A conference about Margaret Thatcher is to be held in Liverpool. Seriously.

Thatcher Hillsborough
Support us and go ad-free

A conference dedicated to “the study of Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism” is to be held in Liverpool next year. But the event has already sparked controversy. And if families and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster are unhappy, they probably have good reason to be.

“Thatcherism Now”

The Thatcher Network has organised its second annual conference, called “Thatcherism Now”, to take place in Liverpool in April 2018. The group says it is:

committed to ideological diversity; we endeavour to represent a range of views at our events and our membership is politically diverse.

Speakers at the event include Lord Heseltine, Professor Angela Wilson from the University of Manchester, and David Jeffery from the University of Liverpool. But the event has already made headlines.

As The Liverpool Echo reported, organisers claim they have received “threats” of ‘egg-throwing’ and ‘hospitalisations’ from people objecting to the conference.

“Confusion”

Antony Mullen, convenor of the Thatcher Network, told The Liverpool Echo:

There has been a significant amount of confusion regarding the nature of the Thatcher Network… [people] believed the network was linked to the Conservative Party.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In reality, the Thatcher Network is politically neutral and funded by a politically-neutral charity. Most of its members are left-wing academics – and we welcome all political views.

The threats made – which included being egged, having people hospitalised and demonstrating to stop the Conference taking place – were concerning. However, we are clear that academic freedom must be defended.

But Hillsborough families and survivors may well disagree.

A “culture of impunity”

As The Liverpool Echo reported, Thatcher’s press secretary Bernard Ingham once wrote to a Liverpool FC fan, saying that the city should “shut up” about the disaster that killed 96 people. And Thatcher herself refused to give her full backing to the initial Taylor Inquiry into the tragedy; which led to accusations from Labour that Thatcher encouraged South Yorkshire Police to be a “partisan force” with a “culture of impunity”.

Thatcher: not welcome in Liverpool

It would seem logical to most that holding a conference about one of the most divisive figures in political history in a city forever scarred – in part, by that person’s actions – would be a non-starter.

Although the organisers claim to be ‘ideologically diverse’, the most basic part of human empathy appears to have escaped the Thatcher Network.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

– You can also read more from The Canary on Hillsborough.

Featured image via Wikimedia/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop

 

The Canary Fund us

Comments are closed