Tag: Britain


I’m writing this quickly during a break in my day-tour of Athens, a 3 hour crash-course Greek history lesson before I head into the night and the bars for some real research – I have arranged a meeting with a great Greek singer called Ghannis who I am hoping has some good contacts and leads for me.

Last night, soon after arriving here, I met a wonderful sculptor called Costa, we talked about Greece, its history, the people, the financial situation, the future, and we shared some great wine to help me acclimatize, but it was while we were eating that it dawned upon me how much I missed the Middle-East.

My Yemen film (The Reluctant Revolutionary) aired on Japanese television last night and Atsushi my best friend in Japan sent me an email “They say we are going to be the next Greek tragedy, you should come and make another film here after Greece”, he wrote. But… I still have my Syria film to finish first – and getting to grips with Greece and the enormity of what is going on here, feels quite daunting.

Following Wednesday’s meeting at the BBC (after successfully getting this film commissioned) Nick Fraser and I were discussing what it would be like if it happened here “Do you think the British ever stop to think what they will do if Britain becomes the next Greece?” he asked me, “No”, I replied, “First, I don’t think most people here have the slightest idea about how bad things really are in Greece for the ordinary people, the television and the papers certainly aren’t telling them, and anyway, this is Britain, it might be bad, but that sort of thing could never happen to us.“

A Dave new world

I have to book a flight for Damascus to fly tomorrow but British politics finds me hiding from the world deep under the sheets in my bed. The news announces “Today we wake to a new day in British politics…” but I feel as depressed as I did in 1979 when the iron cow took office and proceeded to wreck the country.

The thought of having an out-of-touch toff from Eton leading us sends me back to sleep. I want to sleep for 5 years to avoid seeing these rosy-cheeked plums ‘leading’ a country they know nothing about.

The election result could also be the beginning of the end for documentary on television. David Cameron spoke about his plans to get rid of BBC3 & BBC4 if he took office. Can the usually spineless Lib Dems protect us from David in this flimsy coalition? What British TV network will there be left for serious documentary film making if BBC4 goes? Does David care, did the Tories ever care?

When I was 16 I left school and fell straight into Thatcher’s unemployed underclass. Thanks to the Tories we saw hordes of homeless walking the streets, communities were wrecked, people were cast aside, the sick and elderly were ignored and left to die alone at home. Industry was privatised and so was the individual. People took to the picket lines – I was politicised thanks to Margaret, she made me want to pick a camera up and record what was going on; as a force for change, maybe I should thank her.

My only hope today is that David will also help politicise the millions of new poor displaced working class members of British society who are going to be punished by his policies to ‘reform’ this country left bankrupt thanks to the lies of New Labour and the greed driven behaviour of their friends the bankers.

Now in office David has offered inheritance tax allowance up to a million pound to his wealthy friends whilst promising public sector cuts and evictions for the poor. How does this help anyone in my home-town of Hull? Only those like John Prescott – ‘The fat leisure class’ which emerged as a result of the deceit of New Labour will benefit.

And so today I struggle to pull myself from the sheets feeling fear and sadness for my country and anger at being let down by a Labour party that became ‘New’ to attract a middle class vote but in doing so got rich and corrupted by power, and the thrill and desire to stay in power, so much so that the working class once again have been betrayed and compromised – no wonder many of them didnt bother to vote, allowing the Tories in again!

In a glimmer of hope I make my way to the bathroom for a pee contemplating the Labour party now in opposition. I feel there is a chance for it to regroup and rethink and re-kindle core Labour values.

As desperate days under Tory rule take hold and wage freezes / cuts throughout the public and private sectors become reality, and the homeless return back to the streets again in ever growing numbers I for one hope for 1970’s style strikes across Britain again, and riots like the ones I that I grew up with in 1980, to help fuel a fire for change from within, from the voiceless working classes, from the people who are being forced to suffer because of the actions of others, so that after these 5 years of hell we can make a positive change for Britain again, with Labour hopefully representing the poor as its core value.

I only hope BBC4 is around to commission filmmakers to make the hard hitting documentaries that will illuminate this country as it teeters on the edge of change and revolution. But for now I must escape the depressing landscape of a Tory Britain to find freedom and fun in Damascus, Syria, an authoritarian dictatorship where I’m trying to make a film and where the Tories thankfully don’t exist.