The pig issue: Artist confronts British Prime Minister David Cameron
Activist and performance artist Mark McGowan crawled four miles from his home in South London to the Prime Minister’s residence in Westminster pushing a toy pig on roller skates with his nose. McGowan suffers with Bowel Cancer and took the action to highlight privatization of the National Health Service, on the day the House of Lords pushed through legislation to outsource healthcare. We spoke to him in Downing Street as he delivered a letter to PM David Cameron, although the pig was not allowed in.
Metro: Why are you doing this?
McGowan: The NHS is being privatized without a mandate, in the shadows. Can you imagine in 2015 when you have to pay for treatment – what’s going to happen to the people who can’t afford it? It’s outrageous. Anyone who doesn’t know or isn’t worried…one slip and you’re in hospital thinking ‘I can’t afford treatment’.
How did you choose this form of protest?
I’m a performance artist, and the pig is about the government at the trough. They see tax money as theirs and it goes straight to private companies.
What kind of reactions have you been getting?
Incredible. I didn’t know one person when I started but beautiful people have supported me. I got tearful when they played Richie Havens ‘Freedom’, the man who started Woodstock and died yesterday. I’ve talked to a lot of people on the way about the NHS and the impact privatization will have. I don’t expect David Cameron to read the letter but it’s on YouTube.
Are you getting home the same way?
No I’m a bit tired so I’ll get the bus. I will be feeling this tomorrow.