Sunday, 6 March 2011

I will stand up and be counted...or, erm, something

When I was a wee lassie I was never particularly interested in politics and the political process. I always voted in local and general elections, I did check out the proposals prior to voting, but you could never have described me as interested!

When Chris and I met he introduced me to people like Michael Moore and Charlie Brooker and it was through their musings on our political systems that I began to take an interest. When we moved to Thailand I really started to see how important politics is and what impact policies can have on the population. I started to find politics fasinating and Chris and I went to a number of lectures given on the topic (we even met Thailand's current Prime Minister!). When we got back to the UK that interest stayed with me but I still didn't really understand our system.

Going back to Uni was a big turning point in my interest....I guess it kind of had to be since I've been studying things like 'Social Structures and Policy', 'Issues in contemporary Health Policy' and 'Community Development' (which covered the impact policy has had on our population over the years). I have discovered that I am becoming quite a political animal....I still don't know all the in's and out's of it all, and I am not about to pretend I do, but I am now a hell of a lot more 'aware' than I ever have been before.

I am going on my first ever protest on Wednedsay. Yes folks, I feel so strongly about what our current Governmnent are proposing to do to our NHS that I am going to march through London with a whole load of others in protest. Blimey!

I've read the White Paper 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS' that lays out the plans and I did a ton of research on the topic for my last Uni assignment. This is an extract from my assignment (Feel free to skip it if your not interested)

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The World Trade Organisations (WTO) main aim is to see free market trade in the provision of public services. With the decline in revenue generated from manufacturing, caused by increased international competition, US and European corporations are now looking to capture a share of the GDP spent on public sector services. ‘Many governments are deregulating and privatising public-service funding and delivery’ (Price, Pollock and Shaoul, 1999: 1889) and the UK Government is one of them. They have done this by contracting out services, introducing public-private partnerships and by introducing compulsory competitive tendering. Many changes, of which the public may be generally unaware, have occurred within the health sector; there have been changes to resource allocation with money now following the individual rather than resources being allocated on area needs. Additionally corporations within the health care system have been set up along commercial lines, with Acute Trusts and PCT’s being required to break even ‘after having made a profit for their owners (the Government) equivalent to a 6% return on capital’ (Price, Pollock and Shaoul, 1999: 1891) - which means finance (and not health-care) may be the top priority; and by getting rid of new public funding for capital projects the privatisation of public funds has been achieved.

The effect of these initiatives has been devastating and has had a major impact on both funding and services; ‘the introduction of the private finance initiative to the acute hospital sector in the National Health Service has resulted in a reduction of 30% in capacity at the hospitals concerned and of 20% in clinical budgets and workforce’ (Price, Pollock and Shaoul, 1999: 1892). It is clear that the involvement of these private organisations will have an impact on the delivery of health policy locally.

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It's only going to get worse under the proposed plans so on Wednesday the 9th of March I will be pulling on my comfy shoes and joining others at 5pm at the Royal London Hospital (Opposite Whitechapel Tube Station) to march along Whitechapel road, through the city (Home of the Banks) to Barts and The London Hospital. I am going to stand up and be counted!

15 comments:

  1. Protesting is important if you feel strongly - as is letter writing, lobbying, campaigning. Most politicians have one aim that transcends all others - to gain and remain in power - so public sentiment is vital to them.

    Sadly this doesn't always mean they follow good policies. Virtually everyone in power knew the economy was over heating a few years ago - but they chose to do nothing, largely because sentiment was in their favour. We now have an inflated housing market and a debt level that will take a generation to sort out.

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  2. Good for you. Our politics is different over here, but we are affected by a lot of the political decisions made in the UK.

    I've been on a couple of protests over here (very small compared to anything in England) but it felt satisfying to stand up and be counted.

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  3. Well done you! I do believe it's crucial for people to speak up -- and especially when they are as knowledgeable and committed as you are.

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  4. That's awesome - to stand up for what you believe. It's scary how complacent we can be even when we know plans are in motion that affect lives very deeply. Taking the time to make your voice heard is really commendable.

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  5. Fantastic, Carol! I've been to a few demonstrations (mostly to do with Egypt etc) and it's very empowering!

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  6. Am very happy to hear you are heading out there for the march. There comes a time to play a part and stand up for something you really believe in.

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  7. Good for you! So important to stand up and be counted!

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  8. Good for you Carol! I believe in the power of protesting, despite the attacks on it (skewed media coverage of it, LACK of media coverage, infiltrations of peaceful protests by violent anarchists...). Once I pulled my children out of school so they could participate in a protest against government cuts to education. I think they probably learned more in that than anything thing taught in a class that day.

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  9. I'll be with you in spirit, Carol. I think what the current Government is doing to ALL aspects of life in the UK, especially the NHS, is frankly shocking. No, I don't have a better idea, but as someone with long-standing health issues, I can firmly state: "Thank God I now live here in France!!"

    Kind regards, Kitty xx

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  10. I'm not educated enough in the subject to know what's what--and I'm afraid that's a part of the problem. (Yes, I know--a part of the problem or a part of the solution, I get to choose...)

    But I'll give to you what I've been given to people for the past month about other 'issues' and circumstances.

    What you think and feel is important. You have a voice--and you can use it.

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  11. Hi Carol, I seemed to lose you for a while but I've found you again. I love Charlie Brooker (even if he is married to Konnie Huq) and Michael Moore. I was first introduced to Michael Moore when I read a copy of 'Stupid White Men' which I found in a charity shop in France, bizarrely. Good luck with your protest. Most of my family work or worked for the NHS and they feel the same as you. (formerly Madame Marmite)

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  12. Janice - *grins*

    Mark - I feel very strongly about it! I've already signed a couple of petitions but just felt that I had to take some action.

    Unfortunatley our local MP will do nothing about it...he's never voted against the party and, since he doesn't have a very good reputation within it, he's not going to do anything that will rock the boat.

    Lady Fi - I actually thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Debs - It was very satisfying. There was over 1,000 of us comprising mostly of those that work within the NHS.....lots of Dr's and nurses....there is a bigger march on the 26th of March which I'm also thinking of going along to.

    Sue - I'm not sure that I would say I was particularly knowledgeable but for the first time I really felt that I couldn't just stand by.

    Talon - I feel so strongly about this that I was compeled to so something! As I said to Sue, I just couldn't stand by and not add my voice to the protest.

    Talli - I did feel very empowered :-)

    Juniper - It was great! I was really glad that I took part...the sense of solidarity was something that I've never experienced before!

    Dad - I was rather proud of me too :-)

    Nicky - It is important to stand up and be counted and that's exactly what I did!

    Jennifer - I bet they did! I do believe that sometimes you just have to make your voice heard and I think teaching your kids that is a lesson they will never forget! Good on ya :-)

    Kitty - I couldn't agree with you more regarding the cuts. The current Government said one thing and then did another....no-one voted for the changes that they are proposing and they seem hell bent on pushing them through regardless of what the public (that they are supposed to represent) think. Your right, it's shocking!

    Mel - What is driving me completely nut is that the issue is not being reported and I don't think the general public are actually aware of what is being proposed. I think if they knew what the proposals pave the way for the privatisation of the NHS then more people would be standing up and shouting!

    Wylye Girl - Yay...I was wondering what had happened to you! I'm so glad you found me again!

    Yep, stupid white man was my introduction to Michael Moore too. It made me laugh out loud and hopping mad at the same time!

    There is a petition against the cuts to the NHS on 36 degrees website http://www.38degrees.org.uk/Save-our-NHS

    C x

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