‘The Battle Against Inequality’ Pictured with Harriet Harman are Crosland Committee members l/r Maureen Freeman, Frances Bovill, Sylvia Moss and Melanie Onn MP
Pictured with Harriet Harman are Crosland Committee members l/r Maureen Freeman,  Frances Bovill, Sylvia Moss and Melanie Onn MP

‘The Battle Against Inequality’

The Anthony Crosland Memorial Lecture is a bi-annual event to honour the memory of our former MP and admired political thinker. This year’s was held last month  at the Arts Centre Theatre, Grimsby Institute and attracted a large audience who enjoyed Harriet Harman’s lecture entitled, ‘The Battle Against Inequality’.

Melanie Onn introduced the evening by paying tribute to one of the founder members of the Crosland Committee, Muriel Barker, who had died very recently and who had been involved in the planning of the evening.  Ms Harman was quick to point out, at the start of her lecture  that Grimsby had been well served by Tony Crosland and former MP’s who kept the town and area well known in Parliament, as did Melanie Onn.  She acknowledged that there was a new generation of women in Parliament and felt they would go far singling Melanie out for especial mention as one to watch!

She talked about the many kinds of inequality, race, gender, sexuality and age.  More equal societies she said were safer and healthier and everyone, she said must fight oppression, taking care to protect the vulnerable.  From 1997 when the Labour came into power until 2007 Harriet Harman was Minister for Equalities and Women and during that time she saw sweeping changes but there is, she said, still much to be done.  An example she gave on inequality was that of electoral registration; it is calculated that over 2 million people who are eligible to vote and not registered.  Transient populations, lack of education and incompetence of information gatherers were all cited.

Among the points she touched on were the distribution of wealth and social mobility and how entrenched superiority still exists giving an example of a report that shows that by 7 years of age, a bright child of a family living on minimum wage is overtaken by children in wealthier homes, but of lower ability. The Labour government from 1974-79 introduced a Royal Commission on the Distribution of Wealth and when the Tories came to power they abolished it.  The Equalities Bill was not implemented and although Teresa May highlighted injustices nothing has been done. She stressed the part everyone has to play in making a more equal society and felt, finally, that a Labour Government would act on legislation, some of which had been started, but lay dormant, to effect this change.

With Chair, Melanie Onn, she took many questions from the floor in a lively session lasting 35 minutes.  The questions ranged from Universal Credit, to what are the qualities of a leader, to grammar schools, the NHS, Proportional Representation, childhood obesity, and women and pensions and everything in between.

She was thanked by Melanie Onn and she replied by saying how much she had enjoyed her time in Grimsby and she thanked everyone for their warm welcome. After the lecture Melanie and some members of the Crosland Committee took her to supper where she requested, and enjoyed some Grimsby fish and chips!

 

Sylvia Moss

Crosland Committee member

 

 

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