Tag Archives: Westminster

What Jeremy Hunt isn’t telling us:ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND good news NHS stories!

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An outside observer of some of the right wing media coverage of the NHS over recent months could be forgiven for thinking that our 65 year old system of publicly funded healthcare was failing badly. The hyped up propaganda has painted a hysterical universal picture of NHS hospitals as places where painful death creeps through wards and corridors grimly reaping as it goes; places where nurses and doctors are slipshod, uncaring or downright callous and cruel and patients are constructed as their helpless victims. You can almost hear the melodramatic silent movie music and mad cackling laughter.

NHS1   Nothing could be further from the truth. When I was born in 1950 the NHS and the welfare state were barely two years old and because it existed my mother was attended by trained midwives and as I grew she could take me to a weekly clinic where my weight was monitored and she had access to free baby milk, orange juice and vitamins to help me thrive. Prior to the NHS most working class folk like us couldn’t afford what we now think of as basic healthcare. Our babies were delivered at home by untrained women often in unhygienic conditions. Maternal deaths were high. If a mother was unable to breastfeed, cow’s milk had to suffice. There was little knowledge of the need to sterilise bottles etc and little money for, or knowledge of a healthy diet. I had an aunt whose legs were bent out of shape by rickets and an uncle who died aged 50 from a treatable heart condition because he couldn’t afford to pay for either the doctor or the medicine that would have saved him.

There is no doubt that the NHS has transformed the health of the working class and saved many, many lives.

images   In three short years the Coalition government, with its crazed programme of benefit cuts and its unbelievably savage attack on people with disabilities, has catapulted the working class back to those pre NHS days of my infancy. And it seems determined to finish the job by destroying a system that ensured everyone had access to a level of healthcare previously only available to the well off.

And they’re doing this by trying to turn us against it with the sly tactic of the self fulling prophesy . Because by starving hospitals of cash and staff they aim to create the chaos that they hope will justify privatisation.

images (1)     So now its high time for the GOOD NEWS stories to be told about the NHS to put things back into proportion. Like every organisation under the sun, the NHS doesn’t get it right all the time. But it does get it right an awful lot more times than the government would have us believe and it does it every hour of every day of every year all over the UK.  A simple Google search for the term “the NHS saved my life” yielded ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND hits and I’ve listed some of the links below so people can read something positive about our health service for a change. I’m not claiming that every single one of those hits was a good news story but the vast majority of them certainly were – and they were all stories of how NHS staff from ambulance crews to doctors and nurses and even a dietician had helped to save a life. There’s even one from a Tory MP!

opperman    MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman invited the neurosurgeon who saved his life to Westminster to present him with a cheque from the proceeds of a book he’d written, as a thank  you for the great care he received from the NHS. He seems unusual for a Tory since he’s also campaigned against low wages and first got interested in national politics after giving up his time as a barrister for free to lead a campaign to fight the closure of Savernake NHS Hospital, which he credited with saving his mother’s life from cancer.

   So here are the good news stories that I hope will help heal the NHS reputation (not ‘cure’ it like a side of bacon!).

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JULY 5/6th – The CAMarathon: NHA Party leader to run 65 miles on 65th anniversary of the NHS from Westminster to Witney

On the 65th anniversary of the NHS, co-leader of the National Health Action Party, Dr Clive Peedell, will be running 65 miles through the night from Parliament to David Cameron’s Witney constituency where he will bury the coffin of the NHS – and reveal how the NHA Party intends to resurrect the NHS.

The National Health Action Party was founded last year by doctors and health care professional seriously concerned about the damaging impact of the government’s NHS reforms. This is already evident in the current crisis in A&E, hospital closures and the NHS 111 helpline chaos.

The NHA Party will be fielding candidates at the Euro elections next year and at the 2015 General Election – to ensure that the nation’s health is at the very top of the political agenda.

On Friday July 5th, Dr Clive Peedell and other pall-bearers will carry the coffin of the NHS from the Department of Health to College Green in Westminster. Dr Peedell will address the crowd accompanied by the leader of the Royal College of GPS, Dr Clare Gerada for the initial stage, he’ll then begin a 65 mile run through the night to David Cameron’s Witney constituency. He will stop off at various points on the way for short rallies and photographs. He will arrive in Witney  on Saturday July 6th at around 1.30pm where he will perform a mock burial of the NHS and explain how the NHA Party plans to resurrect the NHS.

Timings for the event:

Friday July 5th

4pm Department of Health, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS

4.30pm College Green, by Parliament

Saturday July 6th

9.30am John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford, OX3 9DU

10am Nye Bevan Close, Oxford OX4 1GB

10.30am Carfax, Cornmarket/High Street, Oxford

1.30pm High Street, Witney – procession down High Street, past David Cameron’s constituency office, and onto Church Green for burial


For press enquiries please contact:
Giselle Green 07767 612311; giselle7@blueyonder.co.uk


Is William Hague telling the truth about Britain’s plans for Syria?

images (17)I haven’t blogged about international issues yet because there seems to be so much going on here in Britain I just haven’t had the time. But this doesn’t mean I’m not interested. When it comes to Syria I’m downright appalled at the holocaust that is taking place. But I’m also confused by all the conflicting media reports and the stuff you can read on line. Its hard to know who’s telling the truth and after two and a half years just which factions are involved and who’s supplying who with arms etc. What started out, ostensibly, as peaceful protest has deteriorated into a free for all. One thing that is clear though is that as in every conflict its the innocent and vulnerable who suffer, who are forced to flee their homes in search of safety.

images (1)Today I received the following email from a contact containing some worrying news suggesting that the UK government haven’t been exactly truthful with us about their involvement in Syria.

“Hello All, Got this off Global research today spread far and wide please, Alan.


Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2013 13:06:30 +0100

The former French Minister of Foreign Affairs has publicly made a statement that the British Government intended to overthrow the Syrian government for political reasons, long before there was civil unrest (fomented by the British) in Syria. “…Britain had been preparing gunmen to invade Syria two years before the crisis there flared up in 2011…”

I attach the video of his public statement. Clearly his statement has very grave and serious legal implications. We would like written confirmation that the U.K government will make a Full statement in the House of Commons over why the UK government has clearly misled the U.K people and the International Community. We expect that statement would include an announcement of a public inquiry.



We would also expect the U.K government to publicly provide a written assurance that the U.K government will under no circumstances, now supply, to anyone, any weapons that could be used in Syria. In addition following a public inquiry it is expected that the U.K will need to provide substantial reparations for the serious harm already caused to Syrian people, by the U.K government.The written response by email, of the U.K government, is required as a matter of urgency.

Babs Tucker. Parliament Square Peace Campaign    www.brianhaw.tv

  The video is from a French news programme, and is therefore in French.

For those of you who’s French is a bit rusty, like me, here’s a short synopsis of the interview with ex-French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas:-


The former French foreign minister confirms the British, along with Israel always wanted war with Syria, all along and he said no. Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas said that Britain had been preparing gunmen to invade Syria two years before the crisis there flared up in 2011. During a TV show, Dumas said

”I was in Britain two years ago, and I met British officials, some my friends…they admitted that they were up to something in Syria. They even asked me to join them in my capacity as a foreign minister, but I declined,” he added. He indicated that the plan of striking Syria had been prepared in advance long before the 2011 events, adding that the goal was to overthrow the Syrian government that considers Israel an enemy.”

article-2005478-09BE31C9000005DC-727_468x311Brian Haw died in 2011 aged 62 and Barbara Tucker and others have continued protesting against war in Parliament Square 24 hours a day. Brian kept up the fight from 2nd June 2001. On 16th January last year the Metropolitan Police confiscated their tents, the only shelter they had, and they’ve been without shelter ever since.

After his death Conservative MP Peter Bottomley proposed an Early Day Motion for a memorial service but there was a sting in the tail as well when he says he :-

“believes it could be appropriate for a memorial service in Westminster to mark his passing; and also hopes that to mark his life the unsightly camp of hangers-on in Parliament Square ends and a plaque be set in the pavement.”

Sounds a bit like a bribe to me. Funny too, how not long after the Met went in and took their tents.

As I said above, information about Syria has been confusing and often contradictory. Its hard to know which accounts to trust. But for me the fact that Brian and Barbara have been protesting solidly day and night for twelve years in all weathers gives them the kind of credibility sadly lacking in our so-called ‘right honourable’ rulers in their warm,comfortable offices just down the road in Westminster.

Will they respond to Barbara’s email? Will we finally hear truth from their lips for once?

On past performance, sadly, I’d say the answer is a resounding “No”.

We’ve had enough of the lies from Duncan-Smith’s DWP. Now its time for the truth.

truthandlies-twitter-avatarLike so many others I’m sickened by the lies and spin that seem to characterise Iain Duncan-Smith’s DWP public statements about welfare benefit recipients. What’s worse is the way certain sections of the news media, notably the Daily Mail and the Sun reinforce this ‘dog whistle’ politics with aggressive content designed to turn public opinion against the poor. I was appalled to read recently that even Labour supporters were beginning to believe all this evil bullshit.

In view of this, I was more than a little heartened yesterday when I came across an excellent recent report published by The Joint Public Issues Team from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church which identifies six myths propagated by the Coalition government about the nature of the UK’s poor families.

The report entitled “The lies we tell ourselves:ending comfortable myths about poverty” is a thoroughly researched piece and exposes the ideological agenda of a morally bankrupt government in no uncertain terms. In the Executive Summary of the report the Joint Public Issues Team say:-

“The myths exposed in this report, reinforced by politicians and the media, are convenient because they allow the poor to be blamed for their poverty, and the rest of society to avoid taking any of the responsibility. Myths hide the complexity of the true nature of poverty in the UK. They enable dangerous policies to be imposed on whole sections of society without their full consequences being properly examined. This report aims to highlight some comfortable myths, show how they have come to prominence and test them against serious evidence…The reputations of society’s most disadvantaged families became collateral damage in the rush to defend a new policy. Perhaps we are not surprised by this but we should be appalled.”

The full report can be found here  


In order to publicise their findings and challenge the perceptions of the public which are being fed by the Tory press the Joint Public Issues Team actively encourage people to share their findings and provide a number of graphics which totally blow apart the false picture of families living in poverty which has been painted by the likes of IDS and George Osborne who recently tried to claim that the UK was full of dysfunctional families like the Philpotts who were the products of a ‘benefits lifestyle’. The graphics appear below. Click on each image to amplify. Please share them widely.

benefits3-percent dla drink2 drinkdrugs2 fiddle fraud2 housing-benefit kids

The Welfare Benefits Up-Rating Bill is currently going through parliament and a wide spectrum of church leaders have been lobbying for the government to protect benefits that affect children. As Paul Morrison, a Joint Public Issues blogger said on 13th April:-

“Churches and church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have asked the Government to reconsider and exempt the benefits targeted at children. The Government response to these challenges has been aggressive but failed to address the substantive points or the underlying issues. More troublingly the response is grounded not in robust evidence but in the popular myths about those in poverty and receipt of benefits.”

 I’ve been an atheist for many years and will continue to be one, but I’m impressed that these churches are at last standing up publicly against the government in defence of the many thousands of vulnerable people whose lives and reputations have been torn apart by the pernicious lies emanating from Westminster. Please give them your support.