The future of our NHS – Reasons to be fearful 1, 2,……..10!

11 01 2015

Big Up the NHS

B6s3N2sIMAEU2GLEvents of the last couple of weeks can leave nobody in much doubt that the NHS is struggling this winter. But does this signal the death of the NHS, as the tabloid press is spinning it, or is it just a temporary blip as the government would have us believe?

The answer lies, as always, somewhere between the two but I believe that a perfect storm is brewing. We require urgent and decisive action or we will see the end of the NHS as we know it before the end of the next parliament – regardless of who wins in May.

The NHS is part of the fabric of our nation and the vast majority of the public have not yet accepted the message that its future is really under threat. After all it is among the most efficient and effective healthcare systems in the world. How could we…

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Miners, Unions and The Durham Gala

8 01 2015

Durham Community Support Centre

On February 4th 2015 there will be a one day educational event organised by UNITE Community with contributions from:

Dave Wray A former striking miner and now writing about the history of the gal

Carol Stephenson a senior lecturer at Northumbria who has written about women,  the Strike and the Gala

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John Stirling a trade union educator who has written about the future of unions.

The day will look at the past of the gala; why the Gala is still here when so many others have died; the future for the Gala and the Unions

The day will be an interactive one with plenty of opportunity to share experiences and opinions alongside the presentations.

The event will be held at the Durham Miners Association Red Hills, Durham. At the moment definite times have yet to be confirmed but it is envisaged that it will run from 10.30 am to 4.00pm.

All are welcome to…

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The inherent contradictions of Conservatism and the tide that turned

20 12 2014

Politics and Insights

Editorship of The Spectator has often been a step on the ladder to high office in the Conservative Party – past editors include Iain Macleod, Ian Gilmour and Nigel Lawson, all of whom became cabinet members – or a springboard for a greater role in public affairs, as with Boris Johnson (1999 to 2005), the Conservative Mayor of London. The Spectator is a weekly British and staunchly Conservative magazine.

So when we see articles from right-wing commentators that are extensively critical of a Conservative-led government, indicating deceit and lying to the public and highlighting the sheer hypocrisy of Cameron’s ideologically-driven policies, it’s worth paying some attention to it. Especially when those articles echo some of our own criticisms.

This week, Fraser Nelson wrote  “the Prime Minster and his Chancellor are scurrying around the country misleading people. Never mind the national debt, the deficit has not been cut in half over…

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welfare reforms and the language of flowers: the Tory gender agenda

1 11 2014

Politics and Insights

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In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Flowers  from Voices Of the Night

Ring-a-ring-a-roses,
A pocket full of posies;
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down – Traditional

Part one

The axis of marginalisation

George Bernard Shaw immortalised the Victorian East End flower girls in Eliza Doolittle, in his play “Pygmalion“. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and must also be read as a commentary on women’s striving for independence. The play was subsequently adapted numerous times, most notably as the highly romanticised musical “My Fair Lady”  (and the film, starring Audrey Hepburn). But there was a historical reality behind Shaw’s fiction that was far less glamorous, he edited out genuine representation of so many miserable lives filled with a constant, dehumanising…

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There is no such thing as an ‘England-only’ issue..

22 09 2014

There is no such thing as an ‘England-only’ issue...





Welfare reforms, food banks, malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases are not coincidental, Mr Cameron

27 07 2014

Politics and Insights

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The coalition will leave more debt than all Labour governments since 1900. The current government is now responsible for £517 billion of the trillion-plus-pound UK public debt, compared to £472 billion accrued during the 33 years Labour led the country since the turn of the twentieth century.

And the figures look even worse when you adjust for inflation. When you do that, the Coalition’s share jumps to nearly half of the total debt.

But the Coalition don’t meet any public’s needs, they simply serve the wants of  a powerful, wealthy elite. Labour invested in public services, the Tories have bled them dry. So, what have they done with the money? Because the public have seen only austerity cuts. And the most vulnerable bear the brunt of the cuts.

Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Ben Phillips, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who…

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Some of the promises the Tories are trying to delete from the internet

27 07 2014

Politics and Insights

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Some of the promises the Tories are trying to delete from the internet:

1. No cuts to front-line services.

2. “We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT”.

3. Cameron said “I wouldn’t means-test child benefit”.

4. “No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”.

5. On Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA): “We don’t have any plans to get rid of them”.

6. Cameron on  Sure Start: “Yes we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this”.

7. On the Future Jobs Fund: “We have no plans to change it”.

8. Cameron on green taxes: “[They] need to go up”.

9. Osborne on bank bonuses: “Totally unacceptable”.

10. And finally, Cameron’s commentary on transparency in 2007: “It’s clear to me that political leaders will have to learn to let go. Let go of the information we have guarded so jealously”.

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The pre-election…

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Another Angry Voice on Tory Hypocrisy over Funding

28 02 2014

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

The Left-wing political blog, Another Angry Voice (see the Links) has this piece dissecting the Tories’ hypocrisy over the funding of the Labour Party. They denounce Labour for being funded by the trade unions, while their own party receives lavish donations from corporations and some extremely rich – and dodgy – individuals.

The Angry One begins his piece

Who could ever forget the sight of a grotesquely hypocritical David Cameron working himself up into a fit of faux outrage at the fact that the Labour party are mainly funded by the trade unions. There was a man who knows damn well that his own political party is almost entirely funded through vast donations from the wealthy and privileged (many of them “rogues” to put it mildly), ranting on about the fact that the Labour party are funded through small donations from millions of working people.

Cameron knows exactly where the…

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The Nazis and Conservatives as Faux-Workers’ Parties

28 02 2014

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

A few days ago I posted a piece pointing out the similarity between workfare and the commercial exploitation of poor souls the Nazis imprisoned in the concentration camps as ‘anti-social elements’. These included not only Jews, but also the voluntarily unemployed – called the arbeitscheu – and political dissidents, which were mainly Communists, Socialists and trade unionists. Now it seems the Tories are attempting copy the Nazis’ propaganda tactics still further: Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, wants to rebrand them as the ‘Worker’s Party’.

There is an excellent post at Another Angry Voice attacking this rebranding. See The bizarre Tory effort to rebrand themselves as “The Workers Party” at http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/tories-rebrand-workers-party.html.

The Tories attempt to rebrand themselves as the ‘Worker’s Party’ is exactly what Hitler did with the Nazi party. And that ain’t an exaggeration.

There’s an attempt by the Conservatives to claim that Fascism is a form of Socialism, like…

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