IF Paul Nuttall’s tribulations over the Hillsborough tragedy teach us anything, it is that the mass media cannot be far off discovering that the entire affair is Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.
Labour’s Stoke by-election candidate Gareth Snell declares that his Ukip rival Nuttall has “questions to answer” as though this is the Spanish inquisition and Snell is Torquemada, the massed ranks of the liberal and conservative press will roar with one voice.
Leader writers will ask: “Where does this leave Corbyn’s supposed commitment to a nicer and more gentle politics?”
Does Nuttall merit the rack for making understandable mistakes about where he was back in 1989 when 96 Liverpool football fans died because of police incompetence and had their memory defiled for decades via a police-Tory-government-Murdoch-media conspiracy?
Shouldn’t notorious Arsenal supporter Corbyn have offered to fine-comb Nuttall’s website every evening to spare the authentic voice of northern England’s proletariat from making a regular plonker of himself?
It’s even more difficult than it should be for the Ukip leader because he remembers being both inside and outside Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium.
When interviewed this week, Nuttall left Radio City listeners in no doubt that he was appalled, sorry and taken aback to find that his personal website suggested inaccurately that he had lost close personal friends in the tragedy.
Step forward loyal employee Lynda Roughley to offer to fall on her sharpened dictaphone, only for her self-sacrifice to be rejected by her boss because one “minor error” should not cancel years of loyal service.
But things never run smoothly in a Ukip leader’s life of finding and losing close personal friends.
Archived BBC TV news pages reveal him voicing disgust in August 2011 at cover-up efforts by David Cameron’s Tory/Liberal Democrat government.
“This is a cover-up of a cover-up. What are the Tories frightened of? The people of Liverpool will be disgusted by these cowardly moves to hide the truth,” the North West MEP thundered.
So where had the Bootle Battler been since being traumatised at the Leppings Lane end?
Genuine campaigners for justice such as Hillsborough Family Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall and local Labour MP Steve Rotheram, backed by his colleague Andy Burnham, don’t recollect Nuttall involving himself in any way.
He might, like some who experienced the Leppings Lane horror, have been suffering post-traumatic disorder.
However, there is an alternative theory as to why a politician raging against the Tory prime minister in 2011 over the Hillsborough tragedy did not speak out earlier, did not recount his own torment and did not work with the Justice for the 96 (JF96) campaign.
This is that the future scourge of Cameron actually chose, in the wake of Hillsborough, to join the Tories, representing them in the 2002 local government elections. His political priority was to stand alongside those who spat in the faces of the JF96 campaigners rather than those defending the reputation of the dead.
Nuttall now remembers doing precisely the opposite. Trauma can do that to a man.
Labour’s brutal commander-in-chief Corbyn should show compassion to his shattered opponent and tell Torquemada Snell to do likewise.
Let there be no more chatter about who was where and when in Sheffield in 1989.
Red Jeremy must insist on debate centring on employment, protecting the NHS from privatisation and building a post-EU Britain that prioritises working-class interests.
We shall see then how much Nuttall’s previously expressed policies have changed for this by-election.
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