A Tale of Austerity

Five years ago I found myself staring down a mounted horse back charge and like one of those clowns in a disaster movie, stood taking pictures until the bitter end, I stood fast with my camera snapping away. Thankfully my good friend Nuno was there to pull me away.

That was parliament square and the issue was tuition fees. Students had taken to the streets in their thousands over the duplicity shown by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who back tracked on a pre-election pledge to abolish tuition fees, only to treble them after climbing into bed with the Conservatives. All for a little bit of power, or the illusion of it. Though this was not the first protest I had been on, it was the first time I went with the intention of capturing the moments that unfolded as they happened. My desire to pursue this driven by the reactions of people I worked closely with who saw only a very one sided view of proceedings on the mainstream media (MSM), Sky News and the BBC. I had been painfully aware of the issues of MSM bias before this, but being a first hand witness to the vast difference in the story being told was quite sobering for me.

The experience of being kettled by the police, charged on horse back and being questioned about my views – all because the television is God said otherwise – drove me to create this blog in the first place. 

At the same time as I created the blog I ventured into photography, well I bought a DSLR and started pointing it at things and pushing the button, taking my camera to every protest, strike or otherwise I could make. Thousands of hours of marching, climbing, crawling and scrambling around to take the pictures I wanted, literally thousands over the past five years. I racked up quite a library and with the General Election wagons rolling, I wanted to share them with people, to remind them about what exactly has gone on the past five years; I called it my ‘Tale of Austerity, told one picture at a time’. I tried a few archival stock sites but they weren’t interested because they said I wasn’t a photographer. 

I was, quite frankly, a little pissed. I had devoted much of my own free time to this, not for any gain, and not initially for this reason (to create a book) but with the words being uttered by these politicians, the lies, the fear, the rhetoric, I felt I needed to put together this pack I curated over time that asks the question “can the public afford another five years of austerity?”. 

So, after the set back, I decided to go it alone and create a book. It’s called A Tale of Austerity – told one picture at a time and I guess will be an on going project for me. With another hung parliament likely or a minority Tory government taking the lead as the politics of fear continue to grow a head of steam in the UK, I will be forced to do a Volume 2 for the 2020 election (minus the next 12 months unless my friend steps up whilst I’m away to snap some stuff!) and see what state another five years of austerity will leave us in.  It will be in an Ebook format and available on print just before the election I am told. Maybe too late to influence the decisions of those of you voting but maybe enough to help prick your interest in campaigning and fighting for your rights if it all goes south on May 7th.

  
Austerity, it hasn’t been pretty so far, one thing is for sure, five more years of the Conservatives will certainly mean the end of our NHS and the end of our emergency services – police, fire and ambo.

Gaza Under Fire – video messages from the UK

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The past 4 weeks have seen a gradual mobilisation and outrage of society over the aggressive military action taken by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza.

Demonstrators and campaigners have marched in their tens of thousands  to rally the UK government to action and end the siege of Gaza. Dejavusion Productions have tried to capture the essence of these marches with a series of videos found here.

Free Palestine – Why We March, July 19th 2014

Gaza July 26th, London – Messages for Gaza

Free Palestine – ‘Wallz’ – make art, not war

It’s a human issue

Tony Benn – an inspiration.

“When people are scared, they turn to the right. It has been the same in all great economic catastrophes.” – Tony Benn speaking to the BBC in 2009 after the release of the final installments of his diaries.

Hands off IRan Tony BennTony Benn died today aged 88 and will be remembered for his unshakeable belief and commitment to true democracy, the right to life, religious harmony, the NHS and his opposition to war. Time and again he called for the arrest of the war criminal Tony Blair for his part in the illegal war in Iraq having had to bear witness to the UK twice in 10 years marching to the aid of the American government in Iraq. One of his last speeches was to call for the UK to think twice about engaging in a war with Syria. He was fearless in the face of adversity and never too afraid to tell it how it was.

Tony Benn - Power

Tony Benn was born in 1924 and lived through the Blitz, this first hand experience of the horrors of war were the foundation from which his opposition to our imperialist nature flourished. He was a staunch Labour MP and worked at point for the BBC, two institutions that failed him horribly in later life as New Labour came to power in 1994 with the election of Tony Blair as its leader in opposition, who set about tearing up their associations with the labour movement and the working class in favour of big business and the military industrial complex, and the BBC fell the way of other news institutions in merely repeating what they were told and seldom offering any real investigative journalism. He once famously accused the BBC of succumbing to political pressure from the Israeli government’s wishes over a report on aid for Gaza.

Tony Benn Money

Time and again Tony Benn stood for justice, providing one of the loudest voices people in this country have ever had against corruption and the attacks on our way of life. I had the privilege of meeting Tony Benn just over 14 months ago where you could see that despite his outwardly frail frame, that there was indomitable spirit contained within. The thrust of his speech centered particularly around the very real and dangerous risks we face of losing our NHS to the vultures in the private sector. For anyone in the room unsure about the creation of this wonderful institution, they would have left with no doubt the historical context of its creation, how, why and the importance that we fight for it with every breath as it has for us throughout the generations.

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As when Nelson Mandela died and more recently Bob Crow, it would be easy for us to focus on any negative of voices commenting on his passing, or the lack of content within others, which makes it all the more important to focus on the great and inspirational life that he lived. Many will say that there will never be another like him, I would prefer to envisage a time in the future when we will look on others as we do Tony Benn today, a champion of the people, of truth and justice. With each passing of these icons it falls on each of us to rise to the challenge and remember them by honouring their legacies.

Last pic Tony Benn

“I try to operate on two unconnected levels. One on the practical level of action in which I am extremely cautious and conservative. The second is the realm of ideas where I try to be very free” ~ Tony Benn, 1925 – 2014