Plans to build a £15million Margaret Thatcher museum prove that David Cameron is ‘out of touch with reality’ as ‘harsh’ austerity measures continue to be imposed on the ‘bottom end of society’, argues a Manchester campaigner.
An online petition against the museum and library launched after Mr Cameron publicly endorsed the £15million proposal in 2013 as many thought that it would be funded by taxpayer’s money.
The Trustees of the Margaret Thatcher centre clarified that the edifice would be privately funded – but the petition has accumulated over 75,000 signatures and continues to increase.
Howie Martinez, 42 – who launched an online petition on change.org to stop public funds being used for the memorial – claims that the timing of the building would be ‘insensitive’ even if private funds are used.
He told MM: “I think given the fact that Margaret Thatcher is unarguably a divisive figure, the timing of this is completely and utterly insensitive.
“How many people are suffering from ideological austerity measures that have been imposed upon us? Completely insensitive.
“Given the fact that this administration seems to allow fraud on such a huge level to go unpunished yet penalise some of the most disadvantaged people in our society, the timing is absolutely insensitive.
“Thatcher is well known for her ideological want to diminish the size of the welfare state and people really need to be supported. It just goes to show how out of touch the coalition are to how people are finding life at the moment.”
The campaign references the National Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, and the National Railway Museum in York as ‘edifices of collective history’ that have been cited for potential closure or reduction.
They contrast these museums with the Thatcher proposal, describing it as ‘a mausoleum for one woman who cast a large shadow over Britain’ and compare it to what ‘North Korea would offer in Pyongyang.’
Martinez believes that while there are supporters of Thatcher, there is currently too much pressure for those at the bottom end of society for the edifice to be built any time soon.
“I understand that there for a large section in this country, Thatcher has a special place in their hearts and if they want to pay for the museum for her then they are more happier to pay for it.
“But to make an announcement in the Telegraph, ironically, that this museum was to be built at this current moment in time is utterly insensitive, absolutely insensitive. It’s indicative that we are not in this together.
“There’s too much pressure being applied to people at the bottom end of society at the moment. You look at what In the future if there isn’t so much pressure then that might be the right time.”
Conor Burns MP, one of the main instigators behind the Thatcher project, believes that the initiator of the petition is diverting attention away from his mistake.
He told MM: “Whoever put up the inaccurate and misleading petition was proved not to have the facts. There is no public money and never was any intention to seek it.
“I’m sure he now wishes to divert attention away from that by seeking a debate about Margaret Thatcher.
“It is not one I wish to join in with him.”
Image courtesy of Chris Beckett, with thanks.