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How I insure Britain: image that specifies the two countries

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

A stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee displays impressing miner( Striking? Hes absolutely dazzling !) 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 most violent clanks in recent British civil record, as 6,000 police officers and 5,000 miners faced off at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire.

Brealey was said to have form for joking and comedian with police officer on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one soul, 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 recollection, but it seems increasingly relevant to the divisions of contemporary Britain. Orgreave observed a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners impres, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the separations of Brexit they point back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Photo: 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 property on our beaches on the Windrush in 1948. My parents was already in the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular piquancy for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis triumphed gold medals for Britain and wrapped themselves in the British pennant, these young men and women began to identify with the country that was their only home.

Of course, this was the opening up of a bittersweet date for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, hostile police sus laws, neglecting colleges and the rising animosity of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captures the birth of multicultural Britain and show a spirit of hope and possibility. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to realise 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 station, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I loved these refrigerating towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were razed in July 2014] the latter are concepts of real glamour. Whenever I passed on the instruct, I would put down my volume to experience them. They had great sweeping curves and in all conditions diverted a different face to the world. We preserve windmills and steam trains, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of constructs: industrial ones signal the be removed from one epoch to new technologies to another. Their devastation distinguishes the go of age, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The moment when they fall to the dirt marks a moment in history departed for ever. No wonder 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 fetes in London. Photograph: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE galas, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the rapture of one of the most important point moments of the 20 th century the victory over fascism in 1945. It too symbolises the huge strides attained for gender equality in the second largest world war. Ladies registered previously all-male positions: without their campaign struggle, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its excellent. It was the peoples of the territories crusade, where our citizens showed fortitude and relinquish beyond our modern imaginations. It proved that district involvement and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were deemed reprehensible. The common good came first. Parties of all classes, races and people united to defend Britain against the Nazis. We greeted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to a fairer, more equal culture was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth defendant was the equivalent of the anti-Tory confederation we need today: it joined progressives, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it realized revolutionary programs popular and acquired wartime byelections.

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

British politician Nigel Farage gratifies 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, writer

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our new epoch of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their daydreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman gets nothing but the heartbreaking satisfaction of playing court 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 wastelands, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, suppressed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous humen posing outside a golden filch. 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 ascendancy of the 1 %. This video represents the official coronation of the new toytown emperors and their hapless dolls, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, tyrannical politics in a hi-tech world.

Miner at his evening meal, 1937. Picture: 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 mix styles from art and photojournalism. As a stranger, he wreaked a impartial, outsiders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political extent, but his draws have become the defining personas of the Great Depression.

Brandt likewise wanted to accompanying his highly stylised approach to photograph implacable portraits of the people who lived and wielded in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated photo from his northern travel taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner feeing his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully posed this image, guiding the specific characteristics and setting the determined, does this detract from the dominance of the persona? Brandts northern job never cleared him money and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these depicts was an extraordinary grouped together of styles to create a striking and vivid vision of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the boundaries of his art and he is rightly considered one of the most important point 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 photo on every sheet, its mission statement to make a visual preserve of British beings at home, at work and at play-act.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

London 2012 Paralympic Games. David Weir of GB celebrates prevailing the three men T54 800 m final . . Photo: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his trademark howl is on the trail in his victory constitute, forearms spread wide-eyed and his opponents blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic players for a long time, but genuinely the people who are achieving stupendous situations against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to parties with disabilities, I used to feel doubtful about the etiquette, but the biggest situation that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed positions in general. It was a really special time and it altered families views for ever. Weir held entitlements. He won the marathon. He won four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a reputation for being a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. But that summertime we showed the world how to do it. Everyone pulled together and it was a positive time to be in London. This image, along with so many others, reminds me of a year in which I find so lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful duration, and, for me, this image imparts so much supremacy, strength, tenacity everything that the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist crowd, some of them carrying weapons, run from a barricade the government had made near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Picture: Heritage Portrait/ Getty Images

Battle of Cable Street, 5 October 1936

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

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

That day, Mosleys fascists were forcing them a demeaning retreat something achieved only through the dominance of people and communities grouped together. A bloc was form of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to rebuff fascism and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a succes that had lasting repercussions because it was indicated that dictatorship could be resisted through parishes uniting something that should continue to induce us.

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another organization of legislators, the Jewish parish , labor union, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and recollect the heroic people who fought against autocracy in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to sustain that fighting. To say: where reference is realise something that is contentious, go against our British qualities and are just basically incorrect, we must call them out; well never give dictatorship, racism or prejudice persist. These are qualities 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, singer

Whats so cool about this video is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a word on gender equality. There were a onus of clues at the womens rally in London its become really popular to get creative with them.

There has been a partiality within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their hair. Even in the music industry, gentlemen have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now women want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for campaigns we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This poster has such a strong meaning its unapologetic, its relentles. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be devoured!

It seems as if someone has left this placard there at the end of the procession. It is a piece of art it retains on telling a narration even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Constructed by Walking, 1967 Picture: Richard Long. All Right Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Obliged By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually guess having this photo in my home and it representing different things to me at different minutes in “peoples lives”. Its a slide thats so mature. Before you understand what it images, its such a nurture, simple image. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long formed himself, by moving 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 pressing on countries around the world and the road he colonizes his encloses with this photograph. That number of making art is beautiful to me; it always constructs me fantastically happy.

I firstly 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 photograph Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a look, where the charcoal-grey hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you might know the girl illustrated. Its that various kinds of elegance and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an creator occurs in their art, I find it unbelievably heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design magazine. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party behind the image 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 employed this photograph immediately after Brexit. Photograph: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, columnist

This photograph though take place within 2015 was on the front cover-up of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised adventurer, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the dance would revolve quietly back to pitch-black. Instead, the economic austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the ruby-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on cherry-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian psyche of the Tory party thrilled they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those inexpensive impostors, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, thrilling to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That repelling night, as the roulette wheel slow-going, the weigh was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant classy boys out of touch with the miseries its own policy had cultivated. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron abdicated. I belief he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to do millions.

But he hadnt “losing ones” coin, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little parties. The parties his government had been gambling with all along. Unexpectedly there was a chance for the little parties to invent the wheel. No one told them that once again they could only fail.

The final escapade 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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