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.