Wikipediaphile: Margaret Simey

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.

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2 responses to “Wikipediaphile: Margaret Simey

  1. I heard the report today on the leaked papers on the Hillsborough disaster. Prominent in the radio report were the references to Ken Oxford, then the Chief Constable of Merseyside. I remember very clearly the attitude of Margaret Simey to this appalling arrogant man who had nothing but contempt for the working class of Liverpool. She would not let him off the hook and consistently tried to hold the police to account for their role in the Toxteth riots and their general policing strategy in depressed parts of the city. I met Simey in 1972 when I worked for the City and she was not the easiest person to deal with but I never had any doubts about her sincerity nor her determination to seek justice for the oppressed.

    Good luck with the blog which I have just come across

  2. Many thanks Tigger. She seems to have been held in some esteem by many around Merseyside – unlike Kenneth Oxford.

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