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AUSTERITY

©2020 Broadsheet newsprint posters

'Austerity’ is an installation of 10 posters, each is 50cm high x 35cm wide (Newspaper ‘broadsheet’ sized) and is printed on 55gsm newspaper print

9 of the posters carry an individual letter A-U-S-T-E-R-I-T-Y and the 10th poster carry the phrase “AUSTERITY IS CLASS WAR” 

 

They are all printed white lettering on a red background and carry the Crown of King George V, the design being based on the famous Second World War "Keep Calm and Carry On" propaganda poster, which became a cultural phenomenon when it was rediscovered in the early 2000s and appropriated for ironic use in 

 

In 2010, the then Prime Minister David Cameron introduced major cuts to public spending, particularly in benefits, welfare and social provision. The Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government called this policy 'Austerity' – the description given to the privations endured by civilians during and after the Second World War. Cameron tried to evoke nostalgic feelings of wartime camaraderie, claiming "We are all in this together". Cameron went on to set Brexit in motion, supporters of which used jingoistic comparisons to the Second World War. 

 

A 2017 report published in the British Medical Journal linked this policy of cuts to 120,000 extra deaths in England. 70,000 civilians were killed in Britain in World War 2 by enemy action. In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic killed over 70,000 people in the UK – a death toll proportionately worse than almost any other Western country and was made worse by a decade of underfunding of the NHS and social care provision. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson, likened himself to war time leader Winston Churchill and for a time key workers were lauded as heroes. Rather than be rewarded, the return of austerity has been signalled, once the key workers have contained the pandemic.