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Previous | Next :: Return to 3 million Unemployed : Brick Lane : London | June 9, 2010, 11:57 pm

Return to 3 million Unemployed : Brick Lane : London
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I always seem to be in conflict with John Harris on this blog....... as soon as I mention the politics of the Middle East or the US or just about anything involving foreign policy. John is a left wing mate of mine from back in the day when I worked at Report/IFL the radical photo agency in Britain. Anyway JH and I go back along way. I joined that agency straight out of college basically because I was so impressed by John's work covering the great miners strike . I wanted to be a part of an operation creating those telling images in the struggle against the Thatcher government.

After I left Report I went on to do really a lot of foreign assignments....... Working all over the world...... and in the last 8 years I've been based in the USA........ it's a long time since I was covering the life of the ordinary people of Britain in any significant way.

But when I hear that unemployment is expected to return to 3 million.... I am shocked. I have a feeling of Deja vu...... there is something about that number........ I remember how outraged I was as kid growing up in Birmingham in a time of mass unemployment with 3 million unemployed nationally......... the despair and cynicism that was created in that declining industrial city ....... the drift in the youth..... A feeling of the pointlessness of school and education...... unemployment was inevitable anyway so why bother........

There was a harshness about those times...... especially for ordinary working people........ i see that number of 3 million now...... and I think about what that might mean in human terms....... I hear the new Conservative Prime Ministers claim that we will all suffer the pain ...... 'that we are all in this together' but I don't really think that is so...... I think that the greatest effects of cut backs and unemployment will be disproportionally felt by the most under privileged in British society.

I instinctively sense the outrage welling from within my past self....... I know people will be resisting...... maybe I should be getting out there with my cameras see what's happening in Britain ...... well Im only here for a bit....... But I think Im still with John Harris on this one.




PS...... 1982... Labour leader, Michael Foot, said: "When Mrs Thatcher came into office there were five people chasing each job and that was bad enough. Today there are 32 people chasing every vacancy and in some parts of the country, it's double that."


PPS..... Here is a better link to John Harris's miners strike images............ and he has also sent me a link to more images from the recession and resistance of the 1980's featuring more of John Harris's work and also John Sturruck's stuff from back then..... these guys were collectively my most admired working photojournalists back in the day :-)) ..... (along with Don McCullin of course) Recession and Resistance Report Digital


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