Category Archives: NHS
Kate Hudson observes that the outcome of the general election marks a significant shake-up in British politics and a surge in support for qualitatively different policies:
“It is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.
She views the election as a significant shift towards the politics of hope, peace, inclusivity, justice and equality.
“Jeremy Corbyn’s long – standing opposition to nuclear weapons, and his personal opposition to Trident replacement, did not deter millions of people from voting for him. Indeed the likelihood is that many – particularly young people – have voted for him precisely because he opposes war, intervention and weapons of mass destruction.
“Support for Trident replacement is negligible amongst the younger generation and it is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.
The right wing of the Labour Party, and a small but powerful section of the trade union movement, have ‘peddled the myth’ that Labour needs to look ‘strong on defence’ to win – and that this means supporting Trident replacement.
But, Kate believes, support for the party has surged because it has a radical vision of a different society, and because everyone knows that Jeremy Corbyn does not support Trident replacement. When he first became leader, he commissioned an extensive Defence Review throughout the Labour Party. That review has been shelved – because it showed the extent of anti-Trident opinion within the party?
She calls for that review to be published and debated at the next Labour Party conference: “This issue must not be kept off the agenda any longer”. There is no popular mandate for a Tory security policy, or a Tory-lite security policy pushed on the Labour party by a minority of pro-nuclear forces that are living in the past. Those trade unions that have put unreasonable pressure on Jeremy to keep Trident are urged to change:
“The way for them to secure and extend high quality, well-paid jobs is to support Jeremy’s policy on defence diversification. Rather than shunning this initiative they need to work with politicians and industry to develop a diversification plan, as part of a national industrial strategy that will secure their jobs without holding the rest of the country over a nuclear barrel”.
As she points out, there is now strong public backing for industrial planning and investment and this needs to go into sustainable industrial production to meet public needs, for energy, housing and public resources, not weapons of mass destruction.
Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.
Read her article here: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/Summer_2017.pdf
Kate Hudson, British political activist and academic, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
An emboldened Conservative government would indeed be good news for ‘Strong and Stable’ funeral directors, as:
- air pollution continues unabated,
- the health service deteriorates,
- the incidence of adult depression and mental illness in children grows apace
- ‘moral fibre’ rots: latest indication:10,000 Britons signed up to one of the world’s largest paedophile internet networks
- and others are debt-ridden due to the daily onslaught of consumerist advertising,
- sedated by inane, often BBC-provided TV quiz shows
- or led astray by a violent TV/online diet.
Tom Young says May’s ‘Strong and Stable Government’: (is) More Than a Tagline – indeed it is and a Conservative stabilisation unit would, in future, see an increasingly heavy workload.
New claimants with a disability have just been hit by a £30 a week cut in benefits to save the government £1bn over four years even though their living costs are higher because of the need for assisted travel, hospital appointments, extra heating, etc., and they are likely to take far longer to find a job.
A friend who intends to vote Labour writes of his issue with the Labour message: “it remains too rooted in struggle and injustice, and not enough in giving people a reason to vote if they don’t suffer or struggle”.
But many well-placed voters are deeply concerned when seeing others in difficulties. And a far larger swathe of the population is struggling than he seems to think:
- graduates in formerly secure jobs are being made redundant,
- people in their twenties and twenties now see no option but to live with their parents,
- many people are suffering from urban air pollution and miserable traffic congestion,
- education cuts will affect their children as the Public Accounts Committee has warned,
- in some areas people in need of healthcare are affected by a declining NHS service.
- mental illness, no doubt in part due to one of more of these factors, is rising rapidly in both children and adults.
Professor Prem Sikka sees the positive, constructive Labour message; U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn plans:
- to raise corporation tax by more than a third over the next three years and plough the £6bn proceeds into schools and universities,
- restore maintenance grants for the poorest students,
- abolish university tuition fees
- guarantee that five, six and seven-year olds will not be taught in classes of more than 30.
- creating a National Education Service to equip Britain’s workers for the post-Brexit economy,
- extend free adult education to allow workers to upgrade their skills,
- raise the cap on NHS wages, and
- to build up to a million new homes, many of them council houses.
If ‘the sums don’t add up’, a standard Conservative knee-jerk reaction:
Withdraw subsidies from fossil fuel & nuclear companies and arms exporters, jettison HS2 and redirect investment to improving rail and waterway transport links.
Sikka rightly ends: People are our biggest asset and only they can build a nation. We have a choice: Tax cuts for the rich or investment in our future to enable people to realise their potential.
(Links & bracketed content added)
Natalie Bennett, writing in the FT, expresses disappointment that unnamed Labour “colleagues” of shadow business secretary Clive Lewis have joined the FT’s arch anti-Corbynite Jim Pickard (despite his ‘neutral not hostile’ Twitter profile) in criticising his statement about the privatisation of public services and assets. (FT January 11).
That reflects the views of many millions of Britons who have seen public services handed over to be managed for private profit, an approach built on cutting the quality of services, eating away at the pay and conditions of workers, and shovelling public money into private hands.
As she says: “Across the country, the privatisation of our NHS, with the importation of the failed US healthcare system with for-profit providers, is causing disquiet”.
At risk also, Ms Bennett continues, is “The vital purpose of the Green Investment Bank, to fund the infrastructure we need for an affordable, secure energy future, replaced with asset-stripping”. (Note the parliamentary debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-01-11/debates/C92ACCCC-380F-4277-87FC-D42B2B7B0443/GreenInvestmentBank)
Natalie ends: “We have a mixed economy in which the private sector plays many critical roles, but for-profit businesses have no rightful place in running public services”.
Natalie Bennett is the Prospective Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central, Sheffield, S Yorks,
First published on the West Midlands New Economics Group
Much of the media is taking its usual stance referring to Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘handlers’ as though he were a pit bull terrier. The Times has determined that ‘a bid to relaunch his leadership’ has been ‘derailed’ and Jim Pickard in the FT, author of many articles depreciating Mr Corbyn, focusses on pay caps but not pay ratios.
It is good to turn to sane and rightminded commentators such as Peter Burgess (Times comments) and Maisie Carter (recent article). Peter spells out the Corbyn message with absolute clarity and rather more bluntly than JC:
- It is very clear he wants top execs pay to reflect that of the lowest paid worker for them to earn more and not rely on tax payers to boost their salaries and for the top execs to earn a decent salary but nor one that is obscene (sadly so many Tories want to see the poor get poorer and the rich richer).
- He also wants to ensure that we continue to bring in workers when needed but ensure they don’t depress wages for British workers.
- Of course those at the top getting obscene salaries want to disgrace Corbyn because the last thing they want is for their salaries to fall under £500,000 a year.
- There’s big and there’s obscene especially when they are telling others to tighten their belts, can’t afford to pay you more then handing themselves 7 and 8 figure salaries and bonuses.
- What shows double standards are all those commenting on here who think salaries of over £100,000 a year are too much if somebody is running the NHS, a local authority or running a Union.
- I do find it difficult to understand how anybody can find the policies which have allowed so many workers to have their wages and working conditions deteriorate whilst CEO’s are paying themselves up to 700x the salary of their employees as being fair and something they’d support.
- I would add that labour to their shame played an important part in allowing these obscene differentials since Maggie was in office. Some of them thought £500,000 a year for them and their friends was not enough.
- Yes Corbyn needs to keep shaming all those, including some labour MP’s who’ve happily supported the policy of “austerity” that have hit the poorest whilst allowing the richest to continue to get richer.
- I’d support a return to the differentials back in the days of Maggie. Top execs back then were hardly struggling. 20x / 30x acceptable 700x isn’t!
Endnote: Maisie Carter’s appeal
“Unite around Jeremy Corbyn’s ten point programme, which proposes the building of one million homes in five years, a free national education service, a secure, publicly provided NHS, with an end to health privatisation, full employment, an end to zero hours contracts, security at work, action to secure an equal society, a progressive tax system, shrink the gap between highest and lowest paid; aim to put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy. On the last point, as the wars waged or aided by the West are the cause of mass immigration, we must step up foreign aid and instead of spending £37bn a year on foreign wars as our government does, invest in helping to rebuild these war torn countries”.
Read Maisie’s article in full here.
Today in the Financial Times, Essex Labour MP Jon Cruddas did his very feeble best to dsicredit Corbyn supporters and extol the ‘moderate’, Tory-lite wing of the party, adding: “For those of us who believe that a broad-based Labour party has been a blessing to our country, this is a time of great peril”.
The post-war Labour Party was indeed a blessing, but recent administrations, in and out of power, have totally failed to consider the well-being of those Cruddas himself calls “a dispossessed, abandoned and often despised tribe that created the party in the first place”.
The Electoral Reform Services Labour Party NEC ballot papers have been sent out and at first the writer, recognising only one name on the sheet felt unable to choose. Reading through the accounts however it was easy to spot the six loyal and constructive candidates.
Amanat Gul opens: “Professionally I am a doctor and would say I share compassion which is why I have a deep interest in politics. In my view, the Labour Party’s ethos of fairness, equality and social justice is embedded in the values I hold. I joined the Labour Party in 1985 when I was living in Norway, and continued my membership when I moved to the UK.
Currently, I hold the position of ward organiser at my CLP and the election coordinator in my ward in Birmingham. I support Jeremy Corbyn as the politics he brings, I can relate to as my own. There is a need for the Labour Party to set a vision based on fairness, compassion and integrity to pave the way to win the next General Election.
I believe my work as a doctor would support such compassionate politics”.
Christine Shawcroft includes in an online version: “As a proud supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, I have campaigned for many years for the true Labour values of public ownership, workers’ rights, job creation, affordable housing, decent pensions, and an end to international conflict and weapons of mass destruction. I have raised these issues many times on the NEC and the National Policy Forum. On many occasions, myself and other CLGA delegates, as well as delegates in other sections of the NEC, told Ed Miliband that he needed to take on the Tories over the myth that Labour in Government wrecked the economy. Unfortunately he didn’t listen”. Read on: http://www.labourinternational.net/christine_shawcroft_nomination
Claudia Webbe writes online: “I support Jeremy Corbyn’s clear anti-austerity stance and work to deliver a Labour Government committed to a plan for public investment and jobs that can get the economy growing, so that all can benefit, not just the few. Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership with a huge, overwhelming mandate and I believe our role as ordinary party members is to unite behind this leadership towards ensuring that we win in 2020. I believe the National Executive Committee has a crucial role to play towards ensuring through listening, challenge and debate that we are fit for purpose and ready for power. I would like the opportunity with your help to contribute to that agenda”. Read on: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/35/claudia-webbe-for-labour-nec
Darren Williams, extract: ”As a committed socialist all my adult life, I was delighted by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader and am proud to say that I was actively involved in his campaign. I first joined Labour in order to work for the creation of a more equal, democratic and sustainable society. At a minimum, I want to see public services provided by the public sector, a more progressive taxation system and government intervention to create jobs and get the economy back on its feet. I want reform of the irresponsible financial sector and the reversal of attacks on our social security system. I believe that most Labour members, supporters and voters share similar aspirations. Yet the last Labour government, despite many positive achievements, strayed too far from authentic Labour values and beliefs – placing undue faith in markets and the private sector, neglecting our historic commitment to equality and embroiling us in two disastrous wars. We lost the confidence of many of our long-standing supporters and the consequence has been electoral defeat and almost six years of the deepest cuts in living memory, undermining the foundations of our welfare state and increasing economic inequality. Jeremy Corbyn’s election reflects the widespread feeling among Labour supporters that the party needs to present a clear political alternative, which could win the confidence and support of all those who oppose Tory ‘austerity’”. Read on: http://www.welshlabourgrassroots.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/DW-NEC-Letter-2016-.pdf
Peter Willsman, extract: “We have a new leader, elected with a huge mandate, who has commitment, integrity and a basic decency that is quite exceptional. I worked with Jeremy in NUPE before he became an MP. I have never met anyone as dedicated. Party members want Jeremy to have a chance to show what he can do. The NEC is united behind Jeremy as he gets to grips with a very difficult job. We all need to work hard to convince every Labour MP that publicly attacking Jeremy in the hostile press and media boosts the Tories and harms our Party – the Party that put them in Parliament and to whom they owe their privileged position”. Read on: http://www.labourinternational.net/pete_willsman-nomination
Rhea Wolfson, extract: “I am running for those Labour supporters throughout Scotland who are looking at a very different electoral situation than the rest of the UK. We need a Labour Party that offers a genuine alternative to the inequality of conservativism and the inertia of nationalism. We must engage with our new and growing membership. The Labour Party must be the exciting alternative that they signed up for and reflect the values of the leader they voted for. Britain needs a strong, united Labour Party that can deliver a confident and credible democratic socialist agenda and a country with fairness and equality at its heart, standing against Tory austerity to improve the lives of working people across borders”. Read on:https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/33/rhea-wolfson-for-labour-nec.
A Daniel come to judgment? Felicity Arbuthnot draws our attention to an article by Tess Finch-Lees, who believes that the Corbyn coup wasn’t staged because Blairites don’t think Jeremy Corbyn could win the next election – it was because they fear he could. She continues:
“A Corbyn win would be an unequivocal endorsement of his progressive Labour and yet another outright rejection of Blair’s right wing New Labour/Thatcherite agenda.
“As chair of the Labour In campaign, Alan Johnson’s line up of pale, male and stale spokespeople failed to inspire.
“Producing the toxic trio though (Blair, Brown and Campbell), was the final nail in the coffin”.
Ten thousand people gathered in Parliament Square last Monday to show Corbyn their support. Amongst them were junior doctors, there to reciprocate the unequivocal support Corbyn showed them during their months of bullying by Jeremy Hunt.
The Blairites determined to oust Corbyn from the outset, even though:
- he won the leadership with a landslide victory;
- the membership rejected their right wing austerity agenda, which lost Labour the last election;
- and rejected the “Tory light” leadership candidates, who failed to vote against proposals to abolish binding child poverty targets, cutting child tax credits, employment allowance and housing benefit for young people.
Tess ends by saying: “When all Labour’s guns should be pointing at the industrial incompetence of the Tory wreckers, the Blairites are plotting to oust their own leader. Someone whom even they agree is an honourable, decent man. They want to replace him with a Teflon Tony or a PR Dave . . . If ever there was a time for principled leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn, it’s now”.
Read the whole article here:
Not the news they want to publish?
Stockton on Tees backing
Cllr Mitchell’s values: “We believe in equal opportunity so that everyone has the same chances in life and no one is left behind. For a country that supports the many and not just a privileged few, vote Labour!”
Extracts from the Plastic Hippo site:
After all this time it seems that it is the electorate that decides the outcome of an election and not the media, the chattering classes floating high above us in the Westminster bubble or even this new-fangled social media malarkey.
It is outrageous that voters should overturn the decision of political commentators, pundits, hacks, pollsters and generously funded spin doctors.
This is a situation, my friends, that threatens national security and the very future of parliamentary democracy. We need Gulags to treat these mentally unstable deviants and re-educate them to vote correctly . . .
The media and all the other political parties and some elements of the Parliamentary Labour Party styled the by election as a grand “referendum” on an unelectable Labour leader and informed us with certainty that the weird, beardy terrorist sympathiser would be history within days. The character assassination of Corbyn was unrelenting as vultures circled a dead man crawling.
With some Labour MPs putting much more effort into deposing their own leader than they ever did to remove Cameron, his end seemed inevitable
It is true that the debate on airstrikes over Syria displayed parliament at its best. Sombre, considered and, for the most part, dignified, the contributions from MPs from all parties gave an alternative to the usual Punch and Judy shouting match.
Corbyn, after defying the party whip on so many occasions, offered his MPs a free vote; the other parties did not
The new rules of engagement in politics clearly state that the words “our brave” must be used in advance of the words “armed forces” and the words “barbaric” and “death cult” must be used before and after any reference to “IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh”. Failure to do so is taken as clear evidence of terrorist sympathies. Similarly, any reference to Jeremy Corbyn must be prefaced by a scornful yet dismissive put down.
But so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense
It may be sacrilegious to suggest but so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense. He said in an interview that Labour MPs should listen to constituents, vote with their conscience and not hide behind a party whip.
Yet again, his words were deliberately and maliciously misinterpreted and headlines and sound bites went along the lines of: “Corbyn threatens Labour MPs” – “No hiding place for rebels who defy Comrade Jeremy”. It all became rather silly.
Those that spoke in favour of bombing did so with compassion and more than a little conscience. Hilary Benn in particular delivered an astonishingly powerful speech supporting the motion but his conclusion, sadly, missed the basic premise.
The basic premise is that without a clear strategy, cogent tactical objectives and any thought given to an achievable exit plan, bombing will escalate the problem and will result in further atrocities
The oratory was brilliant but the logic is flawed. Benn, and others in the Labour Party, have been fooled by Cameron and have signed up for yet another intractable and endless Middle Eastern war.
There are cynics that might suggest that some Labour MPs did not vote for bombing Syria but instead voted for bombing Corbyn, but that is clearly barking mad Trotsky propaganda
The claims and counter-claims of bullying, harassment, intimidation and threats from various factions within the Labour Party has turned the news agenda away from joining in with an air war into a story about the divisions within Labour.
ISIL and the Tories are delighted
The chattering classes were as wide of the mark as a bomb landing on a school rather than a terrorist training camp. The narrative has undergone a suddenly change and now the media talk of “local issues” and a “popular candidate” rather than a judgement on Corbyn . . . Earlier in the week the BBC helpfully pointed out that 25% of the Oldham electorate were of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin and our intrepid reporter stated that they were worried about having their state benefits removed. That must have been a very thorough survey.
When the result was declared the BBC inaccurately reported a reduced majority and the next day ran three voxpops from Oldham voters complaining about Corbyn – the Plastic Hippo then debunks this, giving the stats seen on this graphic:
He ends: “Only a complete fool would attempt to tell the public what to think or to tell them how to vote and only a complete fool assumes that the public are inherently foolish and therefore easily fooled.
“As the current government continues to treat us with contempt, a credible opposition is needed more than ever and the squabbling egos in the Labour Party need to be reminded that unity is strength . . .”
Read in full here:
- Or see: https://twitter.com/theplastichippo
- Or re NHS and Jeremy Hunt (apart from the last sentence) https://theplastichippo.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/trust-nhs/#more-4917: “When it comes to trust, and I might be alone in this, I would prefer to have a qualified medical professional with years of experience wielding the scalpel than some shifty politician who seems only capable of opening brown envelopes from Murdoch, the drug companies and private health insurance corporations. We must all join together in the sincere wish that Jeremy Hunt does not fall ill and require the attention of NHS staff. They, or course, would provide the very best of medical care and do all in their powers to make him well again just as they do for the rest of us.”
Mental illness is an issue that affects many individuals in society, so why is it that the government is not doing more to help? Keah Joseph of Redbrick – the student publication (hard copy and online) of the University of Birmingham – explains what the new Labour party are offering as a solution and what this means for the future. Summary below, link to full article at foot of blog.
Jeremy Corbyn is changing politics in many ways, but mainly by wanting to create a ‘kinder politics and caring society.’ This type of politics completely contrasts that of David Cameron who during the election period made promises which he had no intention of keeping.
Mental health is among the most widespread health issues, yet despite this it does not receive enough attention. Unlike physical health issues, mental health problems are not as easily noticeable, but are equally distressing. There have been many cuts to mental health trusts over the past five years and under the Tory government these cuts are not over yet. It is becoming harder and harder to help those who are suffering. 41 mental health trusts prepare themselves for an upcoming bleak five years, as the plans of the Tories have revealed, involve an 8% cut in funding to the trusts. Keah Joseph asks:
- If 1 in 4 people are suffering with mental health issues within in the United Kingdom, why are the government cutting back?
- Why are the conservatives not investing in mental health trusts and providing them with the facilities needed to help those suffering from mental illness?
Labour is introducing a fresh, new way of thinking about how to tackle the challenge of mental health within our society. Jeremy Corbyn is the first Prime minister (sic) to place mental health centre stage and recognise how much it affects so many people’s lives.
This was demonstrated on his first day which he spent attending a fundraiser for mental health. 1 in 4 people within the UK suffer a mental health illness such as depression, bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks and so on. Now that’s one quarter of our population being affected. The most common of these being a mixture of anxiety and depression. Around 10% of our population are diagnosed with depression each year.
Jeremy is stressing the importance in tackling mental health in a way no other party leader has done before by appointing Lucianna Berger as shadow minister for mental health. This shadow cabinet is not only a first for specifically serving those with mental health issues it is the first shadow cabinet with a majority of women working on board.
Jeremy has informed voters that they do not have to accept inequality and injustice thrown at them; ‘things can and must change!’
To read the article in full – including Keah Joseph’s interview with shadow minister for mental health Luciana Berger about her views on government stance towards mental health – go to http://www.redbrick.me/comment/mental-health-corbyn/