Stand by our NHS

NHS-Kevin-Maguire-cartoon
Today marks the start of ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ campaign by unions, lead valiantly by our under appreciated NHS staff who today took the unwanted decision to strike.

This morning for the first time in 30 years we will see paramedics, nurses, midwives and doctors take strike action for 4 hours as Westminster deemed our NHS staff not to be worthy of the below inflation public sector pay rise of 1%. This comes at a time when reports have shown that, despite living in a time of relative economic prosperity, wage repression today is on par with Victorian times. The NHS stand out in the cold, wind and rain begging for something that should have been given whilst David Cameron, George Osborne and the rest of the MPs complicit in this structured dismantling of public services gorge themselves in the warmth at Westminster. They should stand disgraced.

Pay is not the only Victorian social ill we have today as we are also witnessing the return of rickets in our children through malnourishment. A damning consequence of the ideological austerity running throughout this country.

In the last week I spoke with a care nurse who explained in-depth the lengths with which management teams were going to discourage workers from engaging in their lawful right to withdraw their labour. They have been told that they cannot picket, cannot walk with placards, with other carefully worded emails all designed to scare the workforce. Clear examples of corporate level bullying and harassment that we have come across and been made aware of throughout a number of professions on a much more frequent basis than you would imagine.

The clear agenda behind wage repression within the public sector is the desire to privatise it. Two key barriers to privatisation are staff terms and conditions and pension liabilities. This comes directly from a government think tank on outsourcing and privatisation and it is something we should all be very concerned about.

When we discuss privatisation of our health care we automatically think of the American system but we do not have to go as far as that to find alarming examples. In Ireland they do not have a national health service and a recent trip there highlighted to me just how dangerous the privatisation of our NHS will be to us. An average 2.4 children family explained how it cost €100 to go to A&E without a referral from your GP, it costs €50 to see your GP and you must have medical cover if you wish to see your GP in the same calendar year and that costs €2000 a year for the four of them. I was shocked. In my ignorance I had just assumed that the NHS was a model adopted by the Irish and makes me all the more concerned about the future of the NHS for today’s children. They will be the ones left paying the price for our inaction.

So today’s strike is an important step in the future fight against privatisation which is already on our doorstep, if they break the NHS staffs resolve over a 1% pay rise then all else will be given. If they think that the people who depend on the NHS do not care then the attacks will be relentless until their resolve is broken. It is not just their fight today, it is all of our fight. The NHS saved our lives at our births and will fight for us time and again between now and when we die. The least we can do is #StandByOurNHS in its hour of need.

To vote, or not to vote: You have a greater choice in breakfast cereal than in your political spectrum

This morning the BBC took its place alongside the government propaganda machine in encouraging the young to go out and vote at the next election, with an estimated 800000 young voters (age 18-21) missing from the electoral register. Ministers are allegedly concerned that further changes to the voting system will affect the integrity of the electoral system, as if the entire political systems integrity has not already been compromised. To challenge this a new initiative is being pushed out to highlight the importance of voting to youngsters and they continue to pour scorn on Russell Brand’s views in the meantime.

The young adults are given topics to discuss such as whether the £9bn spent on the 2012 Olympics was money well spent and what their views are on capital punishment. Following lengthy debate, their votes are cast on each subject. Topics such as these are used as a means to engage young minds in topics that may interest them, rather than to leave them at the mercy of a stuffy politician that has already been undermined by expenses scandals and their upcoming pay hike during a time of severe austerity.

The group is then split to reflect the percentage of 18-21 year olds that are currently registered nationally to vote, with the rest indicating the percentage of the unregistered. The results of the entire groups votes on capital punishment are revealed (with the majority stating that they opposed it) but that this was not necessarily reflected within the sample group of people eligible to vote. The moral of the story being that the minority are deciding for the majority. This much is true but not in the essence in which the group nor the BBC are reporting it. There is a minority group of people influencing the lives of the majority but it is not the handful of people who are voting, it is the suits in the corridors of corruption in parliament, their lobbyist friends, banks, big business, big pharma and the military industrial complex. One such example of this being jolly George Osborne’s best man’s Hedge Fund company, who made a hefty profit from the recent privatisation of the Royal Mail after they bought £50m shares prior to its sale.

Another example of democracy not working in your favour were the recent cuts to the London Fire Brigades frontline services, something that both the Prime Minister and London Mayor pledged to protect, yet when it came to it, they have cut over 1200 jobs in just over 4 years nationwide, whilst the Mayor perversely claims that Londoners will be safer despite the closures of 10 stations and the loss of almost 600 jobs. This came despite both Londoners and the London Assembly voting against the cuts at every avenue throughout the supposed consultation process. 

Funny-Boris

The thing about democracy and voting is that if it changed anything, they would not let you do it, hence the gagging law that has been passed recently in parliament. This is a truth that seems to have escaped most because we get a long with our daily lives without looking any deeper than the information that is put to us at regular daily intervals. The role of the Trade Unions in the 21st century are perhaps another such an example. It could be argued that since the days of Thatcher and the miners strikes in the 1980’s, trade unions are now largely accepted by both government and employers because they have managed to change the laws enough to neuter any real influence they can have over any given argument, such are the anti-trade union laws and the establishment have also conducted a relatively good job in convincing workers that they do not matter (which could not be any further from the truth). In some countries unions are outright banned and if they dare to start, agitate or be involved in union activities it can and does result in a murky death, Are such groups then only allowed in the UK because the establishment believes they have watered down their rights just enough to prevent whole scale challenge to their draconian rules?

The media and the politicians are desperately crawling around to encourage people to vote in 2015 because I think they have figured out that a disenfranchised electorate, who refuses to comply by the rules of a game that the system created and are in charge of, by going to the ballot box when told, are the ones with the right to stand up and shout about what is going on around them and to them and that poses the system a real problem in the future. By voting you legitimising the economic violence being waged upon you, the poor and working poor daily because that is what you chose. The difference between all parties at present is only in the colour of their badge, their policies closely match and all we are left with is the illusion of choice. Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher were interested in winning the population contest but not so our current pithy leaders, because there is nothing to choose between them. Let us not forget that the largest transference of economic wealth, from the poor to the rich, took place on Labour’s watch with the bailout, something like £1.2 something something trillion (the figure is astronomical) and the Tories are playing the same tune. The LibDems are just looking for some mates. Do not forget that the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ favourite line for sometime has been that the cuts are “too far, too quick” and so to the other Ed (Miliband) when he addressed the million people in Hyde Park on March 26th 2011 telling them the same thing. Not one of these parties wants to address the fact that between them and the maverick bankers in the city of corruption, they have squandered more money than there is in circulation to basically satisfy the gambling needs of power addicts and this majority do a disservice to the handful of women and men in parliament who might do the right thing given half a chance, if they were not marginalised on behalf of the business elite. 

Until such times as there is a real choice to be made between our political parties and true democracy is allowed for the people, no one can be blamed from abstaining and carrying on the fight for direct democracy.

 

Malc-X-DemocracyThe-illusion-of-free-choice

 

 

http://tompride.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/boris-johnson-to-close-3-fire-stations-that-sent-engines-to-the-apollo-theatre/