Monday, 5 October 2009

Cuddly pacifists...and local democracy

So, here’s the latest instalment of photographer Lee Garland’s removal from Manchester’s Spinningfields, by an abusive security guard. According to Crain’s, Manchester’s business magazine, Garland is described – and dismissed - as a “cuddly floppy fringed pacifist”. I suppose that’s called writing for your audience.

Crain’s writes: Lee Garland, a professional photographer and lecturer at The Manchester College, was on the wrong end of the rather over-zealous security team at Allied London's Spinningfields development the other day. Garland said he was quickly approached by a security person from Warrington-based Westgrove Security Services. “His first words to me were "Pack that up now and get the f**k off Allied London land'. He then grabbed my camera lens in an attempt to stop me photographing Spinningfields. What surprised me most was the thick air of aggression given out by the security guard.” The security man also asked Garland, a cuddly, floppy-fringed pacifist: “Have you always been a dickhead?”

My own visit to Manchester last week went much better, with Cathy Parker at the Institute of Place Management organising a very good debate. On the panel was Steve Shaw, from Local Works, which was behind the Sustainable Communities Act, an interesting, if unfinished, piece of legislation. The discussion about the pathetic state of local democracy, as a result of current mechanisms which exclude rather than apathy, is an area I want to do a lot more work on.

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