Monday, 1 October 2012

Votes fer Women

Jennospot 82 – Votes fer Women


Terday Oi'm goin' ter tell yew a little bit about a real famous lady. Fact is, Oi don't reckon as 'ow there's any lady more famous than wot she is, but o' course yew don't 'ave ter agree wiv me if'n yew don't want; that's up ter yew. Any'ow yew've prob'ly guessed already 'oo it is: Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst!

O' corse she weren't called Pankhurst when she was born at Manchester in 1858, 'cos 'er fam'ly name were Goulden. She become Mrs Pankhurst when she got married in 1879 ter Richard Marsden Pankhurst wot were a lawyer. 'Ee must've been a roight sympathetic sort o' man, 'cos it were 'im wot wrote the the first woman suffrage bill around 1865 (wot didn't 'ave much luck) an' later on, the Married Women's Property acts, wot did.

 Any'ow, around 1890, Emmeline set up the Women's Franchise League (a bit loike wot Oi did wiv the "Go-Getter Girls" in "Gang Loyalty", wot didn't 'ave a whole lot o' luck neither) but Emmeline 'ad some luck 'cos er League got the roight fer women ter vote in local elections, but not fer the House of Commons.

Oi reckon 'as 'ow this encouraged 'er ter go on wiv 'er idea, 'cos in 1903, she founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) wot got inter trouble two years later when a couple of its members got chucked outta a meetin' o' the Liberal party (wot is more loike the Conservatives terday) fer demandin' a resolution about votes fer women. Fings got worse outside, 'cos it seems they got arrested fer assaultin' the police. When they refused ter pay fines, they was put inter prison. This weren't good fer them, but it were real good fer WSPU publicity.

From then on, Emmeline really got 'er dander up compaignin' agaist the Liberals 'cos 'er followers started ter go out o' their way ter interrupt meetin's o' cabinet ministers. Cripes, then Emmeline 'erself got arrested and jailed fer distributin' a leaflet callin' on people ter "rush the House o' Commons". Cripes, did that ever start a barney! It turned inter somefink loike a war (wot we also 'ad in Widdlin'ton wiv our "Gang Warfare") until she declared a "truce" wiv the introduction of a "conciliation" bill on women's suffrage. But the truce didn't last long 'cos the government blocked the bill. An' did that ever set fings off…!

The WSPU become loike a nest o' wasps wot yew've poked wiv a stick (wot Oi don't recommend yew do). The members started settin' fire ter fings, chainin' themselves up an' doin' ovver such shockin' acts. Mrs Pankhurst got 'erself sent ter prison again, where she refused ter eat. They would let 'er go out fer a while, so as she could eat an build up 'er strength, but just as she were a bit better, they arrested 'er again an' put 'er back in a cell. They did this twelve times in a year. Cripes, can yew imagine…! Not only that, but ovvers of 'er followers got themselves jailed an' all.

Any'ow, then come the First World War in 1914. So, wiv this foreign threat to the nation, Emmeline called off the suffrage campaign, an' the government released all the suffragette prisoners.

Durin' the war, Mrs Pankhurst visited the United States of America, Canada, an' Russia  encouragin' women ter stand up fer their political roights. She went back to England in 1926 where she was chosen ter be the Conservative candidate fer a constituency in the east of London, but by this toime she were getting' on a bit in years an' 'er 'ealth weren't so good. But cripes, at the finish she 'ad satisfaction fer all 'er determination over the years. A few weeks before 'er death, the Representation of the People Act 1928, wot gives equal votin' roights ter men an' women, was passed by Parliament.

Although Emmeline Pankhurst didn't never get elected ter Parliament, she very nearly got in at the finish. There's a statue of 'er in Victoria Towers Gardens. Yew c'n go an' see 'er if'n yew loike. She stands roight up against the railin's o' the Houses o' Parliament. Yeah, real close. Oi still reckon 'as 'ow there ain't no lady wot is more worthy o' fame than wot she is. There's lots of us ladies around the world wot still ain't got the roight ter vote. So jus' fink o' Emmeline Pankhurst all yew ladies wot do 'ave the roight, next toime yew go out ter vote fer yer president or yer parliamentary representative.

Luv from Jenno.

By the way, Oi visited Emmeline's statue once wiv Peter, when we went up ter Lunnon tergevver. Yew c'n read about it, if'n yew loike, in chapter 19 o' "Gang Petition" ( Vote well...

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