The latest episode in the Liverpool Versus The Tories saga hit the news-stands today, with the news that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has implied that hooligans caused the Hillsborough disaster.
I’d be minded to give Hunt the benefit of the doubt as suffering a simple slip of the tongue. To anyone not engaging the brain, Heysel and Hillsborough may be fairly interchangeable: both football tragedies that happened within a few years of each other; both involving LFC; both starting with ‘H’.
But a less charitable reading is that it’s simply the Tory mindset that Liverpool fans are hooligans, or it’s a simple ignorance of history in the frozen wastes up north.
The same sort of ignorance that Chris Grayling displayed when he suggested that Gary Neville was a great model to youngster in Toxteth or Boris Johnson deciding that Ken Bigley’s execution was the right time to have a pop at the city for its sentimentality.
It’s a long-lasting enmity that goes back at least as far as Thatcher, and probably much further. Despite recent Tory attempts to reach out to Merseyside, the region shows no signs of entertaining the Tory advances.
With gaffes like Hunt’s, it’s not surprising.