As Manchester’s first student-run think tank, we're proud to provide an inclusive and diverse policymaking platform. By engaging with a range of opinions, we're educating and informing both ourselves and others. But this isn't just an academic exercise - we participate in the policy world, build partnerships at all levels and provide real solutions to issues across Greater Manchester. We're harnessing the drive and determination of students to build on the brilliant heritage of this place and its people, all because we think great policy is the best path to progress.
Our commitment to the idea that greater representation is essential to political progress stems from many places. However, the most central is the enduring spirit of this city, whose long history is a symbol of the political potential when people make their voice heard. Nowhere was this more clear than in the inspiration for our name:
The Peterloo Massacre.
In the early 1800s, with an electorate constituting less than 3% of the population, Britain was unrepresentative and undemocratic. Whilst places like Dunwich in Suffolk, with a population of 32, continued to send two MPs to Westminster, Northern cities including Manchester did not have a single MP.
Badly affected by chronic economic depression, famine and unemployment, there was an increasing desire, particularly within the North, for political reform. A peaceful pro-democracy protest was held in Manchester. Tens of thousands of people from surrounding towns and villages marched to St Peter’s Field, now the site of the Central Library, to demand political representation.
In response, local magistrates sent in armed troops to arrest the leading protestors and disperse the gathering. They charged into the crowd with sabres drawn: several people were killed, and hundreds injured. After the massacre, the government passed a series of repressive measures.
Despite this tragedy and the setbacks at the time, the fight for greater representation the Peterloo Massacre was a significant event in influencing the extension of the right to vote and helped to create our modern democracy.
Our naming is in homage to this critical Mancunian event. Whilst students today have the right to vote and much more, we want to encourage even greater student participation in politics and establish an influential platform for encouraging progressive change through innovative and engaging policy.