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15 Easter Saturday
Threat to Medical Care
Appeal from Jill & Ian Harris
Medical practitioners who are providing care to addiction patients, at Stapleford Centres in London and Essex, are to appear before the General Medical Council (GMC) in the autumn of 2004. In recent years the GMC, which is not lawfully constituted to deal with such practitioners, has dealt harshly with them, frequently finding them guilty of serious professional misconduct for giving treatment for drug-addiction (in particular heroin), and applying punishments preventing their continuing care of patients. Once such a trial has started, we understand that it is difficult for patients to influence the course of events, or the subsequent maintenance of care programmes.
determined to take action, to secure justice for
those patients. We have taken legal advice and understand we must act
to protect their interests, possibly by seeking an injunction in advance, against the
GMC. And in that context, it would be
very valuable to have additional patient support, enabling us to enter into a
Multi-Party Action (MPA, or "Class" action) against the Council. It is possible that Legal Aid will be available
for an action such as this. We are also
advised by the Health and Law Organisation (HALO), a body established to help
patients and practitioners achieve justice against the GMC.
Council Election Special
The countdown for the 10 June Council elections has started. I have been adopted as the prospective Labour candidate for Swansea's Oystermouth Ward, in Mumbles - if you are a fellow political activist, follow my -
Roll up! Roll up!
Here’s a new function, for Politico Pages – politico recruitment! The Fabian Society is currently recruiting for two good politico posts – a £30,000 pa Research Director, and a £19,000 pa Editor, for Fabian Review. Both extremely interesting and challenging appointments. You would be right at the heart of Westminster, well connected in Government circles, just minutes from Parliament. Closing date? 26 April 2004
PS If, without joining, you would like to be added to the monthly Fabian Update e-mail list, just e-mail Fabian Research
The uncivilised Irish
I consider that the Irish State has taken a wrong turning, with its 100% ban on smoking in all public places. My Liberal Socialism takes me, I readily admit, into some strange byways. But I am quite certain that a civilised society should not deploy the full force of criminal law, and of heavyweight mandatory enforcement, against its own citizens in this way.
For Tony Blair, "choice" is a means not an end...
I want to say a word in defence of Tony Blair. Because I believe him to be - contrary to his own assertions - shallower that he seems. And that is to his credit. I can understand the shallow Blair: he just does not "do" profundity very well. Martin Kettle, writing in The Guardian, took Blair to task for his commitment to the promotion of "choice" in public services - but I think Martin Kettle has misread Blair's position.
I am organising a Fabian Study Tour to
Berlin, to arrive on the very first day of the new enlarged European Union
"Organising" is one service which we older citizens can offer to the busier, younger generations. And I have enlisted the help of a Fabian travel author Neil Taylor (and retired travel agent) whose guidance has been invaluable - you can buy his Berlin Handbook online, you will find a rich range of travel guides and advice, including Neil Taylor's work, at www.footprintbooks.com.
The Fabians are a great, enlightened Left-Wing political community some 7,000-strong - and we have many skills among our number.
Mass Actionon Drugs
planned for May Day
European drugs-reform campaigners are planning mass marches on May Day. I am delighted to hear of the work of ENCOD, a Europe-wide grouping of drugs reform campaigns, targeting the infamous UN Conventions which prevent any liberalising initiatives in this field, enforcing adherence to crass prohibition.
Left Activists' Corner
I have three moderately-left political projects to engage your interest, in 2004 - nothing too revolutionary, you understand - and for your delight I retain the Royal Mail stamps for February, which are light-hearted and good fun...
I love the online newspapers, which are my access to the world - share them with me - click through to their here - I have added the English-language China Daily ... and I now offer you the leading English-language Indian paper The Hindu.
Read reactions of Australian Migration Agent Mike Davis, who wrote upon hearing the news of Beverley Hughes' fall from office > see below.
Last year, on Good Friday 2003, we were all just digesting a "late" Budget Speech from Gordon Brown (as I remember, because of the intervening birth of his child...) He gave an excellent summary of the outlines of the modern economy.
Where are they?
This is a simple political webpage.Liberal Socialist in character, seeking to work within, and to influence, the UK Labour Party. But where are the others, outside Parliament? MPs are of course funded for their websites - that's one of the great advantages of a professional political career. Those MP-websites represent a real deepening of the quality of our democracy, albeit still with huge unrealised potential.
Yet I have not yet discovered my rank-and-file counterparts, in the Conservative, LibDem or Celtic Nationalist Parties. Can anyone tell me where to find them? Where are the other “Politico Pages”?
The City continues to be racked by disputes over Board remuneration. But those debates contain the key to a more equitable system of job security for everyone. The denizens of the City have much to teach the rest of us.
Attention has focused in particular on the contractual notice-periods which executive Board members have been awarded, or awarded themselves.The reason? In the case of redundancy (e.g. a hostile takeover) each senior manager must receive in compensation at least the pay due for his notice-period. Thus it had become common for two- and three-year notice clauses to be included in senior contracts of employment, just as it has with football-club managers.
Shareholders have been outraged, and stung into protest. The latest casualty is the Tesco Chief Executive Terry Leahy, who has had his two-year notice period cut to one-year. And I hope that many more such cuts will follow
Beverley Hughes should have been protected, not by beleaguered senior Ministers (Blunkett, Blair) but by her own civil servants, her own Sir Humphreys. But the Civil Service is not what it was. In designing an administrative procedure which relied on the preparation, by Romanian and Bulgarian craftsmen, of self-employment "business plans", the Home Office was sowing the seeds of its Ministers' own destruction.
Because business plans are an entirely inappropriate base, for any rational scheme of administration. The Government has got into hot water, yet again, merely because of the incompetence of its own Civil Service.
Read reactions of Australian Migration Agent Mike Davis, who wrote upon hearing the news of Beverley Hughes' fall from office...
If you are a LIBERTY Member
And I also ask youto consider throwing your weight behind the human rights cause... You can sign up here
....that's my policy
The brutal truth is that prison has never worked. Ever. When in the 1840s the Victorians ran out of penal colony options, and execution became less acceptable for minor crimes, the rapidly-growing Victorian State was desperate to dispose of its criminals in other ways. Bereft of ideas, they built prisons, starting in the 1850s - many of them the very same ghastly buildings which endure today, now grossly over-crowded.
But it will never work. Imprisonment is a counsel of despair, without coherent rationale of any kind. Cherie Blair has called for the imprisonment of fewer women. But we also imprison too many children, too many intoxicant-addicts, too many of the mentally ill and too many of the educationally backward. Our imprisonment rate is by far the highest in Europe.
We are challenged to develop new methods, new social philosophies. On all sides, evidence accumulates of the failures of prohibition.
Extending the Welfare State >>>
Territorial v Membership States >>>
Labour improves Housing Benefit >>>
Universal Inheritance: Capital for all >>>
LIBRI Rescuing public libraries >>>
Housing Crisis My prescription >>>
Managing LIBERTY Elections >>>
IRAQ What I think now... >>>
Letter from an Atheist >>>
Old politicians have six options >>>
Voters are perceptive not apathetic >>>
Or try my snappier and more practical analysis of the Corporations and the Left Coming to Terms
15 Easter Saturday
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