UK

Margaret Thatcher's Death: Activists Call For Donations To Hillsborough And Miners' Charities

09/04/2013 14:05 BST | Updated 09/04/2013 14:07 BST

Two campaigners are urging Thatcher-haters to turn their karma around, by donating to charities that help "victims" of her policies, instead of sniping on Twitter or writing bile-fuelled blogs.

Alex Higgins, 32, a classroom teacher, built the website "Don't Hate, Donate" with friend and web designer Tasha Harrison shortly after seeing the film "The Iron Lady", in preparation for what he predicted would be "a depressing outpouring of hate" after the death of Margaret Thatcher.

thatcher

Police detain a protester during the Anti-Poll Tax protests in central London that turned into full scale rioting

"I knew the reaction would be repulsing, nauseating, but most of all, futile," Higgins told HuffPost UK. "I was pretty resigned to it.

"But it tarnishes the reputation of the Left, we are better than that. This gives the Right, the Thatcher supporters, the moral high ground. And it means that all we talk about is the shocking things that the 'Left' have said, rather than remember what Thatcher did doubling like child poverty, Section 28, apartheid in South Africa.

"This seemed like a way to bring the attention back to those issues in a way that actually does some good."

The website aims to "remember the people her government hurt - people who don’t get pull-out supplements in national newspapers. People who don’t get ceremonial funerals in St Paul's Cathedral. The people her apologists forget, or want to forget."

"You can help us by donating to the excellent charities we have chosen to represent a fraction of them – the homeless, miners’ families, gay teenagers, Hillsborough survivors and South African victims of the Apartheid regime."

The charities featured on the site are the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Child Poverty Action Group, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Stonewall (originally founded to combat Section 28), the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, South Africa's International Center for Transitional Justice which helps victims of apartheid get justice, and the Tutu Foundation UK.

The initiative has won praise from Independent columnist Owen Jones, former columnist Johann Hari, and Labour's Eastleigh candidate, comedy writer John O'Farrell.

Higgins, who is president of Haringey National Union of Teachers, has been involved in campaigning since university, taking part in human rights demonstrations and supporting UK Uncut.

He says the site has had around 20,000 visitors, but cannot calculate the total number of donations, seeing as he just directs them to the charities' donation pages. "We can see many people are leaving messages, for example, on Child Poverty Action's page, saying this site sent them there."

Higgins said that the reaction to her death on Monday was "about as bad, not worse, than I predicted. I expected people to gloat, they are embarrassed because she beat us."

He does not blame those genuinely still angry at Thatcher's policies, those whose lives were badly affected by pit closures, for example. "I was too young to remember the poll tax, or the miners' strike.

"I can't judge those people from the Welsh Valleys, from Durham, they have the right to be angry. But many of the worst offenders live in London, with nice middle class jobs and a Twitter account. We can do some good instead."

http://donthatedonate.com/