The weather forecasters got it wrong again. They told me it’s warming up, yet all I keep seeing are photos of Policemen in balaclavas—must have been freezing at that g20 demonstration. Silvermans must be doing a roaring trade in wooly headgear for Constable Savage, poor love obviously feels the cold. They also sell duct tape for covering-up those annoying shiny lapel numbers. It’s nice to see there are some retailers who have inadvertently benefited from the financial collapse. I shall wait to purchase my cold weather gear til the bitter gales off the Thames rip around the Valley of Lost Dreams and nibble about me vitals. It’ll be sad enough watching a season involving the likes of Yeovil and Hartlepool, let along enduring a north-easterly unprotected. I’m sure that nice Bobby behind the goal will lend me his if I ask him.
It’s 1981 since we were in the 3rd tier of the english league and, to be brutally honest, it’s no more than we deserve. Playing against the best was great while it lasted but let’s get back to what we know best: pub football, where the only use of ‘wonder-goal’ is when someone wonders if we’ll ever score a goal again and the rotation-system is the one used by fans queuing for the urinals, not by the manager for the squad. There are many upsides to third division football, one of which being you’ll always get in, another is there’s plenty of room to stretch out, and if you get to the ground early enough you get a game.
If only the Charlton back four obeyed orders as well as the boys-in-blue did on April 1st. Someone (could it have been Daisy Boo of they Yard?) gave the ‘balaclavas on’ order, the bugle played “Tape-Up”, then came the ’99 call’ and a beautifully choreographed sortie began into the massed ranks of 3rd Battalion Swampy. I’m sure there were a lot lot of herberts there, spoiling for a punch-up in the demo that day—there usually are—I just, as yet, haven’t seen footage of a copper getting a pasting. As in all conflicts there were civilian casualties as a policeman with a truncheon and a riot shield has never been a precision weapon of war. If the end hadn’t been so tragic it’d be almost laughable that a large number of these acts of brutality were caught on CCTV — the very same ones that so many have called an invasion of privacy, and those that the Old Bill use as part of their own daily life. I’m sure there’s absolutely no connection between the Hendon Brigade trying to mask their id numbers and faces and the fact they knew that they’d be on camera. Charlton have been on tv camera for years and they’ve never been as devastating in attack as Her Majesty’s Finest were on that fateful day.
I notice that in a last ditch-effort to recover whatever credibility she has left, Jacqui Smith has released the Hillsborough disaster “secret files” ten years earlier than is necessary. Quite why they weren’t released immediately, and why the South Yorkshire Police will still have control of the documents (and not an independent inquiry) is beyond me. They’ll show that Liverpool fans were originally investigated for what happened that day, following the knee-jerk accusations of crowd trouble and football violence that spread like wildfire that day and over the following days. What they won’t show by the time any independent body gets its hands on the files is who in the SYP was to blame, what conversations and interviews took place between officers, and which were hushed-up. Will this new info allow for prosecutions for 96 deaths? Have the police really changed in 20 years since Hillsborogh (twelve of which under a supposedly socialist government) ?
Let’s hope the family of the G20 victim Ian Tomlinson won’t have to wait 20 years til they get their answers. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.