Grassroots – Day of choices

So the day finally arrived. Thursday 7th May 2015. Polling day.

All that remained was for the people to play their part. To make their way to the nearest polling station, mark their choice, stick it in the box and change the world. Or maybe not.

On assignment for Getty Images I covered a number of the polling stations around my area to get some generic ‘pictures of polling stations’ which all help to fill the media appetite on the lead up to the results coming in. Then later that evening I attended the count in Sunderland. For the past five elections Sunderland has been the first in the country to count the votes and declare its winners. So covering this was of interest. Late last night they were successful once again and returned three constituency results all before midnight. An incredible achievement when you consider all that must be done at a count to ensure accuracy.

But their well rehearsed and practiced machine worked well and the results showed Labour winning in all three of the constituencies. First across the post was Bridget Phillipson representing Houghton and Sunderland South. Behind her was Julie Elliot representing Sunderland Central and Sharon Hodgson of Washington and Sunderland West.

There were somewhere in the region of 100 media representatives accredited to attend the count. Photographers, Radio, TV – Even Eamonn Holmes and Fiona Bruce turned up so now you know it must have been an important event! To keep the floor of the count as clear as possible photographs from ground level were shot on a pool basis by Paul Kingston from North News and Pictures with everyone else confined to the balcony area. Whilst a little frustrating to not get the access I might want this is the way of it at times and it’s fair enough so I just had to shoot what I could from the position I was allowed in and see where it went from there.

Once Sunderland had come to an end I then headed down to photograph the count at Redcar and as the hours dragged by into the early morning the count finally finished and the Labour candidate Anna Turley was announced as the winner for the constituency.

So below are a few of my pictures from the day, and the evening, and the night and the errr morning! Twas a long day indeed!



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Click on the links below to see more in the #Grassroots series…

Grassroots – Back in the Ring

Grassroots – Hartlepool 2

Grassroots – Justine Thornton

Grassroots – Bit of Corrie

Grassroots – Redcar 3

Grassroots – Down the Farm

Grassroots -Lemon Top

Grassroots – Eaglescliffe

Grassroots – Stockton

Grassroots – Election Train

Grassroots – The pink bus

Grassroots – Redcar 2

Grassroots – Coatham

Grassroots – Redcar

Grassroots – Horden

Grassroots – Stockton

Grassroots – Hartlepool

Grassrots – Dormanstown

Grassroots – Eston

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link…. HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

No usage without arrangement


Thursday 18th of September 2014. Remember the date. History could be made then when the 305-year-old political union between Scotland and England could potentially come to an end.

…and speaking of history:


Scotland’s relations with its larger neighbour have often been difficult, none more so than in the wars of independence some 700 odd years ago. Wars that were led by William Wallace and following him Robert the Bruce. He defeated Edward II who was attempting to subjugate Scotland during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. After other cross border disputes, including Scotland’s defeat at Flodden by the English in 1513, the Scottish and English crowns were unified in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland became overall monarch of the British isles.

In 1707, that union was cemented by Scotland and England’s political union, forced on Scotland in part by a financial crisis following the abject failure of its colony in Panama, the so-called Darien adventure. All political power moved to London, but Scotland retained its own legal system, churches and universities. In 1745, the pretender to the British throne, Bonnie Prince Charlie, led the Jacobite revolt against Hanoverian rule by London. Despite reaching as far south as Derby, that ended in crushing defeat at Culloden in 1746.

In the 1800s, Scotland’s economy strengthened, its cities boomed and its citizens took a leading role in the British empire. But proposals to give Scotland some form of “home rule” within the UK have been live since William Gladstone’s era as Liberal leader in the 1880s. After several failed attempts at Westminster, notably in 1913 and 1979, a Scottish parliament was finally reestablished in 1999 in Edinburgh with wide-ranging policy making and legal powers but dependent on a direct grant from London.

In May 2011, Alex Salmond and the SNP unexpectedly won an historic landslide victory giving the nationalists majority control of the Scottish parliament, enabling the first minister to demand an independence referendum.

They believe that Scotland’s economy, its social policies and its creativity would flourish if it had much greater autonomy.

A majority of Scots disagree however. They believe Scotland is more secure within the UK, but many want the Scottish parliament to have greater financial and legal powers.


So what happens if the ‘Yes’ campaign take the referendum? What happens from there? Well it would mark the start of another journey. A journey of negotiation.

For all the key issues – like Scotland’s share of UK debt, dividing up North Sea oil fields, a possible currency union, taking over military bases and UK government offices – all would need to be negotiated. Some argue the any final deal should also be ratified in a referendum. Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that all the major negotiations could be completed by March 2016, in time for the next Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2016.

It is unclear at this time however just how quickly the UK parliament would approve any deal. There could also be a transition period before that process was complete which could take several years. There are profound doubts about whether the European Union’s 28 members will agree to Scotland’s membership within Sturgeon’s 18 month outlined timetable.

So in a nutshell that’s kind what it is all about. A complicated subject with many unanswered questions and with some questions that may yet need to be asked but as the day for the referendum draws closer the political debate builds and the emotions on the street rise between those Scots voting Yes and those voting No along with many still undecided.


I took a very early morning drive up through a foggy Northumberland and Scottish borders recently heading towards Selkirk. I was going up to cover a visit to the town by Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Clegg along with Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and around 60 MP’s and councillors all left London on the same day to join activists at numerous locations throughout Scotland to make the positive case for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.


Below are a few pictures from the day.

So next Thursday will be the day that may bring about a new chapter in the history of the United Kingdom and the countries that form it.

Is it a good thing?




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Some of the pictures from the day ran in the Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and the Independent as well as featuring in online galleries such as The Daily Telegraph , the Guardian , the New York Times ,  Metro , Blooberg Businessweek and Wall Street Journal



See more of my work on my website and blogs HERE

Pictures remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

Local and European elections.

Voters across Teesside and East Cleveland had the opportunity to vote today in the local and European elections. Polling stations were scattered all over the region and were open from 7am to 10pm.

Here’s a few of the pictures I shot throughout the day at some of the polling stations and below them are links to where some of the pictures have been used so far…..



Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Some of these and other pictures were used here…….

BBC News

The Guardian

A slideshow half-way down this page Huffington Post

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link HERE

Make it vote

The Labour Party candidate Emma Lewell-Buck has won the South Shields by-election held yesterday. She retains a Labour led constituency that has held South Shields since 1935.

The by-election was triggered after the former foreign secretary David Miliband announced recently that he was resigning from the House of Commons in order to leave Britain and head up the New York based International Rescue Committee humanitarian organisation.

I covered event yesterday and a few pictures are below with further shots via the link HERE


South Shields byelection

A voter makes his way into one of the 45 voting stations in the South Shields constituency

South Shields byelection

Councillor Ernest Gibson, the Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside, hangs party banners at Harton and Westoe Colliery Welfare Club

South Shields byelection

Voters make their way towards one of the portable voting stations in South Shields

South Shields byelection

After the polls closed at 10pm the ballot boxes start to arrive to be counted

South Shields byelection

Ballot papers are emptied out onto the tables to be counted

South Shields byelection

The count begins at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields

South Shields byelection

A member of the Monster Raving Loony Party looks on as ballot papers are counted

South Shields byelection

Labour candidate Emma Lewell-Buck reacts to well wishers in the gallery above after arriving to watch the count

South Shields byelection

Labour candidate Emma Lewell-Buck

South Shields byelection

Labour party members are in high spirits as the result is about to be announced

South Shields byelection

The candidates in the South Shields by-election line up as the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Eileen Leask, prepares to read out the results

South Shields byelection

Labour candidate Emma Lewell-Buck makes her speech after being announced as winner of the South Shields by-election.

All pictures remain copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images