Thursday, 23 August 2012

Time for a fitting and democratic tribute to Peterloo

On Sunday Cllr Mary Di Mauro and I represented the Manchester Liberal Democrats at the Peterloo Memorial rally. There was a very good turnout at the Rally to remember those that were killed and injured during the Peterloo Massacre. During the brief but moving service the names of those that were killed were read out and a flower was laid in their name at the foot of a temporary memorial. 

The Manchester Liberal Democrats are supporting the Peterloo Memorial Campaign for a prominent, explanatory and respectful monument to this hugely significant event in the fight for democracy. At the last full Council meeting I raised objections to Manchester City Council's plans to commemorate Peterloo with a set of Gates blocking off Library Walk. I asked the Leader of the Council to abandon the idea and instead to work with campaigners and residents to find a fitting tribute.  I said that it is vitally important that there is democratic involvement in marking this significant event in our struggle for democracy.  I said the Leader should consider holding a memorial design competition and ensure the public are involved throughout the process. I called for a detailed design brief to be worked up to ensure that the memorial is sited in a prominent location, that it is informative of what happened and it is respectful of those people that gave their lives. 

It now appears that the Council have done a U-Turn on their plans for commemoration gates. Sadly though the Council is not planning to make this a democratic process. The decision to commission the memorial will be made by just three Labour Councillors: Cllr Leese, Cllr R. Battle and Cllr Karney with two council officers acting in an advisory role. 

Manchester Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign alongside Peterloo campaigners and others for a fitting and democratic Peterloo memorial.

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