Whatever happened to those well-meaning upper middle class types who were wonted to sticking their oars in for us ‘umble, ‘orny-‘anded toilers who lacked the skills to articulate our own views?
I came across the name of Margaret Simey (1906-2004) whilst reading around about the uprisings of the 80s by way of comparison with those of 2011; it seems she was chair of the Liverpool Police Authority at the time of the 1981 Toxteth riot, and crossed swords with Chief Constable Kenneth Oxford over the scouse cops’ gung ho tactics:
Representing the inner-city Granby Ward, she was well aware of the local tensions which led to the Toxteth Riots; over the preceding decade, use of police powers to stop and search had increased, and the police had recently begun to close nightclubs frequented by black youths. Simey had foreseen that this would cause tension, and had predicted that the closure of one club in particular would lead to a riot. She was correct.
I can’t tell if she fully met the criteria laid out in at the start of this post (though she was a sociology graduate, Labour councillor, magistrate…) – for example, Kirkby Times doesn’t have her down as a tin-shaker – but she certainly sounded like an interesting old cove.