Tuesday, 22 September 2009

In the full glare of... police, camera, action

Have just returned from the Isle of Wight where Vestas moved their blades. That wasn't supposed to happen! Well, you can't win them all.

I don't know how many police have filmed me today, too many. I also made the mistake of saying I am a journalist, so then they wanted my NUJ number and to know who I work for, whether I 'follow protests' (no, but I've organised a few in my time).

I don't do much in the NUJ, but I should do more. There is a whole debate there about what is a journalist. I do earn my living from journalism, and could earn a lot more if I did more of the lucrative stuff and less unpaid work covering protests. My aim is to get paid for this work, but that seldom comes off.

Proper journalists, as far as the police are concerned, stand only where the police tell them to stand, take their pictures with big, expensive company cameras, submit expense forms for all out-of-pocket expenses, rather than spending their own money, and, of course, are 'neutral', ie, not emotionally involved with what they are writing about/photographing.

No one is neutral! Worrying mainly about your career, and only writing about what is safe and respectable might keep the police happy but this is not being neutral, this is highly political. The difference is that it is in tune with the dominant political ideas in society.

I hope I can finally work out how to get pictures off my crappy camera phone because I have some great shots of the massive police operation it took to get Vestas blades out today, snapped from the shrubs on the shoreline, where I stood my ground, to the consternation of the Hampshire Constabulary, refusing to go and stand in the press pen.

They couldn't stop me, because I was on a public footpath, but they do have plenty of pictures of me to make sure I don't step out of line in the future.

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