Last night I watched the first episode of a television "docu-drama", "Anne," which covers the quarter-century struggle of Anne Williams, mother of the 15 year old Kevin, one of the the 97 football enthusiasts who died as a result of the mismanagement of the crowd in the Hillsborough Stadium in 1989. This episode covered the initial response of those responsible (it was al the fault of drunken hooligans in the crowd) and the sinister pressure on Mrs Williams by "officials" to drop her search for the truth about what had happened to her son. There are another three episodes.
As far as I know, although the truths that the police lied consistently over a long period, and council officials responsible for the safety of the ground were negligent, have all been confirmed, no one was ever never brought to book.
Ghastly as the results were, anyone can make a mistake. The really humiliating indictment of the quality of our civic society is the persistent efforts of officialdom to cover up its errors, escape responsibility, and in all probability retire on a comfortable pension.
A similar story surrounds the failure of the police to investigate thoroughly the murder of the black teenager Stephen Laurence just a few years later in 1993, and the long struggle his family had over 19 years to force the police to investigate properly and prosecute his attackers.
In a very different context, over this weekend Tony Blair, our former prime minister, has been made a Knight of the Garter, KG, the poshest of the Orders of Chivalry, So that's all right then. He who misled the House of Commons and took us into an illegal war in Iraq which caused around 200 000 "violent civilian deaths" gets his reward after all. No mistake can be big enough to rule out the customary reward.
There is nothing new in this. The other prime minister, Anthony Eden, responsible for the other major British post war humiliation, the illegal invasion of Suez, also got a KG and an earldom to boot. Well, at least he also had the reputation of being an effective foreign secretary and popularised a particular style of hat.
But it does seem to me that the British establishment is adept at using its skills to assure us that, whatever the facts turn out to be, all is really for the best in the best of all possible systems.
Part of the technique seems to be to delay processes of investigation for so long that, by the time reports are made, the issue has passed out of topical interest. Will that be the case when the horrible deficiencies, greed and indifference to regulations which lead to the Grenfell tower-block fire are finally confined?
The present government has been keen to delay any inquiry into their handling of the COVID -19 pandemic to well into next year. By the time it ends it's pretty certain that the Prime Minister Johnson will have been ditched and the caravan will have moved on. The delays, the misjudgements, crony contracts, waste and excess deaths will be "history."
Maybe Mr Johnson (or will he be Lord Johnson 2 by then?) will get his KG too.