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

70% of the UK’s working population “chronically broke”

Economic insecurity has become the “new normal” in the UK with at least 70% of the UK’s working population “chronically broke”, according to a study by the thinktank the Royal Society of Arts.

Thriving, striving or just about surviving, the RSA/Populus survey of more than 2,000 workers, found that while about 30% of respondents said they lived comfortably, 40% said their finances were permanently precarious. The remaining 30% said they were not managing to get by. 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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New report on securitisation of aid

  • Syria case may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for fund backing some of world’s worst security forces
  • Secretive Conflict, Stability and Security Fund uses £500m of aid money
  • Government accused of using loophole to fund discredited consultancy

The controversial cross-government fund behind the British aid project in Syria which has today been suspended amid claims that money was reaching jihadist groups should be shut down, according to campaign group Global Justice Now, which has released a new report on the fund.

The report lifts the lid on one of the British government’s most secretive funds, which is behind military and security projects in around 70 countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria. The billion-pound pot, known as the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, spends over £500 million of British aid and is overseen by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. Neither the public nor MPs are able to properly scrutinise the fund due to a serious lack of transparency, the report finds.
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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!

UK arms firms pay little tax in Saudi arms sale

The report, released by children’s charity War Child, claims that corporations, including BAE systems and Raytheon, have made an estimated $775m in profit on $8bn worth of revenue by selling arms to Saudi Arabia between March 2015 and the end of 2016.

Yet corporation tax receipts since the war in Yemen began stands at just $40m, something the NGO describes as “pitiful”.
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