Professor Phil Scraton on the Government response to the James Jones report.
Disappointment at Government response to the James' Jones report
The Government response to the James Jones' report yesterday marks another significant moment in the long journey of the Hillsborough tragedy's aftermath. Professor Phil Scraton, a key figure in this process, has been vocal about the impact and implications of this latest development. His work, as the main author of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report and his book, "Hillsborough: The Truth," has been instrumental in bringing to light the flaws in the original inquests and the systemic issues surrounding the tragedy. He had this to say of the government's belated response;
'The five year delay in making a statement on the James Jones' report is the latest example of Government complacency in responding to the suffering long endured by Hillsborough bereaved families and survivors. Following the publication of two extensive reports on the disaster in 1990 and 1995, in 1997 Howard Davis and I published a Home Office commissioned report 'Beyond Disaster'. Its key recommendation was to establish a Charter for the Bereaved. Its 53 detailed recommendations focused on central and local government responses and obligations in the aftermath of tragedies, the need for integrated organisational structures for inter-agency co-operation, together with specialist crisis support for the bereaved and survivors. The Report was shelved.
In 2012 the findings of Hillsborough Independent Panel Report, for which I headed the research and was primary author, brought a 'double apology' from the then Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, a new criminal investigation and new inquests. The latter reversed the verdicts of accidental death, finding that all who died had been killed unlawfully while attributing primary responsibility to the South Yorkshire Police and exonerating fans of any blame. Since then it has taken eleven years for the Government to respond and seven years since the James Jones' report. Yet still the Government fails to address the core issues initially raised by our research 26 years ago. Yes, a quarter of a century! While 97 men, women and children died at Hillsborough, the lives of many others have been cut short as a consequence of their struggle for justice. Today constitutes yet another blow to dignified families and survivors whose determination and fortitude has given hope to so many people involved in other campaigns.'