This is why George Lansbury is my hero, he tells it as it is or as it should be.
The workers must be given tangible proof that Labour administration means something different from Capitalist administration, and in a nutshell this means diverting wealth from the wealthy ratepayers to the poor. Those who pretend that a sound Labour policy can be pursued nationally or locally without making the rich poorer should find another party. – George Lansbury 1922
Would that we had someone of the calibre of George or any of the other Poplar councillors with us today!
If your son or daughter fancies becoming a Labour MP, forget it. They have more chance of cleaning in the Commons than being elected to it.That is what the row over Labour selection procedures is really about – who can play a part in our politics. Today, Parliament is increasingly the preserve of an out-of-touch elite – Oxbridge-educated special advisers who glide from university to think tank to the green benches without ever sniffing the air of the real world. That is what Unite is trying to change. We want to give our democracy back to ordinary working people. We say they need to be given a fair crack of the whip in the Labour Party in particular – the Party that was founded to represent working people, because the establishment of a century ago ignored them.
The Unite General Secretary lays it on the line about what has happened to the Labour Party over the last few decades. It’s been dragged to the right and the strings and levers of power have been populated by the middle-class elitist careerists whose interests rarely extend beyond their own careers, egos and wallets. Let’s hope that what comes out of the Falkirk fiasco will be in the interests of the people of this country.
So says the well paid Chief of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, ‘Sir’ Ian Kennedy.
Here’s a third option: Pay MPs the average working wage and let them truly be representative of those whom they represent, not the swivel eyed, money trousering, big business arse licking career politicos that a lot of them are and aspire to be.
And I for one am very happy that it exists. If people like Clement Atlee and Aneurin Bevan hadn’t fought for it’s creation in the rubble and austerity of postwar Britain then certainly I wouldn’t be here. You see, my Dad developed rheumatic fever when he was a teenager through swimming in the Kennet and Avon canal down in Bath. When war was declared he tried to enlist in the Navy but was declared medically unfit as the fever had caused issues with his heart’s mitral valve. So he spent the war in the Home Guard guarding a building up at a reservoir overlooking Bath. We say guarding as he had a rifle but no ammunition! One day him and his friend decided to break into the building to see what was in there. Turns out to have been stacked to the rafters with potatoes!
After the war and a short stint at a soap factory he went to work for BOAC’s engine plant in Nantgarw. Whilst lodging with a local family at Trelewis he met a young woman who was to become his wife, and my Mum. They married and when my Mum became pregnant with my brothers in 1949 my Dad’s health had deteriorated due to his heart problems. When the twins were born he couldn’t even climb the stairs to see them.
My Dad, 4th from left, white boiler suit at Nantgarw
At that time the recently created NHS was introducing open heart surgery and he was offered an operation to see if they could repair his mitral valve. His local GP suggested it would be a bad move as the current level of failure for this type of operation was high. He told my Dad that he would likely die during the operation and that he should try and make the best of the likely 6 months that he had left to live. My Dad’s response was to tell the GP to bugger off! He had the surgery at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr and lived to tell the tale!
It would be a good story about the necessity of the NHS even if it stopped there but it doesn’t. Fast forward to 1963 and my mum is pregnant with me and again my Dad develops issues with his mitral valve. So who steps forward to bring hope to the situation? The NHS. In he goes to Harefield Hospital to get his valve repaired yet again.
Move on to 1989 and just as my first son is being born my Dad is once again ill. The mitral valve is playing up and tests indicate it can no longer be treated. Only option this time is a valve replacement. And once again the NHS comes to the fore and operates on my Dad to replace his faulty valve with a plastic one.
If it wasn’t for the NHS then putting it simply my Dad would have died in 1950 and I would not have existed. So I wish the NHS a happy 65th Birthday and may there be many more to come!
And to those who seek to destroy the NHS or to open it up to the vultures of private finance, don’t ask what I wish for you.