As the NHS turns 70, let’s make it our major export

‘As we celebrate the NHS here, we must not underestimate its symbolism beyond our borders. As the People’s Health Movement, the global network of health activists, made clear in evidence to my recent consultation, the health service does not just impact on the lives of people in the UK. It is a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world who are fighting for their own access to healthcare. Its very existence demonstrates that universal, publicly funded healthcare is possible.

This was always its intention. As Nye Bevan said on the day the NHS was brought into existence: “The eyes of the world are turning to Great Britain. We now have the moral leadership of the world.” Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn’s Geneva speech in full

Speaking at the United Nation’s Geneva headquarters today, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

Thank you Paul for that introduction. And let me give a special thanks to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Your work gives an important platform to marginalised voices for social justice to challenge policy makers and campaign for change.

I welcome pressure both on my party the British Labour Party and on my leadership to put social justice front and centre stage in everything we do. So thank you for inviting me to speak here in this historic setting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva a city that has been a place of refuge and philosophy since the time of Rousseau. The headquarters before the Second World War of the ill-fated League of Nations, which now houses the United Nations.

It’s a particular privilege to be speaking here because the constitution of our party includes a commitment to support the United Nations. A promise “to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all”.

I’d also like to thank my fellow panellists, Arancha Gonzalez and Nikhil Seth, and Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Shami Chakrabarti, who has accompanied me here. She has been a remarkable campaigner and a great asset to the international movement for human rights.

And lastly let me thank you all for being here today.

I would like to use this opportunity in the run- up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity. And why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international co-operation and human rights both individual and collective, social and economic, as well as legal and constitutional at home and abroad if we are to meet and overcome those threats.
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The Forbes 400 have more wealth than the GDP of the UK

In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth.

Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U.S. is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” …

“The wealthiest 25 individuals in the United States today own $1 trillion in combined assets,” the report notes. “These 25, a group equivalent to the active roster of a major league baseball team, hold more wealth than the bottom 56 percent of the U.S. population combined, 178 million people.”
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A Celebration of Our Greatest 20th Century Prime Minister

Attlee Remembered –the first event in our Attlee Nation project – was a wonderful weekend full of debate and knowledge sharing about the life of Clem Attlee and its resonance for today.

A huge thanks to all our brilliant contributors – especially Attlee biographer Francis Beckett; to our incredibly engaged audiences and our festival team; to our photographers and videographers. And finally, our wonderful partners at Sands Films – Olivier Stockman and Christine Edzard.

Our message for the weekend was simple: in 1945 Attlee had said Yes We Can and by 1951 was able to say said Yes We Did. Discussions about the challenges he faced in post-war Britain and the subsequent domestic achievements of his government were debated in light of today- social need, political urgency and the need for political courage. The nature of good Labour Party leadership from Keir Hardie through to Jeremy Corbyn; Labour Party manifestos 1945 and 2017 were compared as was the power of media barons then and now; and most interestingly, we explored the profound influence upon Attlee’s political development of his time as a social worker. We can truly say that Britain’s greatest 20th century Prime Minister was a social worker first.  And finally, in our closing event ‘In Clem’s Own Words’, we all shared in a very moving evening as we were treated to selected readings of Attlee’s own writings – letters, speeches, poems – read by a wonderful line-up of performers. To have a number of Clem Attlee’s family join us for the night made the evening very special indeed.

Here you can enjoy our video playlist of all the live events

and here is our photo gallery .

Until our next Attlee event!

Oct 7&8 Attlee weekend mini-festival programme and speakers

Oct 7&8 Attlee weekend mini-festival programme and speakers

Attlee Remembered October 7th & 8th at Sands Film Studios, Rotherhithe

Clement Attlee died 50 years ago on 8 October 1967. Attlee Remembered is a weekend of film, discussion and theatre that celebrates the man, his life and the domestic achievements of his 1945-51 Labour Government. Sands Films Studios is in historic Rotherhithe, close to the riverfront from where the Mayflower set sail. A beautiful Georgian building housing its cinema, theatre and extensive local archive, Sands Films is a three minute walk from Rotherhithe overground station, which itself is well served by both underground and overground lines. (More below).

WHY ATTLEE NOW?
Over the past few years we have seen more and more references to Clement Attlee in relation to Jeremy Corbyn and, prior to him, Ed Miliband. This is all to the good, as Attlee has always been eclipsed by Churchill and Attlee is far from being the household name he should be. The wider public (especially younger generations) – in as far as they have heard his name – will have no comprehension of the relevance and timeliness of his story: as a Mayor, as MP, as deputy wartime leader, as Prime Minister and the fact that he remains (despite many attempts to remove him) the longest serving Labour Party leader (1935-55).

Clement Attlee’s government shaped our society for seven decades to come. How do we want the next seven to seventy years shape up? How do we prize and protect the notion of ‘generosity towards the future’ so powerfully embodied in the Attlee administration?

ATTLEE REMEMBERED WEEKEND 

Programme: We have a wonderful line-up of contributors for our films, discussions & performance programme. PDF version here.
Contributors biographies (with yet more names TBC).
Booking
Single sessions on Eventbrite. 

Films are free (but must be booked), discussions £3, Theatre £5.

Weekend pass to all events £10 and only available by calling the Box Office on 020 7231 2209.
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The misleading UK official unemployement numbers

This is almost unheard of. Unemployment was most recently this low in December 1973, when the UK set an unrepeated record of just 3.4%.

The problem with this record is that the statistical definition of “unemployment” relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work. As the rate gets lower and lower, it tests that lie. Because – as anyone who has studied basic economics knows – the official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics. Continue reading