Sasha Callaghan

Work makes you free?

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"In our new welfare contract our message is simple. Do the right thing and we will back you all the way but fail to take responsibility and the free ride is over" - A New Welfare Contract, the Conservative Party (2010).

Just over 100 days in office and the brutality of the coalition government towards disabled people has been relentless. Much of the Tory welfare reform agenda is "a chronicle of a death foretold" but the speed of implementation and the scale of the proposed reforms have been breathtaking.

The ambivalent legacy of Free Cinema

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"I've just seen a marvellous programme of documentaries," I enthused to a young sculptor friend who has no particular interest in cinema. "Oh! Documentaries," he replied, "You mean those films that are like driving along in a car with the radio on!" - John Berger, Sight and Sound, 1957.

Berger's palpable excitement leaps off the page as he describes his reaction to a series of highly influential Free Cinema short films which re-energised British documentary making in the 1950s by recording "the virtues and dignity of ordinary people at work". The documentaries were "free" in the sense that they were not subject to overt commercial pressure or propaganda of any kind, although this is arguable as one of the programmes received backing from a multinational corporation, Ford of Britain.

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