Gosh! I’m a bit conflicted with this poppy wearing lark.
I’ve put my cash in the collection thing this year and can’t bring myself to wear a poppy.
A chap I know has recycled his poppy and proudly told me he’s had the same on for seven years or so – he keeps it in the dressing table drawer till November comes around again.
Once of a day folk sold poppies outside the Maypole or in front of the Market Hall and all those who walked in the parade on the Sunday nearest November 11th wore one.
I used to put money in the collection tin and sometimes I’d wear the poppy till it fell to bits or fell out. – That was it.
It’s now a big deal and folk are bullied on the telly by Sky news readers if they’re not wearing one.
So far no one’s asked me where my poppy is and Kay Burley is unlikely to be interviewing me any time soon. And I’m aware it’s somewhere between a sort of smug up-yours and a bit childish but I wish it was like it was when you could buy one coming out of the Maypole.


Where will the Swiss migrants swim to?

Today, in a referendum, the Swiss rejected the proposal that all their citizens should have a basic income.

The idea behind it was that as machines take over more and more of the work then we have a problem in what to do with those people who are displaced. In Capital 101 the theory is that they will be displaced from one job and thereby freed up to take up employment in other more productive fields. In reality things don’t seem to be working out just so neatly.

In Flint Michigan car workers were not displaced by machines; the machines were moved south – they were displaced by Mexicans who had no Union rights and worked for a small fraction of what the US worked took home.

Those who owned the capital did much better under this arrangement. And under our system they had no responsibility to those who had helped create the wealth in the first place. Twenty years later those folks who, for whatever reason, hadn’t been able to move out of Flint were being poisoned by the lead contamination in the public water supply that was being sourced from a polluted river to save money. They were mainly black and poor.

I tweeted a response to the report of the Swiss referendum thus; “Daft idea. Those who own the capital employing the machines should reap the benefits. The rest should learn to swim.” I was trying for irony – implying that their redundant citizens might become boat-people. All I got was a “like” from an outfit promoting swimming as a sport rather than survival.

The very idea that Swiss people – or you and me, could become economic migrants, drowning in a desperate attempt to get to a place where we could earn enough to support our families seems ludicrous. After all we’re not black and poor.

TTIP -Follow the links


If you follow the trail you can quickly have all your fears upgraded

The Press Release

New study highlights value of healthcare in TTIP for EU and U.S. Governments


The Think-tank report –



The folks that commissioned the report


And who’s funding this lot?


One of the members is “UnitedHealth Group”

Who used to be President of United Health? – Andrew Stevens

What’s he do now? – Runs the NHS


“4 things you should know about new NHS England chief Simon Stevens”


Their Long Term Economic Plan is Working – They’re Out to Destroy the NHS

Government reforms of the NHS over the last three decades have transformed a democratically controlled public service into an open, competitive market.

In our new report, The Wrong Medicine, the New Economics Foundation looks at the impact of pro-market reforms in the NHS from competitive tendering in the 1980s to the fundamental reorganisation set out in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

Reviewing evidence from the UK, as well as international comparisons, we can only conclude that markets in healthcare almost always fail patients, citizens and taxpayers.

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act is the latest and most extreme move towards markets in healthcare. Large profit-seeking organisations, many based in the United States, are now winning more and more NHS business. Lord Owen has warned that it could “create a fully marketised national health service”. Even senior Tories have called the Act the Coalition government’s biggest mistake.

A new trade agreement between the European Union and the United States (TTIP), due for completion next year, threatens to lock in private sector control of the NHS by inflicting heavy financial penalties on a future government trying to return health services to public ownership.

The costs of maintaining market mechanisms in the NHS have been conservatively estimated at £4.5 billion a year – enough to pay for ten specialist hospitals, 174,798 extra nurses or 42,413 extra GPs.

Not many people know this. Two in three people polled by Ipsos MORI said they knew little about changes being made to the NHS.

Most remarkably, the overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that markets are bad for healthcare. There is certainly no compelling evidence that market mechanisms or private ownership are more efficient or more likely to improve care for patients than a publicly owned, controlled and funded system.

In our report we found:

  • market mechanisms have largely inconclusive or negative effects of quality and equity in healthcare
  • no conclusive evidence that patient choice has made UK healthcare more responsive to patients or even more competitive
  • the Private Finance Initiative has inflicted dangerously heavy long-term financial costs on NHS trusts without compensating savings or benefits
  • despite the highest per person spending US healthcare ranks much lower than the UK’s in international comparisons. Poor performance is directly attributed to market mechanisms.
  • markets in healthcare almost always fail patients, citizens and taxpayers. They function best when all parties can make fully informed choices, but patients rarely can.
  • markets are not well-suited to encourage prevention of illness or more integrated health and social care. They depend on increased activity, which calls for more people getting ill and needing care. A healthy patient is not a source of income. Integration calls for high-trust, long-term relationships and willingness to share information, risks and rewards: these are not fostered in a competitive marketplace.

In short, market-based reforms are undermining the capacity of the NHS to maintain its world-class performance. And now it is desperately – and increasingly – strapped for cash. Public funds have been drastically cut as part of the government’s austerity drive, while demands for healthcare continue to rise.

The prevailing narrative is that health services are not working under state control: strong medicine is needed to save the NHS and that means more markets and more private sector providers. And the more it falls prey to financial pressures, the more easily the NHS can be described as a failing public institution – a problem begging for market solutions.

We can only conclude, then, that today’s NHS reforms are driven by ideology: a set of ideas that shape policy and – in this case – favour competitive markets with multiple, profit-seeking providers, over public institutions that aim to serve the public interest.

Instead, voters need to know why the NHS is in trouble and that markets are part of the problem, not the solution.

Reprinted from http://touchstoneblog.org.uk

Report at

Films on a Sunday Night

There’s a film on at 9 PM called Lockout.
OK, maybe a film about brave Trade Unionists fighting the good fight against hired goons in 1930s USA
I go on line to check out what it may be about, here’s the blurb off t’internet,
“A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.”
If you thought my idea was awful – what about the real one.
Whoever made the pitch to the producers must have been on something and whoever accepted the pitch too.
I’m now wondering where I might make the pitch about my movie – I just need to figure out how to weave sex, aliens and the president into the mix.



What to make of Scotish Independance

What to make of Scottish independence?

Firstly, I can’t believe that when Cameron said he wanted the issue settled once and for all that he ever contemplated that he may go down in history as the PM who lost yet another former colony a sort of 21st Century Lord North.

I’ll now like to think of Cameron rather like Monty Python’s Black Knight with bits and pieces being chopped off.

One interesting aspect of this two and a half year process is that it didn’t get interesting till the establishment thought there may be a chance that Salmond may win. Then there was a choice; then there was passion. 97% of Scotts are registered to vote. Perhaps it’s the lack of any real choice that produces turnouts of less than 30%

If there is a YES vote then the resulting arguments amongst the Scotts will be portrayed and negative infighting by the British media – it’s inevitable and a sign of a vibrant democratic process.

All the various groups who blamed their lack of power on “London” seem to have invested independence with all their hopes and those Labour, Socialist and generally left wing voters who gave their votes to the SNP to keep the Tories out will no longer feel any need to support a party wishing to cut corporation tax.

Lessons for the Labour Party

There is a momentum away from the Westminster/neo-liberal consensus. Mrs Thatcher when asked what her greatest achievement was replied, “Tony Blair.” UKIP floats on this momentum and has made unthinking racism respectable (is thinking racism respectable?). When people look around and see their communities changed beyond recognition the people who controlled the forces that shut down manufacturing and found it more profitable to produce those goods abroad don’t get the blame – they don’t live round here – it must be the Rumanians fault.

Labour have to talk about power internationally, nationally and locally. Who has it and how do you get it.

  • Talking about TTIP would be a good place to start this conversation.
  • How to privatise the NHS by stealth would be another good topic – they’ll know a lot about that.
  • How to keep Railway fat-cats well fed on subsidies – they know a lot about that too
  • They need to explain that no private provider brings more money in to public services than they take out – that’s not how it works.