and we absolutely want to talk to them”. To the paper that not only ran the infamous THE TRUTH smear, but also both blackmailed and deceived the parents of 14-year-old Lee Nicol, who died at Hillsborough. The Sun hack pestering the parents had “stated that without a ‘good’ photo of Lee, the paper would have to use the one taken on the pitch”. A photo of their dead son.
So “To prevent the publication of the photograph of Lee’s death, they provided a school photograph, only to find that the Sun used both, and gave the explicit photograph prominence”. That grim snippet is part of the report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel. It has been available for six years. One wonders if Wes Streeting has read it.
It’s a racing certainty that Ian Byrne has read it. The MP for Liverpool West Derby, whose majority in 2019 was just short of 30,000, has made this observation: “Any Labour MP writing in this rag [the Sun] defies belief but in the week the 97th victim of Hillsborough was unlawfully killed shows little understanding or worse indifference to victims & survivors. I will be asking to address the PLP on what solidarity to my city entails”.
Moreover, not talking to the Sun doesn’t seem to be too harmful to Labour on Merseyside, where their vote share has gone from 39.9% in 1983 to 65.2% in 2019, with only Southport of the 15 constituencies held by the Tories. Those concerned about supermarket shortages and problems travelling abroad might also note that, free from the malign Murdoch influence, the area voted to Remain in the 2016 EU referendum.
Far from needing to talk to the Sun - the paper that has trashed Labour relentlessly for the last four General Election campaigns - it is all too obvious that shunning the Sun and not talking to its singularly unprincipled hacks is the best course of action. Don’t buy the Sun.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at