The idea that justice should not be administered promptly may go back as far as Magna Carta (1215), clause 40 of which promises “To no one will we delay justice.” A more modern version was expounded by that great Liberal William Gladstone, who in the House of Commons in 1868 coined the phrase “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
So why is it that in the UK, for years seen as a beacon of democracy, fairness and respect for human rights, it has become commonplace for victims to wait years, on some occasions decades, for justice?
In the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989, in which 97 football fans died and 786 were injured, it was not until 2016 that an inquest finally ruled that it was not “their fault” but the result of a “catalogue of failings by the police.”
In the 1990s hundreds of postmasters were wrongly accused of fraud and it was not until 2019 that they were exonerated. By this time 59 of them had already died (and it may be that some are still waiting for their compensation).
The Grenfell Tower disaster happened in June 2017 and now, six years later, some of the victims who survived have still not been adequately rehoused and none of those responsible for the inadequacies that led to the disaster have been fined, still less imprisoned.
The “alleged” (carefully chosen word) mismanagement of the Covid pandemic began with the “alleged” delays in implementing a lockdown in March 2020. Now, over three years later, the enquiry into the affair is being (deliberately?) delayed by wrangling over what evidence should be revealed.
The House of Commons has yet to rule on whether or not Prime Minster Johnson “knowingly” missed them over his numerous parties during the lockdowns.
Sadly Britain is in the grip of a ruling and entitled elite who evade responsibility for their actions by delaying tactics in the expectation that by the time the truth emerges the public will have lost interest and can be disarmed by the dangerous phrase, “going forward.”