The Northern Quota

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Budding filmmaker, Rhys Packer, releases anti-establishment documentary

A team of Manchester Metropolitan University students have released their first documentary: ‘A Study of Austerity’.

The 13-minute production is a glance inside trade unionism in the United Kingdom, challenging current policies and proposals of the Conservative government.

The opening reel sees the crew visit Westminster to observe a demonstration opposing the active drafting of the new Trade Union Bill, a Conservative proposal that underwent its second reading in the House of Lords earlier this month.

The film captures objection amongst activists at the event. In the midst of the action, Packer speaks to participants protecting their right to strike – a civil liberty they claim is being jeopardised by the proposed bill. One obliging Trade Unionist says: “Without the right to strike, it’s no longer employment – it’s slavery”.

Packer and the team convey the comradery and collectivism amongst protesters, with one interviewee stating: “We will come together and we will defeat this bill”.

Shots from the Trade Union Bill protest in Westminster

The documentary unfurls into another pertinent debate: junior doctors' contracts. A contentious topic, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has recently proposed a set of amendments to junior doctor contracts that they claim would impose longer working hours and lower pay.


On a visit to a rally at Manchester Cathedral, Packer speaks to young doctors, and films emotive speeches from celebrity supporters Rufus Hound and Coronation Street’s Julie Hesmondhalgh.

The film expresses the unanimous opinion amongst those in attendance is that the proposals are unacceptable and exploitative.

Recently deeming the strikes “completely unnecessary”, Mr Hunt doesn’t appear to be making many friends in his ministry this term.

I’ve got to be honest, I did approach it from quite a left-wing perspective

In an exclusive interview with The Northern Quota Packer, 20, who openly admitted that he made the piece in alignment with his own views said: “I’ve got to be honest, I did approach it from quite a left-wing perspective.

“I wanted to expose the problems of austerity that are under the cover from mainstream media. We need to inform people to mobilise them”.

Although not an advocate of extreme, revolutionary left-wing ideology, he believes that people should be more loyal to their political beliefs so they can challenge and oppose government policy.

The final segment of the documentary sees the team interviewing university students about the scrapping of maintenance grants and opinions on university fees.



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