Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

Taken from STUMBLING AND MUMBLING: April 27, 2016



The truth about Hillsborough has of course always been known. What

happened yesterday was that it finally became incontrovertible. I fear,

though, that the context of Hillsborough is in danger of being forgotten

– that context being that the 1980s was an era of moral panic about the

working class.

Back then, football fans were mostly working people. It cost only £2 to

get into a first division game in the mid-80s, and the influx of fashionable

middle-class men talking about “the footie” was a post-Gazza, post-Hornby

phenomenon. Such fans were the object of fear and contempt by the police

and Tory party: Thatcher tried to impose ID cards onto them. Here’s how

When Saturday Comes described the attitude towards fans then:

The police see us as a mass entity, fuelled by drink and a singleminded

resolve to wreak havoc by destroying property and attacking

one another with murderous intent. Containment and damage

limitation is the core of the police strategy. Fans are treated with the

utmost disrespect. We are herded, cajoled, pushed and corralled

into cramped spaces, and expected to submit passively to every new



However, football fans were not the only object of class-based moral

panic. Thatcher famously described miners as “the enemy within”:

not, note, people with mistaken ideas but an enemy, comparable to

warmongering fascists. And there were panics about “new age travellers”

and “acid house”.

June 2016

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