Following his last documentary, the post-modern, science-fact film Escape from Doncatraz, Jay Baker became embroiled in a real-life hostage drama as the rogue editors essentially held the footage to ransom until he finally managed to procure it and took the film with him back over to North America, where it was fittingly premiered in its finished form at Kitchener’s post-modern City Hall in Ontario, Canada to nearly 300 people, who gave it a standing ovation for its attempted warnings of what can happen to the motherland when its people are left on an island of controlled borders and privatised prisons under the watchful eye of the surveillance state.
But Escape from Doncatraz was too ambitious, with too many people involved, all with their own egos, and their own agendas. The final cut, salvaged as it was from the contracted editors, was not what Baker wanted. He didn’t make another film for five years, instead focusing on community media work and helping other activists. Until now.
Baker returned to a Britain run by the most right-wing government since the Second World War, a Conservative party that won only 36% of votes from a turnout of 65% and formed a minority government with the traitorous Liberal Democrats, who broke so many promises and whose leader Nick Clegg was perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to any remaining belief in British politics.
Returning specifically to his birthplace of Doncaster, where Peter Davies of the English Democrats had been elected Mayor, Baker realised that the town had a bigger problem than just the profit-making motives of the privatised Doncaster Prison, otherwise known as “Doncatraz.” This was an agenda taking over the country, pumped by the corporate mainstream media that offered few other perspectives. “True media should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” Jay says. “I can’t stand petty wishy-washy calls for objectivity, when what we need is fairness. The British public are being lied to, straight and simple, and the mainstream media are now a party to it all.”
Baker’s partnership with Jane Watkinson enabled him access to vast research resources with which to challenge the miserable vision of Britain today: that there’s no money left, that high unemployment is unavoidable, and that welfare cuts at the same time are inevitable. These are all based on narratives in great danger of becoming the accepted view, and if that happens, we’ll all be living in our very own Doncatraz – a world of American-style “survival of the fittest” rather than freedom of opportunity.