Saturday 30 November 2019

Fighting Health Cats

In 2010 Defend the Whittington Coalition (DWC) was set up to stop the closure of the Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care, Maternity and Paediatric departments at the Whittington Hospital, North London. The closures were stopped. Success

In 2013 the DWC campaigned to stop the sell-off of half the hospital, including maternity services. The sell-off was stopped. Success.

More recently Whittington Hospital was told by the government to sell off land and buildings. The Whittington Board offered Ryhurst, a subsidiary of Grenfell ‘refurbishment’ contractors, Rydon, the contract to manage this project. Following another DWC campaign the hospital withdrew the offer. Success.

BUT … Rydon is now suing the hospital for breach of contract. If succesful this will result in the hospital having to pay a fine, from our health monies, to this company. The fight continues - support the Defend Whittington Campaign at Royal Courts of Justice on 9 December.

Throughout these campaigns local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, has played an active and vital role.

On Friday 29 Nov 2019, and in the middle of his busy election campaign, he arrived outside the hospital as part of his continued support.


 Jeremy Corbyn with Ben Gelblum of The London Economic

If you live in North London join with the DWC and defend this hospital. Wherever you live join local campaigns in defence of your hospital and oppose cuts and privatisation of our National Health Service. And for your future health vote Labour on 12 December.

The DWC banner was made by the indomitable Alice Kilroy, who despite serious illness, was there to support her local hospital.

On my way to the hospital for the rally a woman passed by and asked if I was a Labour party member. When I said 'yes' she proceeded to rant about the 'Jews' 'sabotaging' Labour's election chances. I attempted to explain the distinction between 'Judaism' and 'Zionism' Not easily done on a cold November morning when she was heading for her hospital appointment. 

When I got home I read that the Israeli President had joined the UK Chief Rabbi in attacking Jeremy in the name of the UK Jewish 'community'. This is where Zionism takes us. In attempting to stop a socialist government which would recognise Palestine, Zionists increase anti-semitism. The Israeli state is everything to them so I doubt they worry about that. I do as do Labour-voting Jews. One of these is Shirley Franklin, Chair of DWC and, like Alice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn, an indomitable fighter for the NHS. I am proud to stand alongside them in this struggle.


 JC with Shirley Franklin, Chair of DWC and Paul Mackney, ex-Gen Sec of NATFHE, today UCU

Wednesday 27 November 2019

The Crucible re-staged

The Chief Rabbi says Jeremy Corbyn ‘is not fit for high office’, but Boris Johnson is. A Tory says I am a Tory and it’s news?

Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, takes place in 1692 during the Salem witch trials. The play tells the story of a group of young hysterical women who falsely accuse other villagers of witchcraft. The play was written as an allegory during the McCarthy years and the House of Un-American Activities trials in the 1950s. To be accused of being a member of the Communist Party then ensured that jobs, reputations and, for some, their lives, were lost.

It mattered little whether the accusations were true or not. It mattered even less that membership of the CP at that time was evidence of radical political consciousness and not criminal inclination.

In the UK today the accusation of anti-semitism is being used against those who are not anti-semitic. Most of those accused have spent their lives fighting anti-semitism and racism. Heading the list of the “guilty” is Jeremy Corbyn, many Jews and anti-racists. It is surprising that the self-imposed media inquisition has not yet used the words, paraphrased from the McCarthy hearings, “Are you now, or have you ever been, anti-semitic?”

Our Salem trials are an attempt to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister and to cow the rest of us into silence about Boris Johnson’s racism and the real anti-semitism that has always been at the heart of the British political Establishment.

On 26 November 2019 the Daily Mail declared that Jeremy Corbyn ‘dodged apologising over Labour’s ant-semitism crisis.’ That is their version of, ‘Are you now or have you ever been….’ This statement is rich coming from a newspaper which, under ownership of the same family that owned it eighty years ago, supported Hitler and Mussolini. Corbyn has not apologised because he has nothing to apologise for.

My anti-fascism was born when I discovered photos of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp inmates in my father’s desk. He was one of the first Allied medics to enter the camp when it was liberated. It haunted him for the rest of his life, as it also haunted me. Seeing those walking skeletons was my political awakening which later led me to be beaten up by Nazi thugs from the British Movement when selling Peace News. Corbyn has a similar history—his mother fought alongside other Socialists and Jews at the 1936 Battle of Cable Street.

It is an insult to anti-fascists to bring false accusations into this election. As Arthur Miller wrote in The Crucible, “now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”

We have to take away the keys from those children.

The following are articles I have written about anti-semitism and a short video of Miriam Margolyes speaking truth about Israel


Corbyn Must Stand Strong: The Peoples News

Palestinian Right to Return: The Peoples News

Israeli Terror: The Peoples News

Criticising Israel is not Anti-Semitic: The Peoples News

Corbyn is not Anti-Semitic: The Peoples News

Famous Anti-Zionist Jews: Stop the War


Miriam Margolyes


My father in RAMC uniform at the time he went to Bergen-Belsen



Thursday 21 November 2019

Between the Wars. The Labour Party 2019 manifesto


 A shorter version of this blog has been published on The London Economic

In the twenty odd years I have known Jeremy Corbyn he has been consistently reliable, with great integrity, patience and an unassuming manner. He has neither the bombast of a Churchill, nor the slickness of a Blair. But are those the qualities we want in a leader today? Amid all the excitement of policy exchanges, his presentation of a leader for the twenty-first century as someone who is able to listen was possibly the most important point. Add to that Jeremy's capacity to feel the pain of others and to share in the joy of their amelioration and you have a much better model of leadership - one which befits a modern premier much more than the one we have experienced up to now.” Paul Mackney


The game you are supposed to play in British politics is feathering your nest by feathering the nests of others. Those who refuse are denounced in the billionaire press as unfit for government. … I know the Labour party is imperfect, but what I see is a group of people seeking to solve our massive problems – environmental, political, economic, medical and social – rather than appeasing press barons and queueing at the notorious revolving door between politics and money-making." George Monbiot



I am writing this on the day Jeremy Corbyn launched the Labour Party manifesto for the December 2019 election. It is very personal for which no apologies. Some of you know me well enough to know what I think politically. Skip to the song. Some of you know me and don’t like what I think and say. Skip to the song. Some of you don’t know me and will quickly skip to the song. Some of you will read this blog and be conviced by my arguments. Enjoy the song.


Trusting Johnson with the National Heath service, is like letting a python loose with your pet hamster”

former Tory PM John Major


This has now become the most important election of my lifetime. I was alive when the 1945 Atlee government introduced the NHS, but was too busy soiling my nappy to have been conscious of that one.


Until recently I have never been a member of any parliamentary political party. I agreed with Ralph Milliband that Labour was an anti-socialist party and remember attending a trade union demonstration in the 70s and agreeing with the speaker opposing a march to parliament on the grounds of not wanting to disturb the dead. But today I am one of the half a million, mostly new, members of the Labour Party because the Corbyn leadership has returned the party to its socialist roots. To quote Milliband, “In all countries, there are people, in numbers large or small, who are moved by the vision of a new social order in which democracy, egalitarianism and cooperation - the essential values of socialism - would be the prevailing principle of social organization. It is in the growth in their numbers and in the success of their struggles that lies the best hope for humankind.”


This election is beween one guy who doesn’t give a fuck if you died and another who is trying to make sure you don’t die and some people think this is a hard decision” Anon




I am happy to join those who believe that the struggle for a new social order is taking place in this election and that the NHS is taking centre stage in that.

I have now had a few years of close relationship with our health service. I am alive because it is there and well aware of how much I have cost it. If I was living in the USA that cost would now be in excess of £250,000. Here it is free. At least for now. I am also well aware of the importance of its personnel. Who they are, where they come from and the skills that have kept me alive. My brain surgeon (subdural haematoma) was Nigerian, my heart surgeon was Egyptian, my Stroke consultant Glaswegian. Today I count one of my nurses, a Filipino, as a personal friend. This is the public health service I have benefited from and which Jeremy Corbyn defends and argues for.


It’s not just Boris Johnson’s lying. It’s that the media let him get away with it” Peter Oborne, former chief political correspondent, The Daily Telegraph


I appeal to all those still reading this blog to join me and vote for a Corbyn-led Labour government. Your vote on 12 December is as important today as it was to the voters 74 years ago. Indeed your very lives may depend on the result.


"The one statistic that really hits home is that you’ve got four million children living in poverty in the UK and three out of every four of those have got a working parent … The scale of it is extraordinary and the fact is, people are working and still can’t survive .... Boris Johnson is a lout and a bully.” Ken Loach


I am writing this the day after it was reported in The Guardian that The NHS s running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy. As someone who has had to take heart condition drugs my response to that news is tell me why I should not vote Labour? 

Recently Michael Rosen wrote this; “I have a dream that one day I and others will walk hand in hand to the polling station and be able to vote in an election that is about the NHS, education, benefits, wages, climate change … “

On 12 December Michael’s dream becomes reality. We must all make sure that that reality does not leave us living in a nightmare.


It’s Time for Real Change: 2019 Labour Party manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn introducing the 2019 Labour manifesto: “This is a manifesto of hope. A manifesto that will bring real change. A manifesto full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation.

Over the next three weeks, the most powerful people in Britain and their supporters are going to tell you that everything in this manifesto is impossible. That it’s too much for you. Because they don’t want real change. Why would they? The system is working just fine for them. It’s rigged in their favour.

But it’s not working for you. If your wages never seem to go up and your bills never seem to go down, if your public services only seem to get worse, despite the heroic efforts of those who work in them, then it’s not working for you … The US president who led his country out of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt, had to take on the rich and powerful in America to do it. That’s why he said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.” He knew that when you’re serious about real change, those who profit from a rigged system, who squirrel away the wealth created by millions of people, won’t give up without a fight … So I accept the implacable opposition and hostility of the rich and powerful is inevitable ...I accept the opposition of the billionaires because we will make those at the top pay their fair share of tax to help fund world class public services for you. That’s real change .. I accept the hostility of the bad bosses paying poverty pay because we will give Britain a pay rise, starting with a real living wage of at least £10 an hour, including for young workers. That’s real change ...I accept the implacable opposition of the dodgy landlords because we’ll build build a million homes, empower tenants and control rents. That’s real change ...I accept the hostility of the big polluters because we will make sure they pay their fair share of the costs of their destruction, create huge numbers of climate jobs and build the healthy, green economy of the future. That’s real change … I accept the fierce opposition of the giant healthcare corporations because we will stop them sucking out profits from our NHS. That’s real change … I accept the hostility of the privatised utilities companies because we will stop their great rip off by bringing rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership and running them for the people. I accept the implacable opposition of the private Internet providers because we’re going to give you the very fastest full fibre broadband for free. That’s real change.”

This is a summary of the Manifesto on the NHS; The National Health Service is one of Labour’s proudest achievements A decade of Tory health cuts and privatisations has pushed it to the brink. Our hospitals are crumbling, equipment is outdated, IT systems are inadequate and community facilities are neglected. There are 100,000 staff vacancies in NHS England, including a shortage of 43,000 nurses. There are 15,000 fewer hospital beds … Priority is to end NHS privatisation … stabilise our overstretched A&E departments … improve stroke, heart disease and cancer survival rates by providing earlier diagnosis and improved screening rates … introduce a moratorium on bed cuts. … bring subsidiary companies back in-house … protect the rights of EU workers, other migrants and refugees … With less than one in four A&E departments having the facilities to deal with people experiencing a mental health crisis invest £2 billion to modernise hospital facilities and end the use of inappropriate, out-of-area placements …. improve access to psychological therapies … ensure provision of 24/7 crisis services … place the NHS at the forefront of the development of genomics and cell therapies so that patients can benefit from new treatments for cancer and dementia … establish a generic drug company with secure access to generic versions and abolish prescription charges.

The full manifesto can be found here

My blogs and articles on the NHS

NHS Privateers

Health V Wealth

Health Rats

Who Will Fight for the NHS

Other blogs / articles on the election

No More Tweedles

Brexit Jokers

Why Labour

OpenYour Eyes


Winning the Election is the Easy Part

Them or Us

Why Labour?

All articles and blogs


As promised no politics without music so here is 

Billy Bragg & Between the Wars