Kate Livingstone: Truthfully putting on a united front

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

My daughter has been coming up against some unexpected opposition recently – from her children.

Jack and Sophie are getting to the age where they have their own opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them.

My hopelessly divided loyalties mean I have waves of sympathy for my daughter and grandchildren in equal measure

Their disagreements with mum are no longer just about getting strapped into a buggy – mind you, that was never a conversation, more like a wrestling match with a eel on steroids.

It’s interesting watching my daughter deal with it all – I try to take a back seat as much as possible, of course, my hopelessly divided loyalties meaning I have waves of sympathy for daughter and grandchildren in equal measure. (I also have waves of irritation too but I try to quell that too.)

Of course, there are times when I think she’s being too soft, at other moments too hard.

Well, I’m a gran, I’m allowed to be irrational.

But there’s one thing that we have an absolutely united front over – and it’s one of the trickiest aspects of bringing up a child.

We don’t tolerate lies.

Of course, they creep in and need to be rooted out.

We’re lucky that usually the lie is obvious, accompanied by a self-conscious grin.

But we never, ever let it go unchecked. Because where would be then?

We’d be living in a world where the chief constable of a major police force could tell a lie to save his own embarrassment.

Where the media would pick up that lie and allow it to go unchecked.

Who know, they might even take that lie and spread it all over the front pages so that those responsible for a dreadful, heart-rending tragedy wouldn’t have to face up to the consequences of their ineptitude for more than 25 years.

I guess you know that I’m talking about Hillsborough and those poor souls whose only ‘crime’ was to be faithful to their beloved football club.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for the bereaved families who have fought such a long, tireless and consistent battle for justice.

It will not bring the 96 back; it will not heal the grief; it will not make right such a dreadful wrong.

But it will allow their memories of their sons, brothers, husbands and daughters, to be reclaimed, as fans, not thugs.

The small lies that our grandchildren try to get away with are miniscule, of course, in comparison.

But do they matter?

Of course they do. Because honesty and integrity matter. And my grandchildren could teach those older and supposedly wiser a valuable lesson.