Archives for posts with tag: Aneurin Bevan

keithandjeremy

Have you noticed how alike Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach are? Both are somewhat reticent, unassuming people, plain speaking, with no airs and graces and utterly lacking in pomposity. That said, it would be a grave mistake to think of either man as weak, they are both robust in their views and deeply experienced in their chosen courses in life.

In a world dominated by the culture of celebrity, in which the desire to be famous is more important than having anything of substance to offer, what the world needs more than ever is substance, a three course home cooked meal instead of a take-out burger and fries.

One of the accusations against Corbyn is that he is not Prime Minister material and I wonder what that means? Perhaps David Cameron and Theresa May might look like Prime Minister material (if you like that sort of thing), but that is about as far as it goes, form without substance.

I met Jeremy in Plymouth at one of his leadership rallies, the quiet man who was taking the country by storm, something he has now very successfully done twice to become leader of the Labour party with the kind of majority most politicians can only dream of. He was in a small back hall with the toilet facilities just behind, for those of us for whom quick access has become a necessity, and he seemed rather shy, tolerant of the attention, but not seeking it. The kind of guy who would rather do the job and leave the attention to others. And I think therein lies much of what draws people to him, he’s the quiet interesting one, without flamboyance or sham.

Looking back and the picture I have with him, I feel that we were both somewhat shy and, of course, strangers, but for this stranger, I was pleased to meet him and, despite that he had a room full of hundreds of people waiting for him, glad he took the time to say hello and have our picture taken.

When he came on stage, he greeted those on the platform warmly, in no way playing to the crowd, and nothing of the big ‘I am’ about him. He began his speech my thanking all those who had made the meeting possible, including the volunteers without whom it simply wouldn’t and couldn’t have happened.

The ridiculous term, Corbynistas, used to denigrate and dismiss both Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him, is a fatuous term which deliberately and wilfully attempts to undermine the warmth and engagement that so unassuming a man inspires. To use the expression from the ‘Last Leg’, he’s not a dick, something that cannot be said about many of his detractors.

This is a guy who rides a bike, loves his allotment, does not seek the limelight for its own sake, and yet at 67 years old manages to be an MP with all its attendant duties, be leader of the Labour party, and even more attendant duties, and attend protests and rallies the length and breadth of Britain. I am 66 and how he does it I will never know. I used to barely manage a letter a day to number 10, kinda gives you a perspective don’t it?

What this country needs is not a leader but an enabler and we need policies not posturing. Both Cameron and May had/have the pretensions of leadership and think much of themselves whilst delivering misery on an epic scale. What we need now is to get our country back on its feet, that cannot come from one man, just as the NHS did not just come from Aneurin Bevan, he was the enabler, the people delivered and have been delivering ever since, even whilst it is being stolen from us. We need a team player and a doer, not grandiosity, empty bombastic pronouncements and the exclusivity of privilege and greed. We need someone who is more comfortable with his sleeves rolled up than wearing a Savile Row suit costing several grand as Cameron did, someone who is at home with dirt under his finger nails, and yet is smart without pretension when the job requires it.

That may not suit those who seek power for powers sake, and sell us down the river, but that’s what I want as an ordinary bloke, a voter, and someone who believes in democracy, not demagoguery.

And that’s why I’ll be voting Labour on June 8th.

KOG. 25 April 2017

15_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,494

Friday 15 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Your cabinet… It’s almost too unbearably funny in a totally mad way. A line up of millionaires all for little ol’ working class us. How sweet.

Cuddly Mr Hammond, dappy Lizzie for justice, Amber the banker vulture capitalist, nuke ’em Fallon, Foxy for international trade and arms deals. Priceless. We’re stuck with Hunt I see, still Britain’s most infamous typographical error. But the icing on the cake really is BoJo the friend of ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ Johnson as foreign secretary. Genius, just genius. He’s sure to make Brexit a laugh a minute, that’s if he doesn’t manage to single handedly kick off WWIII.

I note you’ve dismissed holding a general election given the majority gained a year ago. Is that despite the ongoing investigations into Tory election fraud or are you just hoping to bury that for good?

I don’t want to give you too much of a hard time before you get your feet firmly under the table at number 10, but let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as a cuddly Tory, so whatever you’ve promised prior to your coronation must be taken with a pinch of salt. Let’s not forget that David Cameron pledged to cut the deficit and not the NHS and our NHS now in ribbons and the man responsible for cutting it to ribbons has been kept on as health secretary under your leadership. I’m not sure whether to call it cynicism or realism, but declaring yourself a friend of the working class requires a stretch in credulity which unfortunately I am unable to manage.

The Parliamentary Labour Party are now facing the same problem, they want to pretend they are the real Labour deal, despite doing everything to stab the democratically elected leader of the party in the back repeatedly. They are accused of being Tory lite, but even the betrayal of Margaret Thatcher pales into insignificance compared with what Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to endure. I’m sure you’ve followed it avidly as they might just as well have rolled out the red carpet for you. But I do appreciate the problem he represents, honest politics is so Aneurin Bevan, Dennis Skinner and Tony Benn. Their appeal is horribly working class.

Who’d want to be working class anyway? We’re all knuckle dragging, bigoted, racists. It’s almost worse than being disabled and taking up wheel chair space. Yeesh…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36785814

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2008/jan/23/london.race

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36772359

http://www.channel4.com/news/new-expenses-scandal-emerges-as-tories-fight-police-in-court

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-left-nhs-ruins-3510436

22_june_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,471

Wednesday 22 June 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The one thing I can say about the EU referendum and the Tory campaign is that it has been run by the fantastically corrupt for the fantastically corrupt.

I have never witnessed a more brutally corrupt campaign which has sowed discord and confusion at every step of the way.

Ipsos MORI found that 47 per cent of the public believe the claim that we pay £350 million a week to the European Union. Why would they not? It is a lie that has been ruthlessly promoted with malicious intent.

I saw some clips of you in a TV studio facing the public. What boggles my mind is that people would actually go to such an event, sit docilely in seats and ask you questions as if anything you say will be of any value to them whatsoever.

In America snake oil salesmen used to go around the country preying on folks with their magic elixirs of life. In Britain people will happily attend a TV event to participate in the same sort of flannel from politicians who not only have a vested interest in lying but have a proven track record. Isn’t that so, Mr no more top down reorganisations of the NHS?

Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Priti Patel all claim that money saved from EU membership can be spent on the NHS. These are Tory policy decisions that are not in the remit of any of those politicians and I have heard no such commitment from you, Jeremy Hunt or George Osborne in the event of a majority vote for Britain’s exit. As such these ‘suggestions’ do not represent real term benefits, they are mere speculation against the facts over the last six years which show that the break up and privatisation of the NHS is inevitable due to Tory policy and a deliberate starvation of funds.

The reality is that Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, have launched their ‘Footprints’ plan which will close services and sell off NHS land and hospitals which, unless we fight them tooth and nail, will happen regardless of the EU result. Part of that plan is to reduce the number of A&E departments from 144 A&E departments in England (2013 figure) to only 40-70. This is social vandalism by stealth on a grand scale for which you have absolutely no political mandate.

I can do no better than repeat the words of Aneurin Bevan in 1956 for today, you Tories have “besmirched the name of Britain. You have made us ashamed of the things of which formerly we were proud. You have offended against every principle of decency and there is only one way in which you can even begin to restore your tarnished reputation and that is to get out! Get out! Get out!”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nearly-half-of-britons-believe-vote-leaves-false-350-million-a-week-to-the-eu-claim-a7085016.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/14/eu-referendum-spend-brussels-billions-on-nhs-instead-boris-johns/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36523764

The NHS is being deliberately starved of funds, and this proves it

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/deborah-harrington-madeleine-dickens-and-caroline-molloy/hunt-and-stevens-leaving-their-dirty

http://nhap.org/are-we-really-going-to-lose-more-than-half-our-aes-in-england/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/03/02/michael-sheen-nhs-cuts-speech_n_6783056.html

http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/02/aneurin-bevan-1956-speech

24_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,443

Tuesday 24 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Throughout the history of the world it has never been the many against the few, it has always been the few against the many and so far they have been astonishingly successful.

They, that elusive ‘powers that be’, control everything, the militia, policing, policy, the media, currency, laws, the markets, hierarchy, sovereignty and wealth.

In a nation in which hierarchy has dominated for centuries, it is almost futile to attempt to challenge the overwhelming deference towards such a system and the party which best represents and embodies the overwhelming power of privilege – the Conservatives party.

Conservatives have always been the party that least represents the lives and concerns of ordinary people, put simply, voting Conservative (Tory) is like Turkeys voting for Christmas. Your continuing success in securing what is known as ‘the deferential vote’ is locked into the presumed legitimacy of hierarchical power and there is no better example of this than the adoration of royalty which can see tens of thousands of flag waving people lining the streets worshipping at the feet of privilege.

Your orchestration of the privatisation of our NHS is the most shocking, tragic, heinous abuse of the British people. The NHS, universal health care for all, funded by the people and free at the point of use, is the greatest achievement for the people, built and maintained by the people, in this nations history. Out of the ashes of war, we truly built a nation fit for heroes, a nation to be proud of.

Social policy by Tories is steeped against ordinary people, poverty under Conservatives is a political given and his own privations in early life led Aneurin Bevan to make his famous statement, “no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me”.

And here we are today, poverty once again out of control, our NHS being stolen from us, the poor being hounded to death and whilst a petition to save BBC recipes can attract 195,178 supporters in mere days and garner a response, 700,700 signatories to save our NHS across 650 local campaigns are ignored. Robbing the health of the poor for profit is an appalling act of the worst kind of social vandalism, sustained by lies and deception. That you are getting away with it is a triumph of institutionalised ignorance. Such ignorance, like poverty, is not the fault of its victims but of the system that creates and maintains it for its own nefarious purposes. Educating for ignorance is just another dirty Tory game as Gove and his rote learning so ably demonstrated.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/the-birth-of-the-nhs-856091.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/david-cameron_b_1621999.html

http://www.theguardian.com/news/1948/jul/05/leadersandreply.mainsection

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-save-the-bbc-s-recipe-archive

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/efforts/save-our-nhs/near/new

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3f63-NHS-reformed-again#.V0MKWeSzzc4

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/graham-peebles/austerity-and-rise-of-poverty-in-britain

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/nov/14/michael-gove-backs-learning-by-rote

26_november_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,267

Thursday 26 November 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I grew up in the Hippie era. Despite what some may think hippies were not just a bunch of loose moraled, loose brained, hedonists, although hedonism was very much a necessary and vital part it, but it was also intelligent, engaged and profoundly political. Many older activists today have their roots precisely in the great awakening that was such a vital part of what being a hippie was all about.

Flower power came about as a direct response and challenge to guns and bombs and the military industrial complex. Today ‘CND’ and ‘ban the bomb’ may sound like cliches, but they never were and nor are they now. CND stood for ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’ and ‘ban the bomb’ meant very specifically the ‘nuclear bomb’. Hippie opposition to and protest against the Vietnam war was profoundly influential in changing attitudes to war and a direct challenge to the hype of patriotic fervour.

Everything about the hippie movement was experimental, sex, drugs, music, politics, culture, dress, attitude, psychology, personal perception, mind itself. It was a great melting pot of cultural shift and change and that change was and always has been for the better. It wasn’t all sweetness and light, nothing that big can ever be easy and there were many casualties along the way which really just adds to the profoundness of that time and subsequent events.

It may seem odd then to turn to the subject of tax credit cuts in this letter, but Osborne’s seeming U-turn on tax credits needs some grounding because another issue that came out of the hippie era was people who play mind games; those who take pleasure in twisting people’s minds, especially whilst on drugs. There is a great deal of triumphalism over Osborne’s U-turn, but he announced he’d ‘used a £27 billion windfall from higher tax receipts and lower interest payments to dump the cuts’ as if they had magically appeared that morning through the Play School Round Window.

He could have backed off any time in the preceding weeks, stepping in and relieving the fear and distress of those who were terrified of the future under his economic mismanagement, but he played it to the end to his immense shame. My response to his announcement was to walk away from the broadcast because in that moment, old hippie peacenik that I am, I wanted to rip his and your complacent faces off and I have better things to do than listen to a liar and a manipulating propagandist playing with peoples heads for cheap political gain. In all my life I have never met lower creatures than Tories, Aneurin Bevan got it dead right.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/11/25/story_n_8646322.html?ncid=fcbklnkukhpmg00000001

17_september_2015Jeremy Corbyn
10 Melton St
London
NW1 2EJ

17 September 2015

Dear Jeremy,

I hope you will forgive the familiarity, but as it’s something you’ve created, I’ll let you off. You’ve done something that is only rivalled by the founding of the NHS and the Welfare State which demanded so much courage and strength from Aneurin Bevan and the Attlee government.

They created the greatest advancement in the world for an inclusive society in which no one was to fall through the net, but had a right to health and help at the point of need.

I am a post war child, one of the victory celebrations in an austere world still on rations, and have, throughout my life, enjoyed good health care in every way. The best in the world as far as I know.

I doubt you can possibly remember it, but for me it was a great pleasure to meet you in Plymouth and to shake your hand and to have a picture taken with you outside the mens toilets. Sorry about that. Blame it on good friends and the exigencies of old age.

I don’t want to detract from your policies, which are what got us all out there, but it also took the man, and you are, inescapably, that man. I know you are a modest man who looked very tired to me in Plymouth, and have taken on a mammoth task to lead the Labour party and I unashamedly wept buckets of tears when you gained that unenviable position.

I am sorry that you and your family have taken and continue to take a beating from a disgraceful media and political opponents, but I was glad and proud to see you take the front bench of our Labour party, for the people, by the people. You have a democratic mandate of love and affection for an honest man in politics for policies of sense and reason.

As Owen Jones has repeatedly said, you can’t do it alone. It’s a tough job, but I whole heartedly believe you are the man for the job and you have my unstinting support and I thank you for your dedication and purpose to be the leader of this country for better.

Thank you for inspiring hope,

28_july_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,161

Tuesday 28 July 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

In 2011 Iain Duncan Smith said it was a ‘sin’ if people failed to take up available jobs. He went further saying that if people were ready for work and if they have a job offer, they should take that work. In 2013 George Osborne described ‘new conditions on unemployment benefits as tough love, saying it would ensure there was “no option of doing nothing” for welfare payments’.

The problem with this extreme right wing authoritarian conservatism is that it strips people of every shred of humanity, treating people like cattle to be prodded and forced into obedience by the rampant paternalism of the state. It is small wonder that Jeremy Corbyn has hit the nation like a breath of fresh air, far from being the a relic of the old left, he is the voice of reason and progressive, humane, politics the nation has been crying out for. Small wonder the right is having hysterics, Corbyn throws the extremism of the right into stark relief revealing it in all its heartless brutality.

Of course it is not just unemployment benefits  and job seekers who are being attacked. Sick and disabled people are also under the axe, since Unum, the discredited American Insurance company, fraudulently branded sickness and disability as ‘malingering’, lapped up by Lord Freud and IDS who believes, with no hint of irony to the sign over the death camps of Auswitz, that disabled people would be made free by working. In 2005, after many successful legal cases brought against Unum, ‘California Department of Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi, stated: ‘Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that has operated in an illegal fashion for years.’

It was Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS, who said, “Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.”

If any sin is being committed it is against the people of Britain by your government. Osborne, a man raised with every privilege and advantage in life, talking about tough love for people on benefits is an insult to intelligence and humanity. He has not the slightest idea what he’s talking about any more than he does on the economy.

Official advisers to Iain Duncan Smith have called for an ‘urgent and robust review’ of his ‘benefit sanctions regime’, concerned that it is ‘failing to help jobless claimants’. As necessary as that is, it is Smith himself who should be under urgent and robust review and extremely rapid and ignominious idsexit.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/nov/11/welfare-iain-duncan-smith

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/30/george-osborne-jobless-benefit-conservatives

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24328330

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/in-search-of-the-real-jeremy-corbyn–the-man-threatening-to-wrench-labour-to-the-left-10397997.html

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-date/from-the-british-welfare-state.html

http://socialistreview.org.uk/350/work-makes-you-free

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/26/benefit-sanctions-review-urged-amid-concern-over-regimes-effectiveness

03_march_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,017

Tuesday 03 March 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I would like you to point out to me where and when in any court in Britain a judgement was made against anyone found guilty of any crime, misdemeanour or minor misbehaviour where they were deprived of food and/or shelter.

Maybe, if that presents too much of a challenge, you might restrict the search to those with any form of disability who have been deprived of the meanest basics of food and shelter.

Don’t bother looking, you won’t find the data, because no court in the land has ever done such a thing, nor, it is to be fervently hoped, ever would.

It has fallen to a very specific and particular criminal class to unleash such an atrocity on the poorest and most vulnerable people in Britain between 2010 and 2015 and who consider this inhuman practice as part of ‘extra help’ to find work. The Tories.

You have instigated a regime of punishment harsher than anything handed out by the judicial system in this country and you are doing this without warrant, arrest, trial or defence, denying people the right of habeas corpus (to present their body before a court) and are also planning to charge claimants who wish to challenge this criminality in court. Officials say the “introduction of a charge for people making appeals against [DWP] decisions to social security tribunals” would raise money. Really? Attempting to extort money from those driven to destitution, heaping injustice on injustice!

Given that MPs can pretty much get away with anything, cash for access, bribes from lobbyists, failure to declare an interest, expenses scandals, lying to the public, arbitrary secret trial by the DWP and Jobcentres, your treatment of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country is the vilest discrimination for which people are paying with their lives.

The sheer scale of vindictive criminality you and your government are responsible for is mind blowing, as far as I am concerned you Tories are a cancerous parasitical breed with no redeeming qualities. Aneurin Bevan said at the Manchester Labour rally 4 July 1948, “So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin”, and if there has been any change it is that you’ve grown infinitely worse. This country has no chance of recovery until the day you are removed from office to face criminal charges. Gisela Stuart MP has said that Labour shouldn’t rule out forming a ‘grand coalition’ with the Tories, well damn them if they do, they can fall on the same sword.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/100000-children-left-starving-result-5255846

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/how-benefit-sanctions-punish-people-5005786

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2717-dwp-target-mental-health-claimants-for-esa-sanctions

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28776102

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/dwp-housing-benefit-will-be-sanctioned/7002330.article

http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/20/people-stripped-benefits-charged-decision

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/investigations/11411007/Jack-Straw-and-Sir-Malcolm-Rifkind-in-latest-cash-for-access-scandal.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/tory-backbench-mp-jacob-reesmogg-failed-to-declare-interests-9923362.html

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/pre-election-pledges-tories-are-trying-wipe-internet

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/02/grieving-relative-confronts-dwp-minister-esther-mcvey-after-benefit-sanctions

http://labourlist.org/2015/03/labour-mp-says-party-shouldnt-rule-out-a-grand-coalition-with-the-tories/

01_january_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 961

Thursday 01 January 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It’s January 1st 2015, 70 years since the end of WWII. One of the things that occurred after the war was a certain amount of bedroom activity/celebration leading to a baby boom, hardly surprising or even unexpected after such a harrowing event which cost so many lives.

Thanks to the most enlightened government this country has ever seen, three years after the war saw the founding of the NHS. I am unsure of all the motivating factors behind this visionary move, but I’d like to think that it was in part in gratitude to the sacrifices made by the ordinary people of this country who prevented the might of Hitlers Germany from invading these shores.

My mother was a stiff upper lipped, post Victorian woman, a royalist and a deferential voter who voted Tory all her life. Then, as now, such people had little to thank the Tories for, but her dedication to Queen, country, tradition and the nobility was unshakable. I confess I never understood my mother and she never understood me.

The Tories hated and fought against the NHS leading Aneurin Bevan to declare in bitterness and anger, “No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.” Well said that man!

In February 2014 the following was reported by the mirror, “The NHS faces a dramatic funding shortfall due to the ageing population, experts warned today. Spending per patient will have fallen by 9% within four years even if health service cash continues to be protected, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies. That is because two million more over-65s – a 20% rise – will place far more demands on the service.” A now familiar refrain, including from Jeremy Hunt, who had this to say in 2012, “I want to talk today about a great challenge facing our society. A challenge even more serious than the economic crisis, or the debt crisis facing young people.  Potentially even as serious as global warming. I am talking, of course, about our ageing population.”

So called experts and politicians alike failed to consider that the steady marching of the years would lead to the inevitable rise in the aging population we see today. I was one of those post war babies and, call it intuition if you like, even I knew I was going to get old. I did fail to see the economic crisis coming, I’ve had little trust in bankers but I failed to realise that they were as crooked as they turned out to be, but Hunt states that my getting old is a far greater crisis. I put it to you that the man is either an imbecile or a mendacious, lying, privateer who will say anything to hide the fact that he is selling off our NHS by running the publicly owned side into the ground. Why else has George Osborne withheld £30 billion National Insurance money from the NHS in this so called crisis?

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-crisis-ageing-population-mean-3115920

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/14-november-2012-jeremy-hunt-age-uk

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/71-coalition-mps-who-voted-for-nhs-sell-off-linked-to-health-firms/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/george-osborne-should-use-30bn-4762414