Genomics Medicine Centres

11 Genomics Medical Centres are to be created by NHS England as announced this morning., http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30558112 .

On the Radio 4 Today programme the question was raised as to the security of patients private information. The glib answer was that it would be perfectly safe as it would be controlled by the NHS.

What failed to be said was that under this coalition / Tory government it would certainly go to a private company to run which would make it anything but safe I fear.

December 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Independence–What next?

It is most important that we continue to capitalise on the surge of political activity which so energised the Yes campaign.

However what can realistically be done or campaigned for?

One option which could be pushing a an open door is to work with the idea of English votes for English laws. The present proposals are timid and probably unworkable. However why not a truly federated UK?

I suggest that the UK Federation is made up of the states of the existing regions of England, i.e. the North West, the North East, the Midlands, the South East, East Anglia, etc., and then Scotland, NI, Wales. I know the regions are ill-defined but could be a starting point for natural states. Then the states governments would devolve powers to the federal government. The federal government would consist of two houses, one elected on numbers of voters and the upper house being equal representation of all states. Of course there would be size differences but just think California (38 million population) and Wyoming (0.5 million) in the USA.

I will return to the theme again.

December 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

After Shock of the Scottish Referendum

I have not written my blog since the referendum. I was so appalled by the result, so near and yet so far but more especially about how much of what I feared has since come true. So many No voters were plainly taken in by the propaganda of the Better Together campaign. Much has been written so I am not going to repeat it.

What the Smith Commission has come up with is a poisoned chalice as I suggested in August. Even Gordon Brown agrees with me. As Iain MacWhirter says “The cost of financing Scotland’s ageing population is being repatriated while.. means of growing the economy are reserved.’” This says it all in a nutshell. You just have to read tax expert Richard Murphy here  to get the real story.

And I am also still worried about the NHS. The No campaign repeatedly and falsely claimed that it was safe. TTIP will make it completely vulnerable.

We should realise that Osborne’s Austerity is more than just a hopeful plan to re-balance the economy. Milton Friedman is, years after his death, an icon for the far right neolib / neocon economists and politicians. Naomi Kemp in her book “Shock Doctrine” draws attention to their deliberate opportunism in taking advantage of catastrophes to further their idea of minimal state intervention, preferably none at all, in the running of an economy. Osborne and his friends see our present financial situation as an ideal time to drive down the public services. It is a measure of his ineffectualness that more has not been sold off already. But given the  chance in May 2015  they will continue to privatise all parts of the public services which can be turned into a source of private profit.

December 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Independence – Will Hutton Against

Will Hutton makes his case for imaginative thinking by Westminster in the last ten days of the campaign to stop the breakup of the UK. In this paragraph be succinctly explains why we in Scotland have had enough of the Union…

The big argument is that Scotland does not need to be permanently yoked to English Toryism’s infatuation with a libertarianism that denies obligations to society and each other, has abandoned justice and equity in its public policy positions and is the author of the great “cashing out” of the past 30 years. All our utilities, five million council houses, many of our great companies and swaths of real estate in our cities have been cashed out in the name of market forces, of liberalisation, of being open for business and wealth generation. What has been created is predator capitalism, massive inequality and a society organised to benefit the top 1%. The country needs to build, innovate and reinvent social partnership. Independent Scotland can strike out in this direction.

We have nothing against the people south of the  Border but we do want to build a society that we want. Hutton goes on to say that an  independent Scotland will carry on in much the  same way. But he forgets that the SNP are a regional authority not a national government which has stepped into the void in national politics to effect change. After a YES vote the people of Scotland will decide what government they want. It could be that Alex Salmond is actually a turkey voting for Christmas and that a strong Socialist party will emerge before the first general election of iScotland.

I will vote for it if…

  • It proposes an independent currency with our own central bank
  • It looks outward to Europe and to the Commonwealth
  • It proposes a fair tax regime for everybody and every organisation
  • It has long term realistic plans to tackle inequality and nurture everybody’s health and well-being.

Some suggest this is wishful thinking but better to live in hope than vote for Will Hutton’s picture of the present and no doubt future Westminster government.

September 7, 2014 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Scottish Independence – Endgame

I have the feeling that everything worth saying about Scottish Independence has now been said. Ron Ferguson in the Press & Journal summarises the debate clearly.

We have gone through all the technical arguments with neither side in the debate actually being terribly convincing. The future is not ours to know about sums it up. So it remains a single question. Each individual voter has to rely on their own emotional psyche, if there is such a thing, to decide a preference for government from Westminster or from Holyrood.

I personally believe that England which dominates Westminster is going in a direction which I don’t like and that it will not easily be changed. Scottish voters will have minimal influence. On the other hand I have written before that I doubt some of the present politicians’ abilities. So I do hope that a Yes vote will result in  many of  the present campaigners stepping up to the plate to make Scotland a society we can all be proud of.

I want radical change not nationalism.

September 2, 2014 at 10:03 am 1 comment

Scottish Independence – NHS Urgent

Better Together and their pals are suggesting that the NHS is safe in Scotland because it is a fully devolved matter. That is absolutely true. But…

What they fail to add is that as soon as  there is a NO vote, the Westminster gangsters will start to dismantle the Devolution arrangements. They can  do this because the present arrangements are not constitutional but merely the result of an Act of Parliament at Westminster which can be changed at any time.

Cameron has many times failed to fulfil what he pledged as leader of the opposition since he has been prime minster. It is totally naïve to think that he will deliver more devolution to the Scottish Parliament if we remain in the Union. It and the Scottish people will be emasculated.

The media are failing to deliver this message and yet it is vital that the true position is widely known because the NHS is the major factor in how many people will decide to vote. Somehow the YES campaigners must get this message out to the undecided voters.

August 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Independence – Do We Really Want to Stay?

Fraser Nelson, right wing Editor of the Spectator, in the Telegraph writes this

But if Britain were to somehow leave the European Union and become the 51st state of America, we would actually be one of those poor states. If you take our economic output, adjust for living costs and slot it into the US league table then the United Kingdom emerges as the second-poorest state in the union. We’re poorer than much-maligned Kansas and Alabama and well below Missouri, the scene of all the unrest in recent weeks. Only Mississippi has lower economic output per head than the UK; strip out the South East and Britain would rank bottom. We certainly have our problems; we’re just better at concealing them.

And they want us to stay!!!

August 22, 2014 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

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