Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Hunt’

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria – five protests that I photographed on
Saturday 4th June 2016.


Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid – PC World, Tottenham Court Road

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

A protest outside PC World on Tottenham Court Rd was one of around 20 actions around the UK held to raise awareness of Hewlett Packard’s heavy involvement the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people and encourage a boycott of HP.

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

HP provides the biometric system used for ID cards used to control movement of Palestinians inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory, technology for the Israeli military and supporting the illegal settlements.

Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid


March to save NHS student bursaries

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

NHS students and supporters marched from St Thomas’s Hospital to the Department of Health in Whitehall along a route over Waterloo Bridge where there was a brief sit-down, and along the Strand to Charing Cross, where they were joined by disabled protesters who went with them to a rally in front of the Dept of Health at Richmond House on Whitehall.

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria
Cecilia Anim, Royal College of Nursing President

Student bursaries are essential for nursing students as they have to spend 50% of their course working in the NHS and unlike other students are unable to work part-time to support themselves. Their work as students is important in keeping the NHS running and the bursaries also allow mature entrants to the profession to train.

Our current nursing shortage is in part due to the ridiculous decision by Jeremy Hunt who ignored the nursing unions and almost everyone else in making the cut. He claimed that removing the bursary would mean that there would be up to 10,000 more training places. In fact the number accepting places on nursing courses in 2018 dropped to its lowest level for five years, 8% less than when bursaries were available. The maintenance grant was reinstated in 2020, leading to an increase in student numbers, particularly in those over 30, where the increase was around 40%.

March to save NHS student bursaries

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries

Danielle Toplady (right) supports Helen Corry as her mother makes a passionate speech in support of nurses

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries


Call for a Greater Hungary – Downing St

Hungarian nationalists marched to Downing St calling for the restoration of the pre-1920 borders of Hungary, including the Székely Land in Romania.

The right-wing Jobbik party or Movement for a Better Hungary has grown considerably in support and in 2018 became the second largest party in the National Assembly and is often accused of seeking the restoration of the borders before the 1920 Trianon Treaty. Around a quarter of ethnic Hungarians live outside of Hungary and many suffer discrimination because of their culture and language. But according to Wikipedia, “Jobbik has never suggested changing borders by force, and believes that the ultimate solution is territorial and cultural autonomy within a European Union framework of minority rights.

Call for a Greater Hungary


Congo Massacre protest – Downing St

The Patrice Lumumba Coalition protested opposite Downing St after the massacre last month of 120 people in Beni, North Kivu, Congo. They say that since 2014, 1000 people have been horrifically murdered in the region, despite the presence of a UN army and the Congolese armed forces.

They blame the massacres in Congo which have resulted in over 10 million being killed on the US-backed overthrow of the Mobutu regime and the support by the US, UK, Belgium and Canada of President Museveni in Uganda and President Kagame in Rwanda, whose proxy armies and militia groups attack the Congolese. This war is driven by multinational corporations to provide the mineral reserves of the Congo, gold, oil, tin and particularly coltan, essential for the production of smart phones, laptops and other electronic gadgets.

The UK backs the genocide with around £500m a year in support of Congo’s President Kabila, and £90m to prop up the Rwandan regime. They want those responsible for backing the genocide – including Tony Blair and the Clintons as well as African leaders to be brought to justice.

Congo Massacre protest


Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer – Downing St

Syrians at Downing St called on the UK and international community to take urgent action to end the siege of Alwaer and 50 other besieged towns in Syria. People are without electricity, drinking water, food, fuel, and medical care and are at risk of dying from malnutrition

Alwaer, a town of more than 100,000 people, has been under siege by Syrian government forces for over 3 years and many have been killed and others are suffering disease. Assad’s forces are carrying out a systematic and deliberate policy of starvation of civilians, a war crime in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer


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Doctors and Blood Diamonds – 2016

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Doctors and Blood Diamonds – 2016

There is no real connection I’m aware of between doctors and blood diamonds other than the fact I photographed both protests on 6th February 2016 – and I thought it made a nice headline.

Valentines Israeli Blood Diamonds protest

My working day started on Old Bond Street in Mayfair, an area of London I generally try to avoid, packed with businesses which represent the true scum on the capitalist system and their customers largely representing those most successful at exploiting the system and the great majority of the population. While the City of London is still the world capital of dodgy financial management, Mayfair is where much of the more commercial aspects of our current system ply their trade.

There are no diamonds mined in Israel, but diamonds are Israel, largest manufacturing export – then at around $10 billion a year and contributing around $1 billion a year to Israeli military and security industries. In a direct connection the Steinmetz Diamonds Group which supplies companies including De Beers and Tiffany supports the Israeli Givati Brigade through the Steinmetz Foundation. One banner was a message from the Samouni family, 29 of whom were killed by the Givati Brigade in 2008 in cold blood.

A week before St Valentines Day, protesters stood outside diamond sellers including De Beers and Tiffanys with banners urging people not to buy engagement rings these shops that sell rings using diamonds from Israel’s Steinmetz Diamonds Group.


Junior Doctors Rally & March

I left for the short walk to Waterloo Place, where Junior Doctors and supporters were gathering for a rally against against the imposition of new contracts they say will destroy the NHS and make it unsafe for patients. Supporting them were many other medical professionals – consultants, GPs, nurses and others – who all saw the contract as a part of an attack on the NHS to move towards a privatised medical system.

Speaker after speaker – including Dame Vivienne Westwood, her son Ben, and Vanessa Redgrave as well as many medical professionals – stressed how Health Minister Jeremy Hunt Hunt was misleading the media and public about the need for changes in the contract, carefully selecting evidence that supports his case while ignoring the much wider evidence against it.

Dame Vivienne Westwood and Vanessa Redgrave at the rally

Among the many placards were those naming doctors who had already left the NHS to work abroad, with the message ‘You’ve driven me out Jeremy… Stop bleeding the NHS dry’. Others named junior doctors supporting of the protest who were unable to attend the protest because they were working in what is already a 24 hour 7 day profession.

The protesters marched to Downing St where they sat down blocking the road wearing surgical masks while a deputation went into Downing St to deliver a message to the prime minister; they emerged a few minutes later to announce that the people inside No 10 had refused to accept any message from them.

We have seen in the current pandemic how this and other changes made in recent years have put the NHS under severe strain. As I wrote in 2016:

Of course it isn’t just junior doctors; new income rules for immigrant workers are likely to lead to up to 30,000 nurses being deported, and the cutting of bursaries for nurses and now proposed for all other medical courses will have disastrous effects. Add to this the effects of PFI which is bankrupting hospitals leading to privatisations and its hard not to see the end of the NHS as we have known it as inevitable.

It’s almost certainly too late to save the NHS in its current incarnation. The only solution is the kind of radical change that happened before under Nye Bevan and others to create a new NHS. But for that we would need a new revitalised Labour party in power – or a people’s revolution. Don’t hold your breath – and don’t get old or ill.


More on both protests on My London Diary
Junior Doctors Rally & March
Valentines Israeli Blood Diamonds protest


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NHS Victory Parade in Lewisham: 2013

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Among years of gloom for the NHS, under various reorganisations which have furthered the Tory project for privatisation a few bright spots have stood out, mainly where local people have stood up and fought to retain NHS hospitals and their services. One of these was celebrated on 14th September 2013, when the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign held a community march through Lewisham past the hospital to a free celebration in Ladywell Fields of their High Court victory which overturned the government closure plans.

The government had planned to close most of Lewisham Hospital, a hospital serving a large area of South London simply to allow the NHS to continue to make massive PFI repayments due from the building of other London hospitals at Woolwich and Orpington through contracts that were badly negotiated under a Labour government when interest rates were high; these contracts had already by 2013 delivered huge profits to the banks with payments of over £60m a year.

The popular campaign was also backed by the London Borough of Lewisham and both the council and the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign went separately to the High Court for judicial review of the decision by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – and both were successful.

A new Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust was established in October 2013 as it states “following a period of intense controversy” and after early problems claims to have made considerable progress in maintaining a good service at the two hospitals in Lewisham and Woolwich including 24/7 emergency services at both as well as some other services in the area.

There had been previous large protests against the closure plans – which I photographed in November 2012 and January 2013 along with a couple of smaller events. But rather fewer came for the victory celebrations, which were led by a council dustcart with large posters on it. Behind the marchers were a couple of nurses in uniforms that they wore to take part in the Olympic opening ceremony, along with a small street band.

The parade ended in Ladywell Fields behind the hosptial, with live music, dancing and a children’s dance competition, although it and the parade were a little dampened by the continual light rain. But it was a good day for the people of Lewisham and for those of us who support an NHS free at the point of service, for “everyone – rich, or poor, man, woman or child” to “relieve your money worries in times of illness”.

Although they were celebrating victory, Jeremy Hunt had then yet to concede defeat, announcing the government would appeal against the decision. I think his advisers probably told him there seemed no chance an appeal would succeed and any appeal would simply waste public money. Eventually the policy was dropped.


Lewisham Hospital Victory Parade

See also:

Save A&E at Lewisham Hospital – Nov 2012
Save Lewisham Hospital – Jan 2013


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