Beverley and Holderness CLP came together on 24 August 2019 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the ‘Battle of Peterloo,’ when protestors died in advocating their demands for the right to vote and improved workers rights.
Meeting on a glorious sunny day at the Old Vicarage in Hedon, courtesy of CLP Chair Steve Gallant, 60 members and sympathisers gathered to hear Steve Hall from Manchester TUC recall the fateful, dreadful day in August 1819 which changed Britain forever.
We still don’t know what the exact death and injury toll was when the local Yeomanry, with sabres in hand, were ordered to attack defenceless protestors. We do know that 13 years later, the Great Reform started the process of ridding the country of its ‘rotten boroughs’ reputation, so well chronicled by Anthony Trollope who himself ran as a parliamentary candidate in Beverley.
But the day was also about having fun, and members were regaled by the irrepressible Margaret Pinder and serenaded by the absolutely fabulous Lynne Petersen.
Our very own Dez Allenby delighted his audience with his own songs of protest of which his version of ‘All along the Watchtower’ was most, in my opinion, memorable.
We also heard poetry from the great Johanna Boal including her own poignant rendition of Shelley’s, ‘Masque of Anarchy’. One of Jeremy Corbyn’s favourite, and most quoted, poems.
A fantastic Barbeque, sorry for the burnt sausages, in wonderful surroundings also saw £1000 being raised to help fight the next election.
However, the most telling lesson of the day was that even though it’s 200 years on from Peterloo, we still don’t have a socialist society. But when we do, we shall remember the victims of Peterloo and that no matter what we achieve or what heights we scale, we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
Beverley and Holderness Constituency Labour Party