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How I check Britain: image that define the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been graphing the history of photography in the UK. Here, Irvine Welsh, Sadiq Khan, Jeanette Winterson, Nadav Kander and others pick the shoots that sum up Britishness for them

A stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee presents striking miner( Striking? Hes perfectly elegant !) George Geordie Brealey( privilege) and policeman Paul Castle( far left) at Orgreave on 18 June 1984. What followed, known as the Battle of Orgreave, was one of the severest conflicts in recent British civil record, as 6,000 police officer and 5,000 miners faced off at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire.

Brealey was said to have form for joking and comic with police officer on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one being, sarcastically incognito, facing an infinite militarised police force. Brealey is at once brave, good-humoured and anti-establishment a British hero.

I was two in 1984, so this event is beyond my living recall, but it seems increasingly relevant to the schisms of contemporary Britain. Orgreave labelled a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners strike, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the divisions of Brexit they object back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Photograph: Vanley Burke

The Boy With the Flag, 1970

David Lammy, Labour MP

Vanley Burkes image transmits the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had territory on our beaches on the Windrush in 1948. My parents were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular poignancy for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis won gold medals for Britain and wrap themselves in the British flag, these young men and women began to identify with the country that was their only home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet age for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus rules, failing colleges and the rising strife of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captures the birth of multicultural Britain and conveys a being of hope and opening. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to do substantial myriad contributions to Britain, from the rebirth of the NHS to the transformation of the Premier League. Nothing would be quite the same again.

Didcot power station, 27 July 2014

Didcot power plant, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I affection these cooling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were swallowed in July 2014] the latter are occasions of real charm. Whenever I passed on the civilize, I would put down my work to enjoy them. They had enormous sweeping curves and in all conditions moved a different face to the world. We continue windmills and steam sets, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of buildings: industrial ones signal the be removed from one age of technology to another. Their shattering labels the overtake of epoch, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The minute when they fall to the ground ratings a moment in history travelled for ever. No think beings gaze in bewilderment when that happens.

Soldiers from the Womens Royal Army Corps in their services vehicle, driving through Trafalgar Square during the course of its VE Day observances in London. Image: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE fetes, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the rapture of one of the most important instants of the 20 th century the win over autocracy in 1945. It likewise symbolises the huge steps built for gender equality in the second largest world war. Females entered previously all-male professions: without their crusade endeavor, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its excellent. It was the peoples battle, where our citizens indicated fortitude and sacrifice beyond our modern curiosities. It proved that government intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were regarded shocking. The common good came firstly. Parties of all years, races and societies joined to represent Britain against the Nazis. We welcomed refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to a fairer, more equal society was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory partnership we need today: it united socialists, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it made radical plans favourite and acquired wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass plead in the second world war. The parties required, and later attained, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They won social justice in 1945. Why cant we prevail it now?

British politician Nigel Farage meets President Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, NYC, on 12 November 2016.
Photograph: Wigmore/ Finn/ Splash News

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, 12 November 2016

Irvine Welsh, columnist

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-new epoch of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their dreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman gets nothing but the heartbreaking contentment of playing courtroom jester to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped are carrying out. The dispirited and defeated former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions crushed, their wages lowered, suppressed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two affluent followers posing outside a golden elevation. And the potent one has a crew scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the dominance of the 1 %. This video represents the official coronation of the new toytown emperors and their hapless dolls, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, dictatorial politics in a hi-tech world-wide.

Miner at his evening snack, 1937. Photo: Bill Brandt

Northumbrian coalminer and his wife, 1937

Eamonn McCabe, photographer

In 1937, German-born Bill Brandt travelled to the north of England where he would be the first to combination modes from arts and photojournalism. As a native, he drew a impartial, strangers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political degree, but his pictures have become the defining epitomes of the Great Depression.

Brandt also wanted to wreaking his highly stylised approach to photograph steadfast descriptions of the people who lived and run in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated picture from his northern tour take place within 1937, of a Northumbrian miner eating his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this image, guiding the specific characteristics and organizing the organize, does this detract from the influence of the likenes? Brandts northern design never stirred him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these situations was an unprecedented coming together of forms to create a stark and colors imagination of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the boundaries of his art and he is rightly considered one of the most important photographers to have worked in Britain. He would also go on to work on a groundbreaking new publication that photographed every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly magazine fitted with picture on every sheet, its mission testimony to make a visual account of British parties at home, at work and at gambling.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

London 2012 Paralympic Games. David Weir of GB celebrates acquiring the mens T54 800 m final . . Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his trademark moan is on the line in his win constitute, limbs spread wide-ranging and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic jocks for a long time, but certainly the people who are achieving stupendous circumstances against the report is our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to beings with disabilities, I used to feel uncertain about the etiquette, but the most difficult thought that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed attitudes in general. It was a really special day and it changed people attitudes for ever. Weir retained entitlements. He won the marathon. He prevailed four golds in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a little bit pessimistic. But that summer we proved the world how to do it. Everyone pulled together and it was a positive time to be in London. This image, together with so many others, reminds me of a year in which I experienced so lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful era, and, for me, this image gives so much strength, persuasivenes, decide everything that the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist gathering, some of them carrying missiles, run from a barricade they have erected near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photograph: Patrimony Likeness/ Getty Images

Battle of Cable Street, 5 October 1936

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

More than 80 years ago in October 1936 thousands of courageous and gallant mortals, women and children gathered to oppose autocracy in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys fascists were forced into a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the superpower of people and communities grouped together. A bloc was organize of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to rebuff dictatorship and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a succes that had lasting repercussions because it showed that autocracy “couldve been” fought through parishes joining something that should continue to invigorate us.

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another organization of politicians, the Jewish community , trade unions, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the defy people who fought against dictatorship in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to persist that crusade. To say: where reference is learn things that are contentious, go against our British appreciates and are just fundamentally incorrect, we must call them out; well never let dictatorship, racism or prejudice reign. These are values that ring true in London, more than anywhere in the world.

Womens March, London, 21 January 2017

Womens March, London, 21 January 2017. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images

Kate Nash, vocalist

Whats so cool about this video is that you have an iconic British bronze alongside a content on gender equality. There were a consignments of signals at the womens rally in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a propensity within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their whisker. Even in the music industry, males have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now maidens want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for campaigns we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This poster has such a strong content its unapologetic, its ferociou. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be feed!

It gazes as if someone has left this posting there at the end of the parade. It is a piece of art it continues on telling a story even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Stimulated by Walking, 1967 Photograph: Richard Long. All Right Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Seen By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually dream having this photograph in my home and it symbolizing different things to me at different instants in “peoples lives”. Its a painting thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it images, its such a nourishing, simple image. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long caused himself, by sauntering up and down, up and down theres something so metaphorical and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the artist can be seen in the image. Long has registered his own pressure on countries around the world and the road he colonizes his surroundings with this photograph. That deed of making art is beautiful to me; it ever constructs me unbelievably happy.

I first saw this image when I was a photographers assistant in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to publish Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a appearance, where the charcoal-grey hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you are able to know the girl outlined. Its that various kinds of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an creator happens in their artistry, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design magazine. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The person behind the epitome always interests me as much as the picture itself and I like to see their fingerprint in their work. ( As told to Leah Harper )

David Cameron, June 2015

David Cameron at the European head of government summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Experience use this photograph immediately after Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front deal of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the projectile would spin quietly back to black. Instead, the financial austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the cherry-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian mentality of the Tory party enjoyed they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those cheap hoaxes, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the service of their personal ambition.

That nauseating night, as the roulette wheel retarded, the count was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant luxury boys out of contact with the miseries its own policy had exercised. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron resigned. I believe he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to become millions.

But he hadnt lost his fund, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little people. The parties his government had been gambling with all along. Unexpectedly there was a chance for the little beings to rotate the wheel. No one told them that once again they could only misplace.

The final chapter of Britain in Focus: A Photographic History is on BBC4 on Monday 20 March at 9pm. <a

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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