It was 1989. Tumultuous. The Miners' Strike, played out when I was too young to realise what was going on, was over in defeat for the miners. Conservative Party politicians exulted in their victory and, along with them, the people that identified with them. Secret Tories were a thing because public anger was so strong but selfishness was the only way to survive. Even I knew that by 1989. Poll Tax riots were coming, violent clashes with police were rife and Hillsborough.
I knew then, in 1989, that something terrible had happened. My family weren't really into the whole football scene, but my father was. He hated Liverpool and their fans, hated them. But he sang along to You'll Never Walk Alone that year. We listened to it in silence on the radio one evening I think, but I could be making that up. I knew then that something wasn't right. Newspapers and reports didn't match the pictures I had seen on Match of the Day. Survivors and victims. But animals and drunkards, according to the great and the good. Those who exulted.
I did not appreciate the depths sunk to, did not realise the full horror. Not until much later. And, lamentably, I ignored it all. And the recent verdict, long in coming but painfully obvious and almost banal in the odious behaviour uncovered by those in positions of power, has brought it all back.
Because there are strikes again. We have an unfettered Conservative Party government again. Engaging in the same political tricks that even I recognised by 1990.
But the times have changed. I am in a position of responsibility. I see what is happening to some of the best things about my home - the deliberate destruction, ideologically rather than evidentially motivated, of government regulation, control and organisation. An orgy of privatisation for the enrichment of spivs and chancers at the expense of, well, anyone else. Honest or dishonest, deserving or undeserving - all victims of theft so breath-taking... And I've seen this brewing. And I have stood by and let it happen.
There is no violence now. No tension. No dissatisfaction. People in the streets are starved of the oxygen of publicity so no one feels able to make a difference. Greedy people will sell you out, others won't stand with you, alone you will be crushed. What's the point? People ask, what's the point? Nothing will change. This is the way it has always been. Exultant.
Except that I have watched it change. Autistic enough to make a pattern, stupid enough to voice it, angry enough to be shocked. Depressed enough to do nothing. And they continue to exult, in Parliament on the government benches, in the media controlled by a few billionaires, even on social media masquerading as 'balance' and 'sobriety' and 'seriousness' and 'patriotism'. It is comforting to blame others, to claim the victims and the survivors, of Hillsborough, Syria, Ecuador, Haiti, Ukraine, to claim they are animals. To claim that they are the ones to blame for their own misfortune.
I'm back in the 1980s, but the anger has been turned on the victims through the victims by those in power who gain so much from this. They have a new, more lasting, victory, and they are exulting in it. And I, who am not them, am letting them.