The UK’s general election of May 2010 produced no overall majority, and for the first time since 1945, a coalition was formed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron and Nick Clegg taking the roles of Prime Minister and Deputy. Chancellor George Osborne swiftly proposed the most radical cuts to public services in a generation, in order to repay a national deficit estimated at £7.5 billion, and following the worldwide economic crisis that began in 2007.
Between the coalition’s Emergency Budget, and its Comprehensive Spending Review four months later, a palpable sense of unease brewed among many ordinary people. Autumn saw widespread student marches and occupations, while campaigning groups like UK Uncut staged ‘sit-ins’ at high street stores including Vodafone and Top Shop, in protest at corporate tax evasion.
During this period, the poet and editor, Alan Morrison, collected submissions for a new anthology, Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State. As reported in The Guardian, it was released initially as an E-book, and a print edition was subsequently launched at London’s Poetry Library in January 2011. Continue reading