Tuesday 12th Jan saw the first day of the National Junior Doctors series of strike days. There was a good turn out of support on the picket line outside of The Great western Hospital in Swindon. The Junior Doctors were joined by The Green Party and by The Swindon Peoples Assembly who showed solidarity with the strikers.
On Saturday 21st November there was a small (around 50) protest, march and rally on behalf of the Refugees Welcome Campaign. There were various groups attending, from Swindon Anarchists to The Green Party. The one thing they all had in common was that they wanted to show solidarity with the refugees and that more should be allowed into the country.
There was a small demo outside of the Swindon Job Centre on the morning of the 19th Feb, against the government’s use of ATOS, the company commissioned to vet benefits applications of sick and disabled people signed off by their DR’s It was part of a nationwide protest.
It was a busy afternoon in London on Sunday.
Whitehall was a very busy place. Firstly I covered the service and laying of wreaths at the war memorial by riders from the Help For Heroes Charity bike ride from Paris to London.
Then I covered the protest by UK based Turkish and Kurdish protestors who were there to show solidarity with all the protesters out in Turkey who are protesting against the ruling AKP party.
Then I covered a protest by some UK based Venezuelans who were protesting against alleged rigged elections by the ruling government party.
Then I covered a Free Palestine protest mainly by Orthodox Jews and members of the Neturei Karda who were also protesting against Zionism and the mass rally that was taking place in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 65 years of the State of Israel.
It was a hot, busy and tiring but really good day for a photojournalist.
Today I spent a few hours in Bristol at the Save The NHS and Anti Austerity Measures protest march and rally. There were a good few hundred protestors from various groups including The Radical Bloc, Save The NHS, many of the Trades Unions and other supporters. It was quite a loud march but peaceful and good natured and included The Radical Bloc Group stopping outside of Primark to protest and show their solidarity with the Bangladesh workers who ae suffering quite a lot at the moment, well probably all the time to be honest!!
This is just a small selection of all of my images which if anybody is interested more can be found at http://www.DEMOTIX.com or
please feel free to contact me directly.
Yesterday 28th April was Workers Memorial Day, where people who have either died or been injured in work related accidents or circumstances are remembered. The South West commemorated the day by holding a service at Bristol Cathedral followed by the laying of wreaths at the Workers Memorial. This was quite an important service as it was the first time that the service/meeting has been held inside a Cathedral and Bristol were rightly proud to allow this to happen. There were also some important speakers at the service. Amongst those who spoke were Michelle Stanistreet the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists and Dave Smith the head of the Blacklist Support Group, both very important and high profile figures. Dave Smith is heading up the fight against the illegal practice of Blacklisting. And if you are not sure what is going on there, then I suggest it is worth checking it out. It is something that could affect us all and is very quickly becoming a major major issue. Other speakers included Cannon Tim Higgins, Nigel Cotley of South West TUC, Julia Verne of the Public Service Health Observatory, Farzana Saker from Bristol Multi Faith Forum, Sam Maher from Labour behind the Label and Sally Challoner from BBC Points West.
So in my language it was all about being able to go to work in a safe environment and not one where you go to work in the morning and end the day in a body bag or in hospital. Isnt that a worthy cause???
So, this is how Swindon marks a historic event. I for one am very disappointed in the fact that there was nowhere in the Town Centre to watch the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. Now this is absolutely nothing to do with any political leanings I may or may not hold, it is about an event in history and as you can see by these two photos taken shortly after ten o’ clock this morning. Which is when the funeral was taking place in London.
The Big Screen was not showing the news as it usually does and only had an advert on it for an art event that was not due to start till 11.30 so in my mind they could have shown the funeral on the big screen. Now those of you who follow my twitter will have noticed that I did question inSwindon about it and there only response (both on Twitter and by phone) was oh it wasnt planned to show it!!!!!
I also took the time to talk to several people in Wharf Green and they like me would like to have watched the funeral on the Big Screen and were as equally disappointed as I am.
As someone who likes and supports Swindon I just feel a little let down by the town on this occasion.
What do other people think?????
Another small post from me again without a photo but hey thats ok.
I just wanted to say something about the NHS and the GWH (Great Western Hospital). I am sat here in my study thinking about what was on the news this morning all about how there is not enough front line staff (ie nurses) and that it is causing massive problems. Well I guess it must be true as they would not put it on the news, would they!!!!! but I would just like to say it wasnt my experience.
Firstly forget the fact that I was 6 months late in having my operation as that was an administrative problem of which I have still yet to get to the bottom of. Last thursday I went into the Great Western Hospital in Swindon to have my Gallbladder removed. I couldnt have got better service if I had have gone private. Right from the moment I walked in to the moment I left I found that what ever I needed was provided, there were the right amount of nurses, Dr’s,Consultants, anesthetist, cleaners, porters, and so on. I cannot fault the staff at all. I cant say it was a pleasant experience as I felt quite ill for a while after but it was a pleasant experience if you know what I mean. It wsnt exactly a one to one ratio but all I ever had to do was raise a hand or groan and there was somebody there to attend to my needs. And everything was done with a good heart, I only saw one grumpy nurse who refused to smile, all others were happy and friendly and seemed to enjoy their job. Now I have been on enough protests (photographing) to know that they are treated badly, poorly paid and so on but certainly my experience of last week was they did not let it affect their work.
However I do understand all the underlying issues that the NHS faces and that is for another time, I just wanted to say that I had a good experience with the NHS and the GWH. And if there are any Dr’s, nurses etc reading this, a big thank you from me.
Well no photo of Sunday anymore. Why? I have been carrying out quite a bit of research and despite it being only the 4th Sunday of the year I have decided to bin it because it is not providing any benefit to me or anybody else. Stats are showing very few hits on those posts and to be honest I can understand why. There is no theme and is therefore completely random and unless I am on another assignment then I am just taking an image just for the sake of it with very little thought behind it. With very little information around the photo, why it was taken etc then why would anybody actually be interested in reading it.
What I should be doing more of is explaining things and why I do them, how I do them etc.
So as a start, I did a small photo shoot this morning. It was only mug shots for the person to send off as part of his profile as part of a competition. It was carried out in a gym, (in the squash court to be precise) where lighting is just awful. And short of getting the flash and umbrellas out it was a case of the ISO at 3200 and hope for the best. I just did not feel happy with the results which prob will suffice for what it was for but I just did not feel satisfied. Which at the end of the day is what it is all about for me. I have to feel emotionally involved in what I am doing and I didnt. Is that true of all professional photographers? I dont want to just earn money and not feel as though I have not done a good job.
So this blog is going to go back to the Swindon News/Photojournalism and I am not going to try to combine other things with it.
Likewise I am going to re-design my website to provide a better experience, better show case for my better images from both the UK and Spain and try to make it more interesting.
Whilst out shopping this morning in Baza (Granada province of Andalucia) I came across a couple of guys handing out leaflets informing people of and encouraging them to attend a protest against austerity and anti capitalism in Baza on the 3rd of January. Of course I could not resist talking to them, taking a photo of them and of course I will be at the protest on the 3rd. The message is STOP Capitalism and that this is the ‘hour for revolution!’ Below is a translated copy of the leaflet.
A month after the 14N (general strike on 14th November 2012) the silence continues.
In spite of the increase in unemployment in numerous sectors (including the food and agriculture industry) and in spite of the demonstrations with millions of workers and youth in the streets the union CCOO (comiciones obreras – commission of workers) and UGT (Unión General Trabajadores – General union of workers) continue with the only proposal on the horizon… a referendum.
However, it is felt that the government of Mariano Rajoy is not going to call a referendum when they know there is a great possibility they will lose.
Based on the sectors that are currently fighting, conflicts multiply throughout the region. The majority have been in Madrid for the past year and a half.
The educational community carried out a demonstration with over 150,000 attendees in July in solidarity with the struggle of the miners. As well as the actions of the 25s (occupation of Congress on 25th September) and resisting police repression and the struggle for public health, was the strike of the workers of Telemadrid who were threatened by ERE (Expediente de regulación de empleo) that they could fire more than 800 workers.
Authors note. ERE is a ‘record of employment’ regulation and is a procedure under current Spanish law whereby a company, supposedly in a bad economy, is seeking authorization to suspend or fire workers. It aims to obtain from the competent labor authority permission to suspend or terminate labor relations in a framework in which guarantees certain rights of workers.
The best antidote is the unification of all these struggles done in association with each other.
Toward a general strike in Madrid.
Unions must convene in Madrid and uniformly carry out a regional general strike. Where there is already a widespread strike in a particular sector, such as health in Madrid, they should promote a general strike of the health in the region as a whole.
Today, the protests are centered in Madrid and it is necessary that the whole of the working community and the youth join in with global mobilization. Strike committees, assemblies, all occupations should join together for a general strike.
In Baza we should also ensure that all resistances converge, in defense of the hospital and the defense of education.
These are measures that would show the government is on the side of the workers:
Don’t pay more to those who have more.
Abolish the tax exemptions to the bosses.
Expropriation of the banks, not a public euro more for banks.
To maintain employment, repeal of the labor reforms, distribution of working time, reduction of the working day and the age of retirement with no decrease in salaries.
When prices rise, they also have to raise wages, benefits and pensions.
These measures may be imposed only by the general mobilization and mass of the workers and the youth, the struggle is the only guarantee.
There are no shortcuts.
All of us therefore have a responsibility to influence the political decisions and bring about a radical change in this crisis situation untenable for the vast majority of the population.