Peterloo: 16th August 1819. Can acting PM Boris sort a re-enactment?

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2016 by kmflett

Boris Johnsonpeterloo16

The Peterloo Massacre took place 197 years ago today in St Peter’s Field in central Manchester.

Many thousands had come from surrounding towns and villages to demand the vote and to hear speakers including Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt.

They were cut down by Yeomanry on horseback using sabres and numbers died or were injured.

Much work is underway in Manchester to mark the 200th anniversary and Mike Leigh is making a film.

In the meantime its worth recalling a couple of points that EP Thompson made about Peterloo in the Making of the English Working Class.

Thompson notes ‘the actual bloody violence of the day. It really was a massacre.. there is no term for (it) but class war. But it was a pitifully one sided war…Eleven were killed or died from their wounds’.

The second point Thompson makes is ‘the sheer size of the event, in terms of its psychological impact.. it was without question a formative experience in British political and social history’.

A great deal more could be said.

However as Boris Johnson is acting Prime Minister this week surely he could organise a re-enactment to mark one of the most important events in modern British history. Obviously no deaths or injuries are required but the class war and the political theatre of the occasion must surely appeal to him


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