Category Archives: NHS

A Green perspective: MP Clive Lewis’s position reflects views of many

(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).

mp-clive-lewisLewis said “public good, private bad”, referring specifically to these sectors. We add a fairer picture than the unpleasant image selected by the FT.

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:

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




Jeremy Corbyn: Peter Burgess tells the truth and pulls no punches

jeremy-corbyn-2Much 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.




Voting to place the loyal and constructive on the NEC

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.

nsc ballotAmanat 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”.

Read more here:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:




“If ever there was a time for principled leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn, it’s now”

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”.

JC rally post referendum

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:




Will yesterday’s fifth Corbyn Labour by-election victory reach the national ad-dependent press ?

 Not the news they want to publish?

5 2 by election mitchell

 Stockton on Tees backing

5 mitchell graphic

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!”

The Oldham West and Royton result profoundly shocking: the electorate decides the outcome -)

Extracts from the Plastic Hippo site:

plastic hippo logoAfter 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:

oldham 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:

Redbrick’s Keah Joseph: changing politics in many ways, mental health under Corbyn

redbrick 2 reader

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!’ 

redbrick logo
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

NHA Campaign Team: Come on Jez, you can!

The National Health Action Party’s administrator has been sent the link – forwarded by Lesley – to Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Tredegar (below, before the event), with the comment: “brilliant summing up of Bevan, housing and health etc”.

tredegar before event discussion

Deborah Harrington replied, after seeing the video, that she is cautiously optimistic, but NHAP knows people who have had proper conversations with JC about the NHS and have come away saying that he knows very little about the reality: “We can’t expect overnight transformations of the Labour Party. It’s more than just Jeremy Corbyn and as it stands his NHS advisors will be mostly from the wrong side of the argument . . . so steeped in privatisation, where will any public service voices come from?

The writer, however, has more confidence in his ability to select good advisers from every sector, including those who will share this common concern about the NHS – and he really needs input on the minutiae of current dairy farming problems.

Deborah continues: “Despite that crackingly good speech I still hope he takes up Clive’s offer”.

The administrator is appealing for members and supporters to “overflow the inboxes of Jeremy Corbyn and Heidi Alexander with NHA words of wisdom”. Continuing:

“Ask them to embrace a better politics and work with the NHA to reinstate the NHS.

We are not metamorphosing into a pressure group – we are still a political party. But this is our big chance to get Labour’s health policy back to Bevan’s Basics and we believe that Labour’s best chance is to work with the NHA; not rely on the only too willing advice of New Labour’s old guard or the management consultants who sell themselves as experts in NHS ‘reform’.

“Clive has already written to Jeremy Corbyn, the new opposition leader and will be writing to Heidi Alexander to welcome her to the post of Shadow Health Secretary and to offer NHA’s expertise and evidence based advice to create a health policy we can all be proud of”.

Mr Corbyn will be the first to agree that as they say, the landslide victory of Jeremy Corbyn and the welcome appointment of Heidi Alexander do not erase Labour’s failure in opposition to defend the NHS since the Health and Social Care Act in 2012 or their own destructive policies of Private Finance Initiative, Unsustainable Provider Regime and the introduction of an internal market that paved the way for the fragmentation and sell-off of our NHS”. Further points:

The NHS is under threat:

  • Devolution of health services to Local Authorities (taking the N out of the NHS)
  • Integrated health and social care with no proper funding and in an unstable landscape of health provision.
  • The displacement of public health to chronically underfunded Local Authorities.
  • The closures and the threat of still more downgrading and closures to hospitals and services.
  • The introduction of US style unaccountable care organisations.

We’re calling for an NHS that is

Publicly Funded

Publicly Owned

Publicly Provided

Publicly Accountable

Write now to Heidi Alexander, or send a letter to Heidi Alexander, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Write now to Jeremy Corbyn, or send a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Michael Meacher: a loss felt by the reviving, regenerating Labour Party

michael meacher 3

The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement paying tribute to Mr Meacher, whom he first met in the early 1970s. He said Mr Meacher had urged him to stand in the leadership contest and given him “huge support”, adding: “He was a valued friend and commentator utterly committed to democracy in our party and movement, as well as in the wider community”.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said Mr Meacher was a “great politician, championing climate action”. She would be remembering his work as Minister of State for the Environment for six years, gaining a fine reputation, well-respected as a skilled negotiator and a minister with full command of his brief. He helped John Prescott to clinch the Kyoto agreement to limit carbon emissions in 1997 and was one of the first in Government to come to grips with the issue of global warming.

As recently as September, on a sister site, we published a summary of Michael Meacher’s analysis of the ‘Corbyn earthquake’

He had noted in a recent Global Research article , that after hi-jacking the party down a route utterly alien to its founders, in order to ingratiate himself with corporate and financial leaders on their terms . . . Tony Blair appears not to understand why the Corbyn earthquake is happening or the passionate resentment which he and New Labour created: 

  • by laying the foundations for the financial crash of 2008-9 and making the squeezed middle and brutally punished poor pay for it,
  • by aligning New Labour alongside the Tories in pursuit of austerity from 2010 onwards, though Osborne’s policy (to shrink the State) has been unsuccessful in reducing the deficit,
  • by taking Britain without any constitutional approval into an illegal was with Iraq,
  • by introducing into politics the hated regime of spin and manipulation,
  • by indulging now his squalid lust for money-making
  • and by clearly having no more overriding desire than to strut the world with Bush.

He asked three searching questions

Why did he urge the Blairite MPs to support the government’s welfare bill which opposed every tenet of the real Labour Party?

Why did he push for privatisation of the NHS and other public services?

Why did his acolyte Mandelson say “New Labour is “relaxed at people becoming filthy rich”, and proved it by letting inequality balloon to even higher heights than under Thatcher?

And ended: “He has a lot to learn . . . “ 


We hope that the result of the forthcoming by-election will reflect the support and hope generated by the new Labour Party leader.


Read the whole article here:

NHS Reinstatement Bill: National Activists Group write to Jeremy Corbyn

nhs reinstatement

Letter to Jeremy Corbyn – 15 campaigns and rising. There has been a very positive response to the letter so far with campaigns from round the country (St Helier to Hartlepool via Sussex, London, Birmingham, Liverpool etc) wanting to sign. 

Header and link below added – Ed.

Dear Jeremy,

As grassroots NHS activists from around the country, we would like to congratulate you on being elected leader of the Labour Party. We very much welcome the potential your leadership and vision offer our NHS. Your role as co-sponsor of the 2015 NHS Reinstatement Bill which aims to restore a fully publicly-owned, publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS is particularly important in this.

In tackling the multi-pronged attack the NHS is facing we feel it important to recognise that legislative changes made by both Conservative and Labour governments from 1990 to 2010 were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the disastrous Health and Social Care Act (2012) and the resulting depredations of the Coalition government and its big business allies.

The NHS is now collapsing under the weight of government-engineered hospital closures, the haemorrhaging of exhausted and disillusioned staff at all levels and enforced long-term PFI re-payments.

In the light of current media attention on Labour party proposals for PFI debts to be refinanced via Local Authorities – this is one issue we would very much like to discuss as we believe there are serious pitfalls in this strategy which may not be immediately obvious. Ironically this approach, whilst sounding positive in the first instance, could advance rather than reverse the privatisation process.

As we all know there are other massive looming threats to the NHS – the devolution of health services to LAs, the awful implications of TTIP, the further slashing of social care budgets amongst many others.

Despite everything being thrown at us, we continue to have large and smaller campaigning victories including the historic “wins” – Gloucestershire, Lewisham, Bristol to name but three. We can all build on these successes.

We request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss our concerns and our ideas for immediately achievable initiatives by the Labour party in relation to the NHS, to support your vision of a “new politics” and a fairer society with the National Health Service we all expect and deserve.

The need for joint action on all our parts could not be more urgent if we want to preserve an NHS that remains comprehensive, publicly funded, publicly run and owned and providing universal, high quality care for all.

We look forward to meeting you.

For those who are still deciding whether to sign this is a quick reminder that the deadline is approaching. The more of our campaigns who sign the letter the letter the more likely we are to get a meeting. The sooner we get a meeting the sooner we can all give the Labour party our ideas about urgent actions they should be taking to support us all in saving the NHS. Please email by this Friday 23rd October to say:-

  • Your group would like to sign the letter (giving the full name of your campaign)
  • your group would like to be involved in a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn.