Today’s Daily Post reports on the last night’s meeting of Liverpool Education Committee where it was decided to call for grants to be withdrawn from students occupying Senate House:
Liverpool Corporation Education Committee yesterday took a decision that could lead to the withdrawal of local authority grants from students involve4d in the sit-in at Liverpool University Senate House.
The decision – it is subject to approval by the City Council on April 1 – was taken after the students had been strongly criticised by members of the committee. Alderman Joseph Norton described them variously as ‘nauhty children’, ‘militants’ and ‘pirates’.
“By what right”, he asked, “does a group of young people give themselves the right to seize a public building and remain there illegally?”
Councillor Jim Hastings (Liberal) asked what would happen if the dockers moved into the Dock Board office and refused to let anybody in. The police would move in, he said. The students’ action was absolute anarchy.
Councillor Mrs Margaret Simey was alarmed at the students’ action, but more alarmed, she said, by the committee’s reaction to the situation, which was “pomposity, closed-mindedness and narrowness of outlook”.
“The committee are determined not to even try to understand what is behind this situation”, said Mrs Simey, who was one of the three Labour members who unsuccessfully opposed the decision.
Footnote from the future (2010)
Margaret Simey (4 January 1906 – 27 July 2004) was a political and social campaigner born in Glasgow,who settled in Liverpool in the 1920s and became the first woman to achieve a degree in sociology. She became well-known as a campaigner for the rights of the poor in Liverpool, served as a Liverpool City Councillor from 1963, was then a councillor on the now defunct Merseyside County Council from 1974, and was chair of the Merseyside County Police Committee at the time of the Toxteth riots in 1981, frequently coming into conflict with the then Chief Constable, Kenneth Oxford and gaining a reputation for being outspoken about topics in which she believed, usually championing the cause of the underdog against the establishment.