Issue Maintaining dignity

As told by Michael Wood

It came to me as I played with a new phone on the way back from a gig on Friday night: “Have you seen this: It is unbelievable.”

It was the jigsaw, of course, it is stunningly crass for all the reasons that everyone would think it is and it is probably a good thing that Amazon.co.uk have withdrawn it from sale.

Likewise YouTube – owned by Google – withdraw the video of the 11th of May, 1985 when they are asked to and when it is posted and when it is posted it sometimes comes with off colour comments or voiceover. Fox TV sanctioned this with When Good Times Go Bad 3 some years ago. They got the footage from the Fire Brigade who got it from Yorkshire Television who kept it “under lock and key” until such a time when Granada bought the safe.

YTV’s inability to maintain a cordon around the footage was prescient of the post-Internet age ownership of media rights and the continued misappropriation and reuse of the 11th of May, 1985 footage – appropriated to being a jigsaw in this instance – is a part of that problem. In a media world where a mass of people believing they have the right to download an album of someone else’s work or a movie someone else has made and use/keep it without paying a pay a penny how does one instil a sense of ownership of an image or of some footage or of the grief that accompanies that? Appeals to good decency are almost always met with the same response from Fox, from Diaddora who used the footage in an advert, from people selling on eBay and probably from Amazon.
“We are sorry, we did not know you would be offended.”

Bradford has no organisation to swing behind it in the that Liverpool supporters do. One could argue that we do not need it with our tragadies not being the subject of inter-club rivary as Hillsbrough is but the fact that we also lack the boycotting power means we are – for want of a better phrase – ignorable.

The Sun still suffers with sales in Liverpool, as far as anyone can tell The Daily Star does not suffer similarly in Bradford. One would think that tragedy was treated even handedly but this is not the case.

However one doubts the people from Bradford and Lincoln who lost loved ones and the wider communities would like to live with the constancy of reminders about Hillsborough. The fire of 11th May, 1985 has always been more local, more individual, more Bradford.

The infrequency of the transgressions such as the jigsaw is regrettable but it is infrequent. Our riposte as a community – take a lead from the praise given to the families involved and the people of Bradford by Justice Popplewell – is to meet these situations which are sadly inevitable with a dignity, brushing off the debris of people who would seek to profit financially, or chillingly in enjoyment, from the fire.

Maintain dignity. A dignity that cannot be tarnished by this or a thousand assaults such as this.