Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Remember Peterlooo

Thursday is the 188th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, when an estimated 60,000 gathered peacefully in Manchester to demand the right to vote. They were attacked by the yeomanry and 11 were killed and about 500 injured. Incredibly, there is no proper memorial in Manchester: only a small blue plaque which does not even mention that anyone was killed (it refers coyly to the crowd being “dispersed by the military”). Now, as yesterday’s Guardian reports, there is a Peterloo Memorial Campaign campaigning for a proper memorial. Here’s my suggestion: pull down and smash to smithereens the grotesque and ugly statue of the Famine Queen in Piccadilly Gardens and put up a proper Peterloo Memorial in its place. (One can only dream).

It was Peterloo that moved Shelley to write the Mask of Anarchy:

" I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew

….Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw -'


Blogger dreadnought said...

The Plebs got the vote. What more do you want? Don’t say that their sacrifices should be commemorated as well.

To suggest that Her Imperial Majesty’s statue is both grotesque and ugly, and to pull it down! Treason!

10:43 am  

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