Posts Tagged ‘Cancer’

Anti-NHS Privatisation Rally at 1.00 PM Today, Stoke on Trent

May 4, 2015

I’m sorry this is somewhat late, but it’s only just come through my inbox.

Gail Gregory, one of the campaigners against the privatisation of the NHS, and particular local hospitals in Staffordshire, has been part of a team organising events this Bank Holiday weekend. She has sent out another release letting everyone know that there is another rally today at 1.00 in Stoke On Trent. She writes

Dear friends,

I know you may not be able to join us, but I though you would like to know just how amazing the March we have helped organise is going. We set off from Burton on Saturday morning – and before we reached the finish line we had Harry Leslie Smith confirm he would like to speak in Stoke on Monday (today) and welcome us across the finish! What a day. We will put footage up online for you – but in the mean time here are the details of the final day and the speakers we have!

Cancer Not for Profit Announce STAR speaker for May Day Rally!

Star speaker line up revealed for finish line rally of the 3 day, 30 mile, M’aide May Day March For Our NHS in Hanley Park, Stoke on Monday 4 May at 1pm:

Harry Leslie Smith – author of ‘Harry’s Last Stand’ and 91 year old survivor of the Great Depression, a second world war RAF veteran and an activist for the NHS, the poor and for the preservation of social democracy.

Lord Philip Hunt – Labour Spokesperson for Health in the Lords

Sarah Perry – Cancer Patient and 38 Degrees Campaigner

Professor Ray Tallis – Co Author of NHS SOS

Tristram Hunt – Labour Stoke Central PPC and Shadow Minister for Education

Christine Venables – Save Our NHS Campaigner – South Derbyshire

Paul Walker – East Staffs TUC Chair and cancer patient

Representatives from the CCGs have been asked to attend but are unfortunately unavailable on this occasion.

Health Campaigners Cancer Not For Profit and East Staffordshire TUC are calling on the public to join them at the FREE event on, Monday 4 May at 1pm, to hear stirring speeches from famous NHS campaigners and why we need to fight the privatisation of our NHS in Staffordshire.

The M’aide, May Day March for our NHS began on Saturday in Burton on Trent with a 10am rally where 50 concerned health campaigners, members of the public and patients set off for Uttoxeter in a bid to highlight the privatisation of the NHS in Staffordshire. On Sunday 3rd May the NHS crusaders were joined by more supporters as they left Uttoxeter for Blythe Bridge to complete stage two of the march. On Monday 4th May the final stage of the march between Blythe Bridge and Stoke on Trent will culminate with a mass rally with expert contributions from prominent NHS campaigners as walkers arrive in Hanley Park at 1pm.

The biggest potential NHS privatisation in history still looms large for Staffordshire, with the £1.2 billion contract for of Cancer and End of Life care for 800,000 residents, yet to be decided. The bidders in the running include five private companies and only two NHS Trusts however since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act 70% of all contracts have been awarded to the private sector.

Virgin Care have recently won a controversial contract in East Staffs to provide Elderly Person Care worth around £280 million for 6000 frail elderly and 38,000 patients with chronic diseases in East Staffordshire as awarded by East Staffs CCG. Campaigners have condemned the contract fearing care will suffer as private companies seek to make profit out of an already cash strapped NHS.

38 Degrees are supporting local efforts to stop NHS privatisation with more than 60,000 people signing the petition to stop the sell off of Cancer and End of Life Care in Staffordshire in the past month. This adds to previous efforts which have secured more than 15,000 signatures from Staffordshire residents who presented concerns to the County Council in October but failed to secure enough support from the chamber to stop NHS privatisation, instead residents’ concerns were referred to the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Monday 4th May

Blythe Bridge Rally point 10am Blythe Bridge Library ST11 9JR

to Hanley Park, Stoke On Trent for the final rally at around 1pm by the Bandstand

For full route and timings please see the website:

Enjoy your bank holiday if you do not join us – once again thank you for making this campaign happen!

Best Wishes,


This is very far from my home in Bristol, but I wish her, the event and the speakers every success.

One of the speakers, Ray Tallis, is a former neurologist and Humanist, who has written and spoken extensively on the mystery of human consciousness and cognition, as well as art and philosophy. I heard him speak last year at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and he is well-worth hearing.

38 Degrees Video against the Privatisation of the NHS

April 26, 2015


The political petitioning group, 38 Degrees, are running a campaign to prioritise the NHS as one of the very most important issues in the coming election. They posted this video to their members about the NHS and the magnificent work it does, asking them to watch and then share on the social media.

I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or any of the others. I only have this blog, and so I’m posting it here. The video’s extremely brief – just under two minutes. It does, however, contain snippets of interview from people, who have been treated by the Health Service for cancer, liver failure and infertility.

It states that these are all threatened by privatisation, and asks people to use their vote to defend the Health Service. Here it is:

The message doesn’t name or mention specific parties, but it’s clear enough.
The biggest threat to the NHS comes from the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers.

As this, and so many other left-wing blogs, like Johnny Void, Vox Political, Pride’s Purge, and Another Angry Void have pointed out, over and over again, the Tories are privatising the health service piecemeal. There are 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs who either own, or have senior management positions with private healthcare firms seeking to profit from the NHS’ privatisation. The Tories’ Health Secretaries, Jeremy Hunt and Andrew Lansley, have stated that they want the NHS privatised. One of the two even spoke about it at an event sponsored by one of the private healthcare firms at a Tory party conference.

As for the Lib Dems, it is not remotely surprising that they also want to privatise the NHS. It’s in the Orange Book, the Lib Dem ideological guide advocating neo-Liberalism now guiding their policies under Nick Clegg.

Ed Miliband, by contrast, has said that he will protect the NHS from privatisation, and will undo the Tories’ disastrous legislation privatising the NHS.

If you genuinely don’t want to see the NHS privatised, and the sick and disabled suffer and die as they do in America, when they can’t afford medical insurance, then don’t vote Tory or Lib Dem.


NHS Doctor Wants to Debate Farage over ‘Bollocks’ Cancer Story

March 24, 2015

According to this story in the Indie, Nigel Farage told: Blaming the NHS for losing your testicle is bollocks, Dr John Lamport, who is standing for the NHS Action Party in Nottingham East, has rebutted Nigel Farage’s comments about having lost a testicle to cancer due to NHS incompetence in an article on the Open Democracy site.

The doctor states that he also lost a testicle to cancer, but there the similarity between him and the Fuhrage ends. The article quotes the doctors as saying

“Nigel Farage likes a good debate I’m told, so here’s my offer. Head-to-head, one-ball to one-ball, let’s really hammer out what Nigel is selling the British public and why it’s bollocks.

“Nigel has twice told the story of his cancer in print, four years apart and significantly different in detail. I can’t pronounce on his case but I do know his amateur self-diagnosis – “All they had had to do that first night in A&E was to have me referred for a scan” – is bollocks.”

The article’s at

Dr Lamport was so moved by Farage’s comments about the NHS that he wrote a letter to the Telegraph taking the Purple Duce to task. As for the NHS Action party, that was formed over a decade ago to fight the closure of local NHS hospitals in the midlands under Blair.

Dr Lamport in his letter stated that the NHS needed to be well-funded, nationalised, and free at the point of delivery.

Everything, in fact, that Farage’s party would like to get rid of, and which the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers are doing their best to destroy through creeping privatisation.

Farage: Don’t Ring-Fence NHS Funding

March 23, 2015

UKIP’s purple Duce continues to present two faces on the NHS. The Independent today also has this article, Nigel Farage: ring-fencing the NHS is ‘nonsense’ reporting his remarks about the NHS in an interview he gave to Prospect magazine. In the interview, Farage said that he would make further cuts to the NHS’ budget, despite the fact that there is already a £2bn black hole in its finances. He also claimed that it was misleading for Labour and the Tories to claim they would ring-fence its funding, and said that the mainstream parties were too afraid to make negative comments about the Health Service.

The article quotes Fuhrage as saying of NHS funding “Even ring-fencing it is a waste of time—it’s moonshine to think we can.”

“We’ve reached a ridiculous point in the debate over health in Britain. Every time I’m on Question Time all the other politicians say is how wonderful the doctors and nurses are. Then everyone claps. Just because I’m not scared to criticise the NHS doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s important.”

The article mentions that in his memoirs, published last week, he blamed the NHS for misdiagnosing the testicular cancer that nearly killed him, and urged those who could to take out private health insurance.

In the Prospect interview, he praises the NHS for saving his life after he was hit by a car in 1985, and again when his light aircraft crashed five years ago when he was campaigning in the elections.

Despite this, the Independent points out that his comments about ending the ring-fence around NHS funding mean that he has turned his back on his promise to increase funding by £3bn.

The Indie’s article is at

Farage’s comments on the NHS are confused, and deliberately so. He has said repeatedly that he wishes to see it privatised and replaced with an insurance-based system, as in the US. So has his deputy leader, Oberleutnantsturmgangfuehrer Paul Nuttall, last seen this weekend ranting about ‘cultural Marxism’. Farage is also acutely aware that if he makes his intentions public, he will wipe out immediately any electoral gains he thinks he can make. So are his followers. The other Kippers even told him to shut up about it.

Hence he deliberate shows two faces – appearing both to support the NHS, while wanting everyone to denounce it and get private health insurance if they can.

Don’t be deceived. And as for his comments about breaking the taboo about saying only good things about the NHS, this is the line taken by the Repugs over the other side of the Atlantic. One Repug site was fuming about the inclusion of the NHS in the celebration of British history in the opening pageant at the London Olympics. This particular Republican site also loudly denounced the minimal state health provision in America, like Medicare and Medicaid, in which the state pays the medical bills of those too old or poor to have health insurance.

It is these people with whom Fuhrage was mixing when he turned up at CPAC the other week.

As for Prospect, the parapolitical magazine, Lobster, has pointed out that, despite its mildly left-wing appearance, it has more than a little similarity to the Encounter. This was another cultural magazine, that was revealed to be funded by the CIA as part of its cultural campaign against Russia and Communism.

Vox Political: Parents Forced to Starve as DWP Stops Child Cancer Victim’s Benefits

January 30, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has a particularly harrowing tale of the sheer callousness and vindictiveness of IDS from the Cambridge News. The DWP have stopped the disability payments made for a seven year old boy, Tommi Miller battling cancer, as he is getting better. His parents, Ruth and Kevin, are facing eviction because of the lack of money coming in, and have been forced to cut back on food and heating. This is despite the fact that the poor lad is still receiving radiation treatment and having weekly reviews. He has also relapsed.

Mike’s story is Boy battling cancer has benefits stopped. It’s at

There really is no depths to which the Tories and the DWP will not stoop.

What makes this particularly sickening is that IDS’ own wife was in the news a week or so ago. She had also suffered from cancer and fortunately made a good recovery. I don’t begrudge her returning to health, and indeed congratulate her on it. I despise her husband, however, for denying others the treatment and care his wife received during her illness. Mike reported about a week ago on his blog that the Tories had cancelled several cancer operations over the Christmas period. The suffering of this little lad and his family are another, direct result of RTU ‘Tosser’ Smith’s policies. They need to be ejected from power as soon and as swiftly as possible.

Vox Political: Terminally Ill Woman Placed on Workfare

December 16, 2014

Mike over at Vox Political has another example of the Tories’ and their workfare contractors’ absolutely vile attitude to the extremely ill. It’s a message he received from a woman dying of cancer. The lady is extremely ill, but nevertheless is glad to be alive. Despite numerous disabilities that in any sane society would be recognised as making her genuinely unfit for work, she received a letter from the workfare provider, Prospects, telling her that she must attend a work placement. Mike’s article has a photo of the letter.

The article’s entitled Dying woman ordered onto the Work Programme, and can be read at

This is just one of a continuing number of cases where seriously ill people have been told that their benefits are being stopped, as they have been judged ‘fit to work’. This farcically has even included messages sent to those, who died of their various diseases after being so assessed by ATOS. Which shows you that ATOS are a bunch of quacks, who if they weren’t hired by the government would be one step away from multiple malpractice suits. It also shows you that the assessment process itself is also a load of pseudo-medical bunkum every bit as fraudulent and pernicious as some of the medical frauds the BBC filmed peddling dubious ‘New Age’ healing techniques a few years ago.

Mike, Jayne Linney, Stilloaks and many other Left-wing bloggers have covered similar cases, which have also attracted the cynical attention and scathing comments of Pride’s Purge and Johnny Void. Private Eye in their pages published similar stories of people with terminal cancer being declared ‘fit for work’, including one man with a brain tumour on life support.

As for Prospects, if I remember correctly, they have a policy of treating their staff absolutely appallingly with no respect whatsoever for their own illness. A friend of mine told me of someone he knew, who took up a job with them. This person continued to work for the company during the time they had a stinking cold, for which most other firms would have allowed them time off to get over it. And, of course, not infect the rest of the staff.

Not so Prospect. They don’t like their workers going ill. You can take days off sick if you work for them, but the next day when you come back, you’re called in for an interview and asked how see your future with the company.

Which looks very much like the threat of the sack.

So the company is basically run by a bunch of bullies, who bully their staff into bullying the unemployed and terminally ill in an expanding pyramid of contempt and harassment. Which more or less typifies this government’s entire attitude to the poor and the working class.

Vote them out in 2015. All of them.

From 2011: Private Eye on Atos Throwing the Severely Disabled Off Benefits

April 11, 2014

This is from Private Eye’s edition for the 9th – 22nd December 2011.


Unfit For Purpose

The government’s proposal to stop GPs writing sick notes for long-term illness and hand the work to “independent assessors” has private companies rubbing their hands. Bit it has alarmed those who far that patients will have to endure the same type of tick-box assessments as those needing benefits, as carried out by Atos.

The huge French service company has been slated by MPs and charities over its health and capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, leading to wrong decisions in up to 40 percent of cases and causing “fear, anxiety and distress” to many disabled people.

Now an Atos insider tells the Eye that, under pressure from government to produce figures showing the number of claimants coming off benefits, coupled with competition to run the multi-million-pound contract, the situation may get worse. In the past 12 months a number of experienced doctors have left the company because they no longer want to part of a “target-driven” system that they say is unfair to the claimants and compromises their professionalism. One said it was “immoral”.

They have not apparently been replaced, and most medical assessments are now carried out by n8urses, who are less expensive – but would have fewer skills in musculo-skeletal disorders or mental illness, two of the main causes of disability.

For those who have been assessed by Atos, the result can be devastating. Secretary Debbie, 44, has been unable to work since a brain haemorrhage 14 years ago left her needing regular nerve-blocking injections into the head and intravenous drug treatment. She suffers from excruciating headaches and is partially sighted.

Her consultant detailed in a letter how her “excruciating” chronic cluster headaches and migraine were rated by the World Health Organisation as “one of the most disabling chronic disorders”. In August she saw an Atos assessor – a doctor, not a nurse – who appeared sympathetic. However, Debbie and her partner say the assessor then made false statements about the examination, saying an eye had been carried out when it hadn’t and bizarrely alleging that she self-harms, which she says she has never done.

The DWP then told Debbie her incapacity benefit would be replaced by employment support allowance (ESA) and that she must attend work-related activity group meetings (WRAG) seven miles from her home. If she fails to attend she will lose her benefits. She told the Eye: “my consultant, my GP, everyone says there’s no way I can work. I can’t see very well, I bang into things, I can’t even make a cup of tea without spilling boiling water. I can’t travel unattended … Yet according to Atos I’m able to work.” Having lost her appeal against having to attend the activity group, Debbie is to file a formal complaint about the Atos doctor to the General Medical Council.

Similarly, in April 2009, Mike, a 52-year-old academic, was found to have a brain tumour the size of a squash ball after he collapsed and had a massive seizure. Six weeks of radiotherapy reduced its size, and Mike has remained stable – although he relies on strong anti-convulsants to keep epilepsy, seizures and focal fits at bay – and is exhausted after short periods of mental or physical activity. Two months after the diagnosis he was ordered to attend an Atos assessment and was found to be capable of work.

Mike has found that the DWP had hidden information showing that people with terminal illness, like him, should not have had to undergo such an assessment, and that any assessment that does take place should be by an expert. But it took him two years of appeals to obtain his entitlements. His battle for compensation continues.

This confirms the other reports that Atos are instructed to find a certain percentage as fit for work, in order for them to be thrown off benefits. I’d also come across elsewhere the information that some of the doctors initially involved in the assessments had left because of its immorality and unprofessionalism. And from my own experience and those of some of the commenters here, and the reports of other bloggers like Jayne Linney I know that Atos lies and falsifies its medical reports to get the results it desires.

There is some useful information here for those seeking to challenge Atos. The article’s statement that terminally ill people should not have to undergo assessment may be of some help to some of the others challenging their assessments. Atos has a long history of declaring medically capable of finding work people so tragically afflicted. Jayne Linney has suggested that as many as 55,000 people a year may have died after being assessed by Atos. If only a small proportion of these were diagnosed as terminally ill by their doctors, then it means that Atos has been massively in breach of regulations. Which is probably why bloggers such as Mike over at Vox Political have been refused this information, and denounced as ‘vexatious’ by the DWP for daring to do so.

From 2011: Private Eye on the Boycott of the Paralympics because of Atos’ Sponsorship

April 10, 2014


There was huge outrage in 2011 and 2012 at Atos’ sponsorship of the Paralympics, because of the company’s vicious, punitive and cruel treatment of the disabled claimants it assessed. Private Eye reported on this in their issue for October 28, 2011.

Paralympic Boycott

What A Bunch of Atossers …

Disability campaigners are calling on athletes to boycott next summer’s Paralympics in London in protest of the involvement of Atos, the French outsourcing company.

Atos has been slated by MP’s, charities and others over its dire record in carrying out health and capability assessments for those on disability benefits – getting it wrong in up to 40 percent of cases and causing “fear, anxiety and distress” to may disabled people. Instead of ensuring that better assessments are carried out in the first place – perhaps by ending Atos’ multimillion contract – the government is proposing to axe the benefits of anyone who challenges an Atos decision during their appeal.

One person who would lose out is Jenny, 59, who worked as a teacher in state schools in Yorkshire for almost 40 years. When her son was born with profound disabilities she worked part-time so she could care for him. But then she developed fibromyalgia, a chronic condition affecting muscles and connecting tissue, involving severe pain, fatigue and spasms.

When she became incapable of caring for her son as a young adult, he had to be admitted to a care home. She finally gave up part-time teaching in 2009 after collapsing and is now unable even to use a keyboard. Whit her GP’s backing she received some disability living allowance – until last May, when Atos decided otherwise. She is appealing an Atos doctor’s claims to have examined her and found no muscle spasms or joint swellings, saying he didn’t even look at her hands, where her swollen joints were clearly visible.

Atos claims it contract is to look at what people can do, rather than diagnosing a condition. “For this reason, a thorough physical examination is not necessarily appropriate,” it said. Whit is why, no doubt, Atos has been accused of turning down people with advanced cancers and severe mental illness – and why it loses so many appeals.
These tribunals are estimated to cost up to £50m a year – paid by taxpayers and not out of the Atos budget.

That is why Scottish-based disability group Black Triangle and others are angry that Atos is running the IT for the Paralympics. The group claims Atos decisions and actions have been identified as factors at 16 suicide inquests in recent years. Indeed, the group was set up after the death of the Scottish writer and poet Paul Reekie, who left no suicide note but instead – according to campaigners – laid out a letter informing him his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

The response of Atos to such criticism has been to resort to m’learned friends. Black Triangle said it had to relocate its web server to Iceland after its original Facebook page was closed down. Phil Lockwood of Black Triangle said: “Although we respect all those athletes who wish to take part, they should be aware that ATos may use the event as a propaganda exercise.”

I put up a later piece from the Eye yesterday about Atos, which reported that a tribunal upheld Jenny’s appeal. The appeal judges found serious flaws and inconsistencies in Atos’ account, and in the end relied on information from Jenny’s doctor instead. Unfortunately, this does not affect Atos general policy of treating the poor and disabled with absolute contempt. Stilloaks has blogged a list of 45 people – who have either taken their lives or died in misery and grinding poverty through the company’s decision to declare them fit for work. Other bloggers, such as Jayne Linney, have suggested that as many as 55,000 people per year may have died after being assessed by the company. The true figures are unknown as the DWP refuses to release them after requests have been made under the Freedom of Information Act. And the bloggers, who have tried to obtain these facts, like Mike over at Vox Political, have been accused of being ‘vexatious’ by the Information Commissioner instead.

As for Atos, I know from my own personal experience and that of the people commenting on my blog that Atos lies and distorts the truth. I’ve even reblogged a video from a nurse, who worked for the company, on the way they were told to adhere to guidelines telling them what percentage of claims should be turned down. This is disgusting, and it’s high time the whole Work Capability Assessment was scrapped.

Atos Gets 150,000 Complaints from GPs and Blames the DWP

February 24, 2014

This is another piece on Atos that I’ve found on Youtube. It’s a report from Sky News, put up on the 18th October 2013, revealing that doctors have officially complained about the extra workload they are being placed under by people, who have been declared fit for work by Atos. They also reveal that the Citizens Advice Bureau had received 150,000 complaints about Atos. The report also covers the case of Mr Cowper, a man dying of cancer, who was nevertheless found fit for work by Atos. Mr Cowper is only one of tens of thousands. The precise number is unknown because the government repeatedly refuses to release the figures, claiming that such requests are ‘vexatious’. See the relevant posts over at Vox Political on Mike’s attempts to get the figures out of them.

Atos, however, are complaining that they have been victimised. Their vice-president, Wayne Gibson, turns up on the programme to state that they were working for the government for fifteen years with no protests. They feel that they have been scapegoated for the government’s policies.

Now I was first thrown off benefits when Blair/ Brown were in power. If I remember correctly, there were strong articles about Atos in Private Eye even then. Furthermore, the company cannot pass the blame wholly onto the Government. They chose to bid for the contract and administer the tests. No-one forced them. If they had an moral objections to the work, they could simply have withdrawn their services. Or, if their health care professionals are as highly trained and skilled as they said, they could have sought to change the test itself. They did not. Now I think the company is right in that the DWP must also share the blame, but this does not, by any means, excuse them.

If you want to see the video on Youtube, it’s at ‘Atos Gets 150,000 Complaints, Atos say DWP to Blame’ at

Another Angry Voice on Cameron’s Failure to Honour Nuclear Test Victims

February 20, 2014

David Cameron Divisiveness Nuclear Test Veterans

The Angry Yorkshireman has posted up another excellent article, ‘David Cameron and Divisiveness’, on Cameron’s refusal to recognise and honour the sacrifice and suffering endured by the thousands of British servicemen, who took part in nuclear tests. The article begins

In February 2014 David Cameron outright refused to recognise the sacrifices made by some 10,000 British military personnel that were exposed to intense levels of radiation during the 1950s and 1960s.

These men were ordered to do things like watch nuclear detonations at close range, fly aircraft through mushroom clouds, handle radioactive materials and explore blast zones, all with no protective gear.

Many hundreds have died of cancer and other radiation related illnesses but this isn’t even the most horrifying legacy. Due to the genetic damage these men sustained, the families of many of these men have been affected by birth defects, meaning that the legacy of suffering is continuing down the generations.

Many other countries have begun to recognise the suffering inflicted on their military personnel due to radiation exposure, but the United Kingdom steadfastly refuses to offer recompense to our nuclear veterans.

A pressure group of victims and their families called Fallout has been calling for some recognition for the nuclear veterans and their families, but their concerns have been stonewalled by the government.

The Fallout campaign group have asked for the creation of a £25 million benevolent fund to help descendents that are born with genetic illnesses, a campaign medal for nuclear test veterans and a “thank you” from the Prime Minister.
The government have refused to engage with the group, and David Cameron has refused to even publicly thank the surviving veterans, perhaps out of fear that the the slightest hint of recognition would be the first step on the path to awarding these men compensation, which would hardly be unprecidented given that the United States government have been compensating their nuclear test veterans.

David Cameron’s excuse for refusing to acknowledge the nuclear test victims is teeth grindingly bad, even by his appalling standards. Here’s what he said:

“It would be divisive to offer nuclear test veterans this level of recognition for being involved in this project, when those who have undertaken other specialist duties would not be receiving the same.

The full article is at It’s well worth reading.

This clearly is less of a reason than an excuse. The Irate Yorkshireman then goes on to show how it would not stop other servicemen, who have performed equally dangerous duties, from also demanding fair recognition for their sacrifices. He also states that Cameron’s statement is based on the same logic that saw the members of the Arctic Convoys to the Soviet Union during the War denied a medal for their great contribution to the war effort.

The Yorkshireman concluded:

The refusal to even thank these men, and David Cameron’s ludicrous “divisiveness” narrative are yet more demonstrations of the absolute contempt the Tories and the establishment classes have for the disposable “lower orders”.

This is undoubtedly at the heart of Cameron’s refusal to acknowledge their suffering – an aristocratic contempt for ‘commoners’ that sees them purely as cannon fodder, whose purpose is to obey without question their superiors, who must not be criticised for their mistakes, incompetence or indifference to the suffering of the men and women they command.

I also think there’s slightly more to it than that.

Opposition to Nuclear Power

Firstly, it strikes me that Cameron is probably afraid of reviving the remaining, smouldering anti-nuclear feelings. The nuclear industry is, after all, big business, and Cameron’s government has done its best to encourage further investment in nuclear energy and the construction of nuclear power stations. The French nuclear power company, that has been strongly supported by the British government in this, is due to start building another power stations at Hinckley point in Somerset, for example. The last thing the government wants is more protestors standing outside parliament, their council office and the power plants themselves waving placards and pointing to the possible health risks and dangers of nuclear power.

Fears of a CND Revival

Similarly, it also seems to me that Cameron is afraid of the lingering shadow cast by CND in the 1980s and 1950s, and the legacy of the women’s peace camp at Greenham Common. There is still considerable opposition to nuclear weapons despite the reduction in nuclear arms after the collapse of Communism and the ending of the Cold War. A little while ago there was some controversy when the government decided that it was going to acquire a few more, upgraded nuclear missiles for Britain’s defence. I doubt very much if Cameron and the rest of the Coalition want a revival of CND and more protestors camped outside British military bases.

Damage to Reputation and Wallets of British Government, Military and Civil Servants

Most of all, I suspect that what Dave and his party really fear is the possible damage to the reputation of past politicians and civil servants, and claims for compensation from the victims of the tests and their families. British officialdom’s culture of secrecy always appeared to me to have a very strong element of the ruling classes trying to protect themselves and their pensions from criticism and attack from the people their decisions have harmed. By acknowledging the sacrifice and suffering of these servicemen, it strikes me that Cameron is also afraid this would mean that the government accepts, if only partly, its responsibility for their legacy of health problems and the congenital diseases passed on to their children. This could lead to claims for compensation, possible prosecution of the politicians, civil servants and senior military staff behind the policy.

Polynesian Victims of Nuclear Tests

Such dissatisfaction and litigation would not just be confined to British servicemen. I believe that some of the Polynesian islands, where the British tested their nuclear bombs were inhabited before the tests. Their indigenous peoples were forcible removed from their homes. The intense levels of radioactivity left by the tests has meant that they cannot return. They are permanently exiled from their native soil and the land of their ancestors. It is possible that Cameron fears that if he acknowledges the debt the government owes its servicemen for their part in the nuclear tests, these indigenous peoples would also raise embarrassing and expensive demands from the British government for the suffering they have endured through displacement and exile from their destroyed island homes.

Unethical Nuclear Testing on Civilians in America and Possibly Oz

I also wonder if Cameron is also afraid that questions about the activities of the British military for experimentation on its servicemen would stop there. IN the 1990s when the American files on nuclear testing were fully opened to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, it also revealed some highly unethical and monstrous experiments by the American armed forces and their civilian masters on the poor and disadvantaged, including those from ethnic minorities. I remember reading an article in New Scientist about this, circa 1995. The article reported the case where an Indian woman was taken into what she believed was a specialist hospital for treatment for her condition. In fact it was a secret nuclear facility, and the scientists were actually injecting her with radioactive material in order to test its effect on the human body. I’ve also got a feeling that some of those involved in this project may, like so many other scientist, have come from the Third Reich. There were also allegations a little while ago in Australia that the British and Aussie authorities used severely mentally retarded people as test subjects during nuclear bomb tests Down Under. Others have looked into this and found that there is absolutely no evidence that these people were used in this way. Nevertheless, there is the lingering question of whether the British civilian and military authorities also carried on similar, unethical experiments in the general British population.

Germ Warfare at Porton Down

And not just nuclear experiments. Questions have also been raised about the biological warfare experiments conducted by Porton Down. These have included injecting servicemen with a potentially lethal disease, which the troops were told was merely influenza, in order to test the possible results of biological warfare. They have also released various strains of ‘flu into the general population in order to research the progress of germ weapons through the British population. At least one person may have died as a result. As with the victims of the nuclear tests, this raises issues of the morality of the experiments themselves, the ethical culpability of the scientists administering the tests and the military and civilian authorities responsible for them. The victims of these tests may also possibly be liable for compensation in the same way as the victims of the nuclear tests. They also raise the same questions about what other experiments went on under secrecy at Porton Down.

Acknowledgement of Soldier’s Role in Nuclear Tests Raises Doubts about Culpability of Entire Establishment in Nuclear and Biological Experimentation

This is what Cameron clearly fears is divisive: the possibility that, simply by acknowledging the sacrifice and suffering of the military victims of British nuclear testing and their families, he could be opening the door for further questions about the government’s wider nuclear policy for defence and energy, questions and possible claims for compensation and prosecution by the Polynesian peoples, whose homes and traditional way of life has been destroyed by imperialist militarism, as well as possible demands for the investigation of germ warfare experiments by Porton Down. And behind those is the issue of whether even further, darker, and completely immoral nuclear and biological experimentation has been carried out by the British government on its poor, disabled and non-White, as was done in America.

And worst of all, there would be immense damage to the reputation, careers and pensions of the senior military officers, civil servants and MPs responsible for this, as well as the commercial damage to the firms that manufactured these weapons. And in Cameron’s rarefied world of aristocratic and upper middle class privilege, that’s the real threat. We really can’t have the proles questioning their superiors and putting them on trial, can we?


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