Why I strongly support Trade Unionism

Politics and Insights

10553308_680322242037307_1558281906340939819_nTrade Unions are fundamental to a functional democracy. Research shows that Trade Unionism is linked with higher levels of social equality and better public services, as well as better working conditions and rates of pay that ensure people have a decent standard of living. The Conservatives have always hated Trade Unions because they tend to perpetuate and endorse inequality and poor pay. We currently have the highest levels of social inequality in the EU, and it’s even greater than in the USA. We also have the biggest wage drop, pay hasn’t fallen this much since the 1800s. Tories like cheap labor, and profit for big business

That isn’t in ordinary people’s best interests. The largest study of UK deprivation shows that full-time work is no longer a safeguard against poverty. Yet Conservatives claim to be the party for “hard-working people.”


In a democratic society, governments don’t attempt…

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The Prostitute State: How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought by Donnachadh McCarthy

I found this earlier from a friend of mine on Facebook . His name is Donnachadh McCarthy, who has written a brilliant book called The Prostitute State: How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought. The book is self published by Donnachadh and is a revealing insight into how broken our political system is and how it can be changed, but he needs help in getting the word out there as he doesn’t have a marketing agent. I’ll let him explain in his own words:

“Anybody fancy helping?

I self-published (with the help of over 100 very kind friends who helped crowd-source it) The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought six months ago.

This week I sold the 400th paper copy (and 75 ebooks), which has more than covered the cost of self publishing and started to pay for the 3 years I spent writing it.

The feedback from many many of those who have bought it has been wonderfully positive.

I was wondering if anybody is able to help me market the book in any way, I would be really grateful?

1/ Do you know of an organisation or group who could invite me to speak about The Prostitute State?

2/ Could you tell your Facebook friends about the book? They can buy the paper or ebook versions direct from www.theprostitutestate.co.uk

3/ Do you know of somebody influential that you could send the book to?

4/ If you know of somebody who cannot afford to buy the book ( eg students,environmental activists, unemployed etc) , could you tell them to email me and I will send them the ebook version for free contact@3acorns.co.uk

5/ Could you or someone you know write a review of it for any publication you know of who might be up for it?

6/ Do you know of any journalists who might be intereted in writing about the book or the various aspects of our democracy’s corruption that it exposes and could you approach them for me?

7/ Any other ideas that you have that could help?

I had intended spending the last 6 months promoting the book (as self-published there is no publisers marketing manager to help!) but instead spent it helping co-organise Occupy Gandhi, Occupy Rupert Murdoch Week and getting arrested 5 times whilst protesting peacefully at Occupy Democracy.

This happened because I was asked to speak at launch event of Occupy Democracy in October along with Russell Brand and Nataly Bennett and whilst sitting on the tarpaulin afterwards, got caught up in awful police kettle of the peaceful protesters and so I joined them…

But now that the 6 monthly pre-election Occupy Democracy protests in Parliament Square are over, I wanted to get back to getting the book out there as much as possible.

Whilst my dream for the book was for it to inform people about how The Prostitute State works before they voted, the book has real relevance even after the election as it will explain where and why the Liberal Democrats went so badly wrong, how the corporate lobbyists are pulling our new Tory government’s strings and how The Prostituted Media is the real issue facing the Labour Party’s leadership election.

But most importantly it exposes in full detail the systemic corruption which has invaded almost every aspect of our democracy and proposes some constructive actions we can all take at the end.

Big thanks for reading this and any help however small you can provide and to all those who have helped in so many ways already!

with love
Donnachadh x”

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US and British health specialists support the NHS


Ambulance in Gloucester. ‘Your universal, public healthcare system is an example to the world,’ write a group of prominent US doctors. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The British National Health Service has long been admired around the world for providing health care for all citizens, in a manner that regards each life as equally precious. Your system of universal healthcare allows citizens to access medical care when needed, free of charge, funded by taxes paid by all. It is based on improving the health and wellness of all. The health security enabled by your system is but a dream for many Americans.

As American health care professionals who often use the example of the NHS to advocate for a fairer and better system in the US, we have recognised recent developments in England that are deserving of concern. In particular, we express concern over movements toward transferring more and more services to for-profit corporations in your healthcare system and measures that encourage the development of a self-pay market for care. Access to treatment should not depend on whether someone can spare the money. While some may say the changes in England have so far only been at the margins, it is the risk of a slippery slope that should cause concern.

In the US over recent decades, we have lived the challenges of a multi-tiered, for-profit healthcare system. Wealthier citizens can afford the best care. At the same time, in the same society, other citizens struggle to pay for care, sometimes choosing between food or medicine. Many rely on the emergency room for routine care. Many suffer the consequences of doing without healthcare. It is harder to maintain support for a public system when the wealthy rely on paying for better access to care.

There are many things the US healthcare system has to admire, such as our pioneering integrated care organisations and our world-leading medical research and high-tech rescue care. At the same time, the US is in the midst of a major healthcare reform effort that aims to bring affordability and equity to American healthcare. We caution the UK against moving in the direction of a system that has created the inequality in US that we are now working to repair. Your universal, public healthcare system is an example to the world, and something of which Britain should be proud. We urge you to preserve it.

Dora Wang MD Physician
Arthur Lavin MD Pediatrician and faculty
Donald Nguyen Pediatric urologist
Lisa Marlowe PsyD Clinical psychologist
Cyndi Fowler Nurse executive
Ryan Q Simon MD Consultant physician
Scott Tyson Physician
Rebecca Jones MD Physician
Katherine Lambes MD Internal medicine/pediatrics
Lisa Vantrease MD Family physician
Christopher M Hughes MD Physician
Richard Bruno MD Resident physician, family & preventive medicine
Richard Waters MD Primary care physician
Katherine Scheirman MD MHA US Air Force colonel (retired)
Scott Nass MD MPA family physician
David Sanders MD Physician
Elizabeth Wiley MD JD MPH resident physician
Michael Kaplan MD Family physician and associate medical director
Andrea DeSantis DO Family physician
Margaret Flowers MD Co-director
Garrett Adams MD MPH past president, Physicians for a National Health Program
Don R McCanne MD Senior health policy fellow
Morris Brown MD National Medical Association Chairman, Family Medicine
Natalie Spicyn MD MHS primary care physician
Xaviour Walker MD DTM&H hospitalist and general preventive medicine resident
Mark Ryan MD FAAFP Assistant professor, department of family medicine and population health
Danielle Alexander MD Physician
Cecile Rose MD MPH Professor of medicine
Kyle Bohan MPH DO Physician
James P Scott MD Past president, National Physicians Alliance
Christopher Brown MD MPH Chief resident, internal medicine
William B Jordan MD MPH Physician
Li-hsia Wang MD FAAP General pediatrician
Kristin Huntoon Resident physician
Alap Shah MD Professor of Family Medicine
Stephen Marsh MD Family medicine resident
Kevin Burns MD Family physician
Henry L Abrons MD MPH Pulmonary and critical care, retired
Shelly Choo MD MPH Resident physician
Irmina Sultana Haq MD MPH Resident physician
Walter Tsou MD MPH Past president, American Public Health Association
Gene Bishop Clinical asociate professor
Max Romano Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Tim Lachman MD Associate professor of clinical neurology
Adam Law MBBS MSc MD FRCP Attending physician in endocrinology
Carla Campbell MD MS Associate teaching professor
Esther K Chung MD Professor of pediatrics
F. Stuart Leeds MS MD Assistant professor of family medicine
Gary L LeRoy MD Family physician
James Plumb MD MPH Professor of family and community medicine

As senior public health professionals, we must draw attention to the damage that the coalition government’s policies have done to the health of the British people. First, it placed “responsibility deals” with producers of junk food and alcohol at the centre of its public-health strategy. As its own evaluation confirms, these have achieved almost nothing. Second, it has delayed action on issues such as reducing the salt hidden in food, which researchers have linked to 6,000 additional deaths.

Third, it has failed to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol, again in the face of research evidence that this would save thousands of lives. Fourth, its austerity policies can be linked to a reversal in the long-term downward trend in suicides, which have increased most where welfare cuts have been most severe. These policies have also contributed directly to a marked increase in food poverty, with growing numbers dependent on food banks. Fifth, it has failed to address the already poor health of British children. The areas where the government has made progress, such as standardised packaging for cigarettes and antimicrobial resistance, show what could have been done.

This reluctance to act, whether due to ideology, closeness to corporate interests or fears of being accused of “nanny-state tactics”, has been damaging to health and has led to many thousands of unnecessary deaths. Whatever government is elected this week, we call upon it to put evidence before ideology. The people’s health must come first.

Professor Martin McKee CBE Professor of European Public Health, London
Professor Simon Capewell Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Liverpool
Professor John Acres Professor of Public Health, Southampton
Professor Sheila Adam CBE Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, England, London
Dr Sushma Acquilla Former Academic Registrar, Faculty of Public Health, Northallerton
Dr Tim Anstiss Founder: Academy for Health Coaching
Ms Pam Ashton Public health community advisor, Merseyside
Prof Sue Atkinson CBE PH Consultant & Former Regional DPH, London
Professor Gus Baker Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Liverpool
Professor Clare Bambra Professor of Public Health Geography, Durham
Dr Ben Barr Senior Clinical Lecturer in Applied Public Health Research, Liverpool
Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Bristol
Professor Richard Bentall Professor of Clinical Psychology, Liverpool
Professor Susan Bewley Professor of Complex Obstetrics, London
Dr Chris Birt Honorary Research Fellow, Liverpool
Professor Carol Brayne Professor of Epidemiology, Cambridge
Professor Nicky Britten Professor of Applied Health Care Research, Exeter
Dr Catherine Brogan Public Health Chief Executive, London
Professor Eric Brunner Professor of Social and Biological Epidemiology, London
Dr Andrew Burnett Former Director Of Public Health, London
Professor Francesco Cappuccio Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine & Epidemiology, Warwick
Professor Martin Caraher Professor of Food and Health Policy, London
Professor Sir Iain Chalmers Co-founder Cochrane Collaboration Oxford
Dr Kailash Chand OBE General practitioner Tameside & Glossop
Dr Elaine Church Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Professor Aileen Clarke Professor of Public Health& Health Services Research Warwick
Professor Jeff Collin Professor of Global Health Policy Edinburgh
Professor Anthony Costello Professor of Global Health, London
Dr Jack Czauderna Former GP, Sheffield
Professor Linda de Caestecker Honorary professor at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow
Professor Carol Dezateux CBE Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology, London
Professor Peter Diggle Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics, Lancaster
Gina Dowding County Councillor Lancashire
Professor Elizabeth Dowler Professor in Food & Social Policy, Warwick
Professor Christopher Dowrick Professor of Primary Medical Care, Liverpool
Dr Maria Duggan Director, London
Professor Shah Ebrahim Professor of Epidemiology, London
Dr Etheline Enoch Ebola Clinical Lead, London
Professor Matt Field Professor of Psychology, Liverpool
Professor John Gabbay Former Professor of Public Health, Southampton
Professor Mark Gabbay Professor of Primary Care, Liverpool
Professor Amandine Garde Head of Law Department, Liverpool
Dr Katy Gardner Senior Partner, London
Dr Clare Gerada MBE General Practitioner, London
Professor Ruth Gilbert Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, London
Professor Anna Gilmore Professor of Public Health, Bath
Professor Mark Gilthorpe Professor of Statistics, Leeds
Professor David Gunnell Professor of Epidemiology, Bristol
Professor Sir Andy Haines Professor of Public Health & Primary Care, London
Professor Gerard Hastings OBE Professor of Social Marketing, Stirling
Dr Fengjun He Senior Research Fellow, London
Professor Susan Higham Professor of Oral Biology, Liverpool
Dr Alison Hill Consultant in Public Health, Oxford
Dr Judith Hooper Retired Director of Public Health, Kirklees
Professor David Hunter Professor of Health Policy and Management, Durham
Professor Bobbie Jacobson OBE Former Director, London Health Observatory, London
Professor Ann Jacoby Professor of Medical Sociology Liverpool
Professor Philip James CBE Honorary Professor of Nutrition, London
Dr Tony Jewell Former Chief Medical Officer, Wales Cardiff
Professor Lynne Kennedy Head of Department of Clinical Sciences & Nutrition, Chester
Professor Kay-Tee Khaw CBE Professor of Clinical Gerontology, Cambridge
Professor Tim Lang Professor of Food Policy London
Professor David Lawrence Honorary Senior Lecturer in Health Services Research, London
Professor Andree Le May Co-editor, Journal of Research in Nursing, Southampton
Professor Alastair Leyland Professor of Statistics, Glasgow
Professor Stuart Logan Cerebra, Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology Exeter
Professor Graham MacGregor Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine London
Professor Rajan Madhok Retired NHS director of public health and medical director NHS Manchester
Professor Barrie Margetts Professor of Nutrition, Southampton
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis Former President, Faculty of Public Health, London
Dr David McCoy Reader in Public Health, London
Professor Stewart Mercer Professor of Primary Care Research, Glasgow
Professor John Middleton Independent Public Health Consultant, Coventry
Dr Clive Needle Policy & Advocacy Director, London
Professor Kate O’Donnell Professor of Primary Care Research & Development, Glasgow
Professor Eileen O’Keefe Emeritus Professor of Public Health, London
Dr Steven Oliver Senior Lecturer, York
Dr David Pencheon OBE Director, Norwich
Professor Kate Pickett Professor of Epidemiology, York
Professor Jennie Popay Professor of Sociology and Public Health, Lancaster
Dr Dan Pope Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Liverpool
Professor Geof Rayner Honorary Research Fellow, London
Dr John Robson Reader in Primary Care & Tower Hamlets/ GP, London
Professor Ted Schrecker Professor of Global Health Policy, Durham
Professor Alex Scott-Samuel Honorary Professor, Liverpool
Professor Alwyn Smith CBE Emeritus professor of epidemiology, Manchester
Professor David Stuckler Professor of Medical Sociology, Oxford
Dr Qutub Syed Former Regional Director of Public Health, Manchester
Dr David Taylor-Robinson Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Liverpool
Dr Arpana Verma Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Manchester
Professor Ian Watt Professor of Primary Care, York
Dr Jane Wells Consultant in Public Health, Oxford
Professor Margaret Whitehead WH Duncan Chair of Public Health, Liverpool
Professor Ewan Wilkinson Professor of Global Public Health, Chester
Professor Graham Winyard CBE Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Winchester
Dr Katrina Wyatt Associate Professor of Health Research, Exeter

The crisis in nursing is just one sign of malaise in the NHS. The loss of qualified nurses (community nurse numbers alone have been cut by over 3,300) means that the NHS relies on costly agency staff or overseas nurses (recruited at the cost of £5,000 each). Too few nurse training places have been commissioned because saving money trumps workforce planning. Putting things right requires more than extra funding: money is being wasted on privatisation.

The NHS is now a market in which private companies compete to provide services – especially since the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which itself cost £3bn to implement. This market may be costing the NHS more than £10bn a year; tendering for one contract can cost £1.5m of public money. Private providers have to put profits before patient care. 

For nurses, the current NHS business ethos of wanting more for less exhausts us, stresses our managers, robs us of their support and leadership, encourages bullying, silences whistleblowers and holds down pay. The crisis in nursing requires an end to privatisation, possible with support for the NHS (Reinstatement) bill. There are 680,000 registered nurses: if parliamentary candidates want our vote, they should think carefully about how they treat our NHS.

Professor Helen Allan Professor of Nursing
Professor Fiona Ross CBE
Professor Jane Salvage Nursing consultant
Professor Di Marks-Moran Honorary professor, Nursing
Liz Meerabeau Professor of Healthcare, retired
Pam Smith Professorial fellow
Susan Osborne CBE Director of nursing and safe staffing
Gillian Black District nurse, former director of nursing
Dr Loretta Bellman Consultant, nursing and healthcare
Dr Jan Savage Nurse researcher
Lucy November Midwife and public health practitioner
Zeba Arif RCN Forensic Nursing Forum
Rebecca Newman Hospice nurse
Anita Weston Sexual health nurse
Val Thurtle Health visitor lecturer
Angela Tod Clinical nursing researcher
Irena Chojnacka Professional lead, adult nursing
Linda Burke Higher education
Jennifer Kempinski Palliative care nurse
Claire Honey Health visitor
Nina Heaps Health visitor
Gwen Vardigans RCN North Yorks Branch secretary
Paula Denham Clinical nurse specialist, palliative care
Aisling Donnelly Health visitor
Berit Moback Project manager, end of life care
Clare O’Riordan Profession development lead, health visiting and school nursing
Anna Edge Health visitor
Jennifer Walker Nurse practitioner, general practice
Mike Travis Children’s nurse, RCN council member
Andrea Jennings District nurse (community nursing)
Stella Backhouse Nurse blogger
Christina Sosseh Community learning disability nurse
Karen Taylor District nurse team leader, Queen’s nurse, community practice teacher
Gay Lee Palliative care nurse
Laurance Druiff Senior nurse, HIV and sexual heath
Caroline Smith District nurse
Gillian Meldrum Midwife
Abbey Eboigbe Sexual health nurse adviser/HIV nurse
Jill Highet Retired palliative care specialist nurse
Shazeda Begum District nursing, Community
Shirley Ali Anaesthetic nurse
Gill Todd RMN (psychiatry)
Karen Sanders Intensive care nursing/nurse education
Teresa Loy Private sector
Carlos Forni Locum community psychiatric nurse
Michael Martin Cardiothoracic nurse
Christina Clark Community psychiatric nurse
Nicky Parry Education/RGN/end of life care
Carey Johnson Haematology registered general nurse
Laura Clark Community psychiatric nurse
Alison Mansfield Ward sister, palliative care – hospice
Sharon Carter Diabetes specialist nurse
Trudi James Health visitor
Vicky Sorel-Cameron Palliative care
Veronica Killen Senior lecturer

Professor Chris Ham and Nigel Edwards (Letters, 29 April) make important points about NHS funding. But the political parties are also largely missing the opportunity to talk about what they will do to improve patient safety in the NHS. This is a fundamental point and one that should not be ignored in the general election campaign. Tens of thousands of unregulated health professionals continue to perform investigations, tests and procedures on patients.

This is despite their work coming with considerable risks to patients. The consequence is that they are not subject to any kind of fitness to practice tests, nor the previous government’s “duty of candour”. It is difficult to identify errors or incompetent practitioners, and harder still to drum them out of the health service. The political parties have a responsibility to talk about how they will fund the NHS in the future. They also have a duty to explain how they will keep patients safe. And this must involve the statutory regulation of such professionals.

Amanda Casey
Chair, Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists

Ed Miliband: Conservatives have secret plan to reorganise NHS after election

Labour will ask why 2014 report by former Marks & Spencer boss Stuart Rose has not been published, even though it has been in Tory hands since December


 The report by the Conservative peer Lord Rose, pictured, was, according to a parliamentary written answer, submitted to the health secretary on 23 December. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Ed Miliband will on Monday try to put the NHS at the heart of the runup to polling day by asking the Conservatives to explain why they have not published a plan – commissioned by the government from a former supermarket executive – for another re-organisation of NHS bureaucracy after the election.

Labour is also highlighting a letter published in the Guardian from US doctors warning that, on the current course, the NHS is on a “slippery slope” to pay-as-you-go healthcare.

Miliband, who will campaign alongside cookery writer Delia Smith on Monday, is highlighting an unpublished report commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) from the former Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose, a Tory peer.

The report was passed to ministers well before the election purdah period during which announcements cannot be made, but has not been published.

The Conservatives said the report had been delayed because the remit had been widened to take account of the NHS five-year forward view.

The report is understood to focus not on controversial issues, such as the contracting out of health services, but on the excessively complex NHS bureaucracy, some of which may have been worsened by changes introduced by the previous health secretary, Andrew Lansley.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, will be speaking alongside Miliband at an event in Brighton on Monday.

He will tell voters: “David Cameron should come clean with the British people about his plans for the NHS after the election. He commissioned a major report on how to change the way the health service is run but has buried the findings.

“They won’t tell us what’s in it. They won’t tell us what they plan to do with it. They won’t tell us what they plan to do with the NHS. But we do know one thing. We know who wrote it: the Conservative peer, Lord Rose.

“Lord Rose may be good at running supermarkets. But I say to David Cameron: you can’t run the NHS like a supermarket, we don’t want a supermarket health service, so publish this report and show us what is in your secret plan.”

The Rose report was commissioned by the DH in February 2014 and, according to a parliamentary written answer, was submitted to the health secretary on 23 December, four months ago.

In February this year, the Financial Times reported that one individual who had been in meetings in which the report was discussed said it had been put on “the back-burner of the back-burner”.

The article said that one reason for the delay could be that “a detailed prescription from a private sector leader could be particularly sensitive”.

In March, the Observer reported that Jeremy Hunt was facing allegations of a “politically motivated coverup” as the report remained unpublished.

The Tory chair of the health select committee, Sarah Wollaston, said: “It is not right that reports paid for out of public money are not made available to the public on such vital issues as soon as possible, particularly ahead of a general election.”

Wollaston talked of “uncomfortable information being withheld”.

The reality may be that the report is largely uncontroversial, but Rose is known to be critical of the current management structure of the NHS – and anything that smacks of reorganisation will raise alarm within the NHS.

But, politically, it is damaging for the Conservative-led government to be accused days before polling day of not publishing a report that it commissioned.

The US medical experts who wrote to the Guardian said: “We express concern over recent movements toward transferring more and more services to for-profit corporations in your healthcare system, and measures that encourage the development of a self-pay market for care.

“Access to treatment should not depend on whether someone can spare the money.

“While some may say the changes in England have so far only been at the margins, it is the risk of a slippery slope that should cause concern.”

Miliband himself will describe the choice between two visions: more privatisation, reorganisation and longer waits with a Tory second term, or Labour’s plan to protect and improve the NHS by putting the right values back at its heart.

He will say: “In the final few days of this general election campaign, the future of the NHS is at risk in the way it hasn’t been for a generation.”


Nick Clegg Wants Even More Debt For The Young, Why Is This Dick Still Talking?

Well said beastrabban as usual. Right on the money. I received one of the last Community Care Grants before they shut it down. I was one of the lucky ones.

the void

NickClegg-looking-like-a-dickWhen Nick Clegg was negotiating with the two main parties after the hung election he could, if he had really cared, insisted on scrapping tuition fees before entering a coalition agreement.  At the very least he could have argued for fees to be reduced, or even frozen over the course of the Parliament.

But instead he threw away the educational chances of a generation in favour of a stupid referendum on what wasn’t even Proportional Representation when it came to the vote.  And he lost.  Because he is a dick.  Remember that if you have recently graduated with a huge debt.  Every time you make a payment remember you are in debt because Nick Clegg is a dick.

Now he wants young people sucked even further into debt by luring them into taking out huge loans to pay for a deposit on a tenancy agreement.  Deposits that will be far…

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