Save the NHS: The Need to Scrap the Tories’ Privatisation Bill Is More Urgent Than Ever

10.3.12

Last week appeared to be another good week for those opposing the Tory-led coalition government’s disastrous and entirely unwanted NHS reform bill, although no one should be fooled, as the government is still determined to press ahead with its terrible plans, even though wrecking the NHS will almost certainly cost them the next election.

First up was the matter of the e-petition launched by Dr. Kailash Chand OBE, a GP and chair of Tameside and Glossop Primary Care Trust. Simply entitled, “Drop the Health Bill,” the e-petition “[c]alls on the Government to drop its Health and Social Care Bill,” and, at the time of writing, it has been signed by 172,483 people, and is open for signatures until May 16.

This is good news, of course, although in order for it to count for anything, the Labour leader Ed Miliband — and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham — had to force David Cameron to honour a promise he made to the British people, and to Parliament. As Jonathan Reynolds, the Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, and parliamentary private secretary to Ed Miliband, explained in an article four days ago:

In the run-up to the last general election, David Cameron promised that Parliament would debate and vote on any issue if it had the backing of more than 100,000 people. But that promise was broken in February — when I was refused parliamentary time to debate the future of the government’s Health and Social Care Bill.

An e-petition – calling on the government to drop the controversial bill – was started by respected health professional Kailash Chand OBE, who lives in the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency. When I stood before Backbench Business Committee, the e-petition had already been signed by more than 162,000 people. Yet despite widespread backing — including members of the Labour Party, the Green Party, the SDLP, the DUP and the Liberal Democrats — the application for the debate was refused. […]

David Cameron made his promise to devote parliamentary time to any issue that was backed by 100,000 people because he wanted to show that he would listen; he wanted to show that he was in touch. But his determination to railroad through the Health and Social Care Bill shows that he will not listen – not to the Royal Colleges, not to the patients, not to the healthcare unions and not to the tens of thousands of people who have signed the petition.

Of course David Cameron made another important promise in the run-up to the general election — he promised that there would be no more top-down reorganisation of the NHS. Despite his reassuring words, the Health and Social Care Bill marks the biggest reorganisation of the NHS since its launch in 1948.

On Thursday, the voices of Dr. Chand, and over 170,000 others, were finally acknowledged by the Prime Minister. As Pulse reported, “pressure from shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has secured a slot for the Drop the Bill debate and vote next Tuesday (March 13th). It will effectively form a last-ditch attempt by Labour and rebel Liberal Democrats to delay the bill, currently before the House of Lords and expected to reach the statute book on March 20th.”

In response to the news, Dr. Chand said he was “delighted” because the public was “sleepwalking into a disaster.” As Pulse described it, he said the debate “was necessary to make people aware of what would happen to the NHS under the bill.” As Dr. Chand explained, “It’s a recipe not just for a postcode lottery but for a taxcode lottery in that the treatment you get will depend on how wealthy you are. It will be down to what insurance you have.” He added that the issue was “not about party politics,” and pointed out that he was “a long-term critic of the Labour party — as well as a supporter.” As he noted, “I’m a socialist — but it’s not necessarily about party politics.”

Andy Burnham had spoken about Dr. Chand’s e-petition — and the 170,000 people that the Prime Minister proposed to ignore — at a “Save our NHS” rally at Westminster Central Hall on Wednesday, attended by “[t]housands of nurses, midwives, doctors, physiotherapists, cleaners, porters and other NHS workers,” as the Guardian explained, also noting:

Speaker after speaker stressed their love and admiration for the NHS and its unique place in national life. “It’s more popular than the BBC and more popular than the royal family,” said Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison. Kailash Chand … demanding the scrapping of the bill, said it was “the finest achievement of the 20th century”.

Vikki Mills, who is experiencing plenty of NHS care as she is pregnant with twins, said she had been told that her babies may be born prematurely and need special care. “My care is based on my needs,” she said, before warning that the coalition’s plan to let NHS hospitals raise as much as 49% of their income from private patients could lead to a two-tier NHS, with some patients getting better care than others simply because they were paying for it. […]

Nye Bevan’s famous dictum that the NHS would survive for as long as there was people left to fight for it was invoked over and over again, gaining applause every time.

On Thursday evening, there was further bad news for the government, when, by 101 votes to 70, the Royal College of Surgeons agreed that the bill would “damage the NHS and widen healthcare inequalities, with detrimental effects on education, training and patient care in England,” although, as the Guardian described it, “members held back from the dramatic step of backing its withdrawal. While 76 agreed that the college should ‘publicly call for withdrawal of the health and social care bill’, 99 disagreed.”

On Friday, there was further bad news for the government, when it lost an appeal against the release of its own risk assessment regarding the proposed NHS reforms. In November, as I explained at the time, the Information Commissioning Office (ICO) found that the Department of Health “had twice breached the Freedom of Information Act in not disclosing the document and the strategic risk factor associated with the NHS reforms contained therein,” as the website Practice Business explained.

Although the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, ordered the release of the strategic risk register in November, the government appealed, but has now lost its appeal, rejecting claims made by representatives of the Department of Health, at a two-day hearing last week, at which witnesses for the Department of Helath argued “for it to be kept private lest it set a precedent that would undermine government departments’ ability to assess the risks of pursuing particular policies,” as the Guardian explained.

As the Guardian also noted, “Campaigners — including Labour and key medical bodies such as the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing — have argued that it must be released so that peers debating the health and social care bill can have the full information needed to scrutinise it properly.” In addition, Labour MP John Healey, who first sought publication of the register in 2010 when he was shadow health secretary, wrote a follow-up article for the Guardian in which he debunked the government’s claims about publication of the risk register establishing a dangerous precedent. As he explained:

Despite the apocalyptic arguments made in court in defence of the government, this is not a decision that will bring the civil service system of risk management to a full stop, nor will this lead to the routine disclosure of government risk registers. The tribunal’s judgment, and the information commissioner’s earlier decision, is based on my argument that the transition risk register for the NHS reorganisation is a case apart. The scale and speed of such a huge NHS upheaval is unprecedented, and the public interest in understanding the risks is exceptional.

Risk has been at the heart of the concerns surrounding the NHS reforms from the outset. Lack of evidence and confidence about how well the government was prepared to manage the risks of the biggest reorganisation in NHS history during the tightest financial squeeze on health funding since the 1950s was a major cause of growing professional, public and parliamentary alarm at the plans in November 2010, when I first made my FoI request.

The failure of ministers to provide a fuller explanation and reassurance has fuelled the chorus of criticism and opposition ever since. They simply can’t see what the NHS means to people, how much it matters. We all need the NHS; we trust it when we are most fearful. We utterly depend on it when we are most vulnerable. This is why the public interest in such massive NHS changes is so strong.

Unfortunately, despite the ever-increasing opposition to NHS reform, the Liberal Democrats have failed to seize the initiative presented to them, and have refused to demand an end to the bill at their spring conference this weekend, even though more than 270 delegates voted in favour of an emergency motion to “kill the bill.”

How significant is this? Well, as Ben Goldacre, the doctor and journalist, explained succinctly in a comment on Twitter today, “is this a F*CKING PLAYGROUND? … Senior LibDem sources say if party votes to drop the health bill it would be ‘a Labour win.'”

In a blog post, Goldacre also highlighted how close we are to the death of the NHS as we know it, introducing an important article in the British Medical Journal (PDF) by Allyson Pollock, a professor at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary, University of London, David Price, a senior research fellow at QMUL, and Peter Roderick, a public interest lawyer, with the following urgent request:

I strongly recommend you read this … You may possibly begin to understand why the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Physicians, the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal College of Nursing, and the rest, are all against the bill. They believe it will harm patient care. They’re correct.

I may be biased, since my political affiliation is “floating voter”, but I really don’t think this is an issue on which it’s okay to simply be politically partisan, and worry about whose party is whose. This bill stands out alone as something very important, life changing for all of you, and it really does need to be stopped if at all possible. I honestly don’t think you can afford the alternatives.

You can find your MP here, and write to them.

In conclusion, here’s the opening paragraph of that BMJ article, in which experts — as opposed to the ideologues in the government — present the main problems with the bill:

Entitlement to free health services in England will be curtailed by the Health and Social Care Bill currently before parliament. The bill sets out a new statutory framework that would abolish the duty of primary care trusts (PCTs) to secure health services for everyone living in a defined geographical area. New clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will arrange provision of fewer government funded health services and determine the scope of these services independently of the secretary of state for health. They may delegate this decision to commercial companies. The bill also provides for health services to be arranged by local authorities, with provision for new charging powers for services currently provided free through the NHS (clauses 1, 12, 13, 17, and 49), and it will give the secretary of state an extraordinary power to exclude people from the health service. Taken together the measures would facilitate the transition from tax financed healthcare to the mixed financing model of the United States.

So if you care about the NHS, keep fighting. Sign the e-petition, write to your MP, and sign the 38 Degrees petition, which currently has 509,150 signatures.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

40 Responses

  1. Universal Citizen says...

    The power to withhold royal assent to legislation passed by the Houses of Parliament

    No Bill can become a legally binding Act of Parliament unless and until it receives the royal assent. This means that the Queen has a veto on all legislation passed by Parliament. She has the power to withhold her assent to any legislation for any reason or for none. Were she to exercise this power no court could hold it illegal. This is an astonishing power. It was last exercised in the United Kingdom by Queen Anne in 1708 but has been threatened to be exercised several times in the twentieth century, not least, it is reported, by the current heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

  2. Universal Citizen says...

    Is it time we appealed to the queen to prevent this Bill from being passed …
    She has the power to save us and it would be in her interests’ as well as the nation’s’ that she use her power to act in the interests of the people, since her government are clearly failing to do so.

  3. novenator says...

    Why are conservatives always trying to wreck a good thing? The conservative Tory party managed to kill public trains in the UK, and now coverage has dropped, prices have shot through the roof, and everything is inconvenient and complicated. Privatizing things doesn’t make them better, it just restricts access to favor those with money.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Universal Citizen. Nice suggestion, but unfortunately I can’t imagine the Queen breaking 300 years of protocol for the NHS – although she should!
    And novenator, yes, my sentiments exactly. The railways analogy is very apt.

  5. Universal Citizen says...

    There is no harm in asking her though is there….. would she refuse to listen to ‘her people’ on such an important issue , we who have supported and ‘loved’ her for her entire reign …… that wouldn’t go down to well would it ?…. She holds the power for a reason …. so let us support her in using it ……

  6. Universal Citizen says...

    The power to dismiss the Government.

    “Legally, the Queen has the power to dismiss the Government at any time and for any reason or for none. No exercise of this power could be struck down by any court of law. This power was last exercised in the United Kingdom by William IV in 1834, but it remains in place. It was exercised with devastating effect in 1975 in Australia.”………

    Another useful arm hidden up the Royal Sleeve:

    Might it be time to excercise it again, M’aaam? ‘the electorate have no confidence in the present government to ‘govern in the interests of the people’?

  7. Universal Citizen says...

    Cameron is behaving more like a Dictator than a PM in coalition for a Democratic Nation. I have watched him and have serious doubts about his ‘mental ability’ to govern our Country in the ‘interestsof the people’ … perhaps he is projecting the hurt he experienced in losing his son onto the poor, the young and the sick …. and if not then he is just an evil rich boy with no social moral conscience … iether way he is not fit for the job he is being paid to do and should be fired.(in my opinion) If you take away the social equality which a Country’s people have fought for and held precious for generations …. what are you going to get? Civil uprising …. it;s happening all over the World …. is Cameron stupid as well as evily discompassionate? ‘Please remove this Maniac from his seat of power …… Your Majesty’

  8. Universal Citizen says...

    Andy … would you happen to know how to set up a viral petition which could be presented to the Queen? Could you help spread the word that Lizzy is far from ‘just a pretty face’ in her role as Monarch and that she has the powers to stop Camerson in his tracks, if she sees fit.?

    We have to do something … the majority is passionately against the Governments … we can unite and peacefully make ourselves heard … we owe this to our children , our grandparents, ourselves and future generations. ???

  9. Universal Citizen says...

    ps …..I hope have you have got this article on the front page of a National… Everyone needs to read it ….. you’d be surprised at how manyordinary people are ‘in the dark’ about what is really going on ….. (just the way Cameron and his clan want to keep it, of course)

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Universal Citizen. Sadly I don’t know how to petition the Queen. I also don’t know how to get this story onto the front page of any national newspapers. As I have frequently found with Guantanamo over the last six years, a fixation with “objective reporting” on the part of the centre-left mainstream media, instead of ever having a belief in campaigning, only plays into the hands of those wielding the power.

  11. Concerned Academic says...

    May I please second Universal Citizen’s idea to petition The Queen to stop this Bill by using her reserve powers. There is a possible 20th century precedent of a Monarch using his reserve powers to address a constitutional crisis: In the 1910/11 controversy over the People’s Budget / Home Rule For Ireland Bill / Parliament Act, Kings Edward VII and George V insisted on the then Prime Minister appealing to the people, before indicating that they would create a sufficient number of pro-government peers to break the opposition of the House of Lords

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Concerned Academic, for your additional thoughts about petitioning the Queen, and for the information about the controversy a hundred years ago.

  13. Universal Citizen says...

    Yes, it has been a very long time since the Monarchy has had to intervene … which further demonstraes how terrible Cameron is, as a PM … The laws of Constitution still apply, even though they haven’t been used for a while.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I’m digging and sharing this one too. Yesterday a FB friend of mine posted an impassioned and detailed plea to save the NHS. That was about half a day before the LibDem conference. To show others what might happen, I shared it and posted it on four Swedish sites. I hoped it helped ‘raise awareness,’ as one says these days.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. I’m getting a bit jittery about this now. “Raising awareness,” as you note, is all well and good, but there should be a million people bringing London to a halt in the next week, and we don’t seem to have figured that out. I don’t want this lot voted out because they destroyed the NHS; I want them voted out because they wanted to, but it seems like it’s almost too late for that.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Now I see what you meant by ‘all well and good.’ Yes, they should be voted out because they *wanted* to destroy the NHS. Whether or not they succeed, they are bad-intentioned and hence not fit to govern a country with good intentions towards its populace (or the EU). By ‘raising awareness’ I meant making as many people fully conscious of what is happening. For without that, adequately directed and well-planned, organised action is nearly impossible. So if we lose this time, many might well do a better job next time. BTW, Lisa Nilsson got that Cancer article above from me. I posted it at several places, since Lisa and others are enraged at exactly similar cruelties here in Sweden. Today my tactic worked. Briefly, one post of that article was picked up by two of Sweden’s most important labour union workers. A long thread resulted with comments by these people’s friends and colleagues, including one friend of mine. I was delighted but kept off the thread. If this raises awareness here one bit, I’ll be a happy fellow.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    I think it’s fair to say that your contributions, and your conversations, are helping to spread the word, George. You are exactly right about the importance of “raising awareness,” without which there can be no constructive action, and I hope I didn’t sound disparaging. I know that all we can do is speak out about what is wrong, and why our supposedly elected leaders are unfit to represent us, and to accept that, even if we only make a few people think, we are going in the right direction. Eventually we may see significant political change, with people no longer wiling to vote at all for politicians who do not have their interests at heart, and are only motivated by money and power.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Thanks Andy. You got my point. It’s necessary, I don’t expect to live long enough to see many good results, but can do nothing else.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    We never know how long we have, George. It’s almost a year since I was hospitalized, and over a year since my father died, all of which was rather a seismic change. I think of you and your health often, and wish you the very best.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I’m sorry to hear about your father, Andy. Sometime in June my treatment of 3 years 7 months will be finished. Then we’ll see what happens. So far so good, and I shall only return to the Netherlands to see two people. The help I received here was excellent. Thanks for your wishes. If anyone you know needs good treatment, they can get that here. So do let me know.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. I think only those who have really needed serious medical assistance understand the importance of making it as freely available as possible to as many people as possible. I really hope what we’re fighting for across the EU will end up as a defeat for those who would place profit before patient care. Otherwise, the world will be a much darker place, as my American friends can explain.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    That’s right. Some people think I might be a bit wild, since I don’t stick to writing about any one country. But on the otrher hand I see too many people around here and in the Netherlands who haven’t a clue as to what is going on. They blame it all on their cruel, unempathetic, whatever politicos solely.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Forgetting that the global march of unfettered capitalism over the last 33 years has made all regional leaders suspect, as they discard their own voters in favour of anyone — anyone! — with lots of money, or lots of resources to exploit.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Well, for example, the once-excellent Swedish Chemists’ monopoly, a state-owned, no profit group, was privatised on 1 Jan 2010. It was broken up into about 5 separate firms, about three of which are British and Finnish. They are no more expensive then before (with exceptions), which means that their income becomes partly profit, which leaves the country. Few know that this has happened, and some who do don’t realise the consequences.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for that, George. Living in the UK, where successive governments since Thatcher have taken pride in selling out to foreign investors, that problem of capital flight has long bothered me, but, as with your example, few people seem to care.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    here it’s almost only mentioned on critical blogs, and sometimes a tiny bit on the non-commercial radio, very early in the morning. Selling out is the exact phrase.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    And in the meantime, everyone else has driven to the mall, where, in exchange for keeping their minds firmly shut, as the muzak washes over them, they get cheap electrical goods, and super-cheap clothes, and overpriced but — whoo hoo! — cool branded trainers. At least you’re not in London, George, where we’re about to get an orgy of that, masquerading as a sporting event — the Olympics — with, of course, the blank cheque running into billions for the all-important “security.” I get queasy just thinking about it.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    But according to David Cameron, I’m not being “patriotic.”

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Andy and friends – if you need a spokesperson to explain the experience of the worst case scenario, if you should lose the NHS, you can call on any homeless person in the US. One of the top reasons for poverty in this country is a severe medical issue within a family – The most destructive is for one of the main earners to become ill.
    Privatization is signing a death sentence for many people. It will not control the costs of health care but, instead, force them to rise to meet the greed of the profiteers.
    We have 45,000 dying every year in the US because of their inability to access health care

    http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/uninsured/publications/dying-for-coverage.html

    You must save the NHS in order to save lives

    Good luck to you – I hope you can (by the way, your PM is sitting with obama right now…I have to wonder if he is getting more tips on how to con the people while removing their rights)

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan, for recognising the importance of the NHS, and for that link to the terrible truth about deaths in the US. As we have discussed before, we should be exporting the NHS model to the US, and not importing the US model to the UK.
    As for Cameron with Obama, he looks like as much of an uncomfortable, idiotic public schoolboy as Blair did with Bush, but whereas Blair looked like the sidekick to Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Cameron looks like the whey-faced fool who’s out of his depth on a night out with suave Barry Obama and his Brat Pack chums. Very unedifying.

  31. Universal Citizen says...

    1. Andy … It’s not that the people don’t care …. it is that they are deliberately uninformed …. and they believe they are powerless … If Cameron gets his way we will be … I saw a prog. last night which seemed a lot like government propaganda aimed at convincing the ‘uniformed’ that the European Convention on Human Rights serves no purpose in the UK other than to allow ‘nasty foreign people to perform various atrocities and get away with it’ ….. A quick look at the booklet containing the Articles (which I , at the age of 50 have never seen a copy of before) highlighted that Cameron is breaching the British people’s human rights on at least two of the Articles … It is no wonder he is trying to convince us all that getting out of from under the thumb of Europe is what we all want …. Since the European Court of Human Rights can be used by the people to protect us from our own Government …. and frankly….we NEED that protection.
    ‘ (by the way, your PM is sitting with Obama right now…I have to wonder if he is getting more tips on how to con the people while removing their rights)’
    He doesn’t need any tips on how to do that, the weasel is a master at it!!!
    Keep spreading the word guys …. people need to realise that ‘apathy’ is not the answer.

  32. Universal Citizen says...

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/signup these people look pretty effective ( :

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Universal Citizen. I agree that people are deliberately uninformed, and I also agree that many people feel that they are powerless, but I can’t entirely sympathise with either of those points of view. People can inform themselves, if they have inquiring minds. All it takes is to check out a few varying points of view. And people can campaign — 38 Degrees being a good example — and also protest; the Poll Tax being an example of an unjust law overturned through popular rebellion.

    However, I agree that there is dangerous government propaganda, and many outlets for it in the right-wing press, and the furore over the ECHR is a good example of this — although I do believe that it’s just a lot of noise, intended to poison people’s minds, and not a policy, however much some ministers might like it to be, as the ECHR is not an optional add-on when it comes to EU membership, so to scrap it we would have to leave the EU — and I really don’t think we’ll be doing that.

    I particularly like your closing words — apathy is definitely not the answer, but it is, above all, what allows our elected leaders to get away with crimes against their own people time and time again, allowing them to believe that they actually serve corporate interests, and not us.

  34. Universal Citizen says...

    Hi Andy,

    I agree with much of what you are saying here …. as, I am pretty certain, thousands of other’s would … I hope you find a way to post to a wider audience.

    It concerns me that the intention is to poison peoples minds … that is what this Government does … it poisons the minds of the electorate with a ‘smoke screen’ of propaganda …. which encourages us to think that the relevant changes they make are in our best interests … but the real reasons for their actions are hidden from view and don’t emerge until it’s too late for us to object. Take workfare for example … we hear a lot of talk about the ‘lazy youth sitting at home on the sofa , only getting up to cash his Unemployment Benefit’ …. and people listen to this and think ‘Disgusting …. lazy toads, should be forced to go out and work’ ….. but what these same people do not realise is that unemployment benefit for people between 16 and 24 is £53.00 per week …. that would amount to less than 10 hours work at minimum wage and yet this Government’s ‘Workfare’ scheme forces the unemployed youth to work way beyond 10 hours for no further remuneration … which is actually a breach of

    ARTICLE 4 of the ECHR:
    Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
    1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
    2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory
    labour.
    What the unemployed youth of our Country need are real job opportunities not punishment and degradation. What is Cameron doing about that? He and his Clan are disbanding all the measures which the last Government put in place, which were designed to help our youngsters foster a belief that they could work towards a decent living standard.

    I have teenagers … they and their friends are sinking in despair.

    I do have sympathy for the deliberately uninformed/misguided …. because I have been one of them for years …. too busy trying to bring up a family and make ends meet to dig into ‘what is really going on’ … and content to let the powers that be get on with it …… however, this current Government’s assault on what I have always ‘believed’ to be, least a fair attempt at building and increasing, our Country’s ‘social equality’ has got me angry enough to investigate … and the more I see the less I like ….. I know that many people are too scared to look , because they believe they can do nothing anyway so they’d rather ice a cup-cake or join a knitting club…. than fight for each other’s rights ….. Makes me fizz … Emily Pankhurst did not chain herself to the railings so that future generations of women could bury themselves in pretty pink frosting when the going gets tough! ……

  35. Universal Citizen says...

    n.b. on further reflection the ‘cup cake and knitted children’ brigade are probably as unaware of what is really going on as I was when raisng a young family … so that comment may be a little unfair on them. I guess the rest of us will have to fight on thier behalf .

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Universal Citizen. I like your reflections on what’s happening, and what you’ve been discovering by peeking below the surface. People need to know that this neoliberal cabal are desperate to create new profits out of all that’s left after the outsourcing of the 1980s/90s and the financial crimes of the 1990s/2000s — yes, the remnants of the state itself.
    This blog gets a pretty good readership — part of a number of well-read blogs tackling the current injustices. Perhaps I should approach the Guardian again (I used to write pretty regularly for Comment is free in 2008 and 2009, mostly on Labour’s draconian anti-terror policies in the UK), to try and reach out to a new audience, but then again I know that new readers are finding me anyway. We’ll see …

  37. universalcitizen says...

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/last_chance_to_save_the_nhs/?aQWJUcb

    Hi Andy …. I would support you in your thoughts to re-approach the Guardian …. we need people like you to tell the truth about what is going on in the world…our world.

    Have you seen these people (link above) I found them yesterday …. a global network of human beings doing what they believe is right in the interstests others …… hoorah ….. things are changing.
    Also I read that some very influential people in the NHS are getting ready to petition the Queen to stop the Bill look up : liberalconspiracy,org …

    I do sometimes wonder though if some of these sites claiming to act in our favour are actually planted by the Gov. in order to soak up the peoples discontent and make them ‘believe’ they are joining in ‘the fight’ against whatever issue is being discussed …… how would we know which ones are authentic?

    Hope to see you on the pages of the Guardian ….. take good care of yourself x

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks. You take care too. I was interested to see that the Guardian has a 12-page section today on the NHS, with 100 different employees, from the very top of the organisation to those whose opinions are rarely sought, discussing their thoughts and feelings about the NHS, and Lansley’s wretched bill. It’s online here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/interactive/2012/mar/15/nhs-reforms-100-voices-interactive

  39. Alex Ashman says...

    You might just be interested in https://www.facebook.com/NationalHealthActionParty

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Alex. Yes, very interesting.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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The Guantánamo Files

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The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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