IT’S A SILENCE THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES.
I mean, I hadn’t heard a word, not officially that is, from the Constitutional Unit though, to give them their due, I’d been on holiday two days when the story broke. Might be the eccentricities of our privatised post - but you’d think if The Unit really wanted to contact me, they might have tried to find, among countless emails sent from the Labour Party asking for money and support, a phone or email contact. They haven’t, and obviously didn’t.
And maybe you’d think someone in The Unit would have informed me before the Jewish Chronicle, giving me news of my suspension first so I could (at least in part) be prepared for being unmasked as a racist.
So – how did it happen?
Seems like someone using rules no one seems to know much about got a call from the nice reporter on the Jewish Chronicle, that well-known friend of the British left and beacon in the struggle for equal rights (regardless of colour or creed) across the globe.
And notwithstanding my well known record of fighting racism, my experience as a victim of racism and my ongoing vulnerability (being a black, Jewish activist living in an area with a UKIP council where fascists march the streets regularly not 20 miles away), The Unit took decisive action in defence of anti-racist activists everywhere and suspended me.
So, how has it been since?
Well, quite a trip but I’ve made decisions. I will never apologise for being an Internationalist, for holding all life as precious, for not valorising one genocide, one holocaust, over any other. And if you ask if I think anti-Semitism is a major problem in the Labour Party I would give almost the same response as the one I was suspended for – 'No' but with one amendment: anti-Semitism is not a major problem, the suspension process is.
I’ve been told I should perhaps be careful of what I say. After all, my words have already been twisted, mashed and mangled. Leaving aside the Jewish Chronicle, papers like the Guardian and Mail have accused me of crimes as heinous as supporting the leader of the Labour Party.
Commentators on TV and social media have fallen over themselves to carefully select half sentences and taken out of context quotes to support their own slapdash, anti-Labour, anti the present leadership, rhetoric. People who know nothing of me, and have barely read more than libelous headlines from the Jewish Chronicle (“Labour suspends Momentum supporter who claimed Jews caused an African holocaust”), have decided that I’m just one of many ‘Jew-hating luminaries’ on the left. Their bile is only matched by the sight of our local fascist thug grinning at me on a Facebook post, gloating at what he sees as my ‘sacking from the Labour Party’. Many thanks, Constitutional Unit.
Then there’s the, at times, craven, at other times complicit, response from some that also breeds a silence.
The fear in my CLP is palpable; McCarthyism lives and with the same purpose - the destruction of the left. In this way Israeli propagandists and their fellow travellers, who conscientiously use every minute of their working day and probably more, to uncover racists as rabid as me, are left with a clear run to get on with their dirty work.
But what explanation for this increasing convergence between Zionists, the right of the Labour Party, the Tories and our right wing media? Of course, most want to destabilise and undermine the left - but they’re after much more. Is it coincidence that Sadiq Khan, new London Mayor, full of his new found fame, has already met with the Israeli Ambassador for talks that it is suggested may lead to greater trade links with Israel? And let’s face it, the forces of reaction have succeeded to the point where we find ourselves, even on the left, discussing whether we dare use the term Zionist ever, in any situation, again. Really?!
Can you imagine if we were talking about China in relation to Tibet or… anywhere else in the world. ‘An attack on freedom of speech’ we would protest! ‘Why don’t people speak up?’ And that’s what we should be doing now – all of us, whatever our political allegiance.
We have a Commission into anti-Semitism, but let’s ensure it takes on the concerns of oppressed and under-represented groups in the Party as well, otherwise we may fracture, not unify, sowing the seeds of an alienation with non-Jewish minorities which could cost the Party dear in future. I call on all representatives and individuals from minority groups to contribute to the Commission with enthusiasm and diligence.
As for myself, I will not be silenced.
After all, I’m not just campaigning for me. I will continue to speak against the present process, against the particularity of its attack upon the left. I will continue to speak in defence of all minorities, including Jewish people, wherever I can. I will fight for the ideals of free speech, for the validity of anti-Zionism as a political perspective– ideals which have been a fundamental part of my commitment to the labour movement.
‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, Dylan Thomas said of death, and while suspension from the Labour Party is by no means the end of all things politically or otherwise, in this I take his advice very much to heart.
[Update Saturday BBC News - Zika crisis: WHO rejects 'move Rio Olympics' call]
We are writing to express our concern about the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. WHO’s declaration of Zika as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” coupled with new scientific findings that underscore the seriousness of that problem, call for the Rio 2016 Games to be postponed and/or moved to another location—but not cancelled—in the name of public health.
We make this call despite the widespread fatalism that the Rio 2016 Games are inevitable or “too big to fail”. History teaches this is wrong: the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Olympic Games were not just postponed, but cancelled, and other sporting events were moved because of disease, as Major League Baseball did for Zika, and the Africa Cup of Nations did for Ebola.
Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games. We agree with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation that workers should “Consider delaying travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission”.1 If that advice were followed uniformly, no athlete would have to choose between risking disease and participating in a competition that many have trained for their whole lives.
Our greater concern is for global health. The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before. An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic. Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great. It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved.
In our view, several new scientific findings require WHO to reconsider its advice on the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For example:
Because Zika is a new emergency, its many uncertainties—of travel flows during the Games, of epidemiology, and of entomology—currently make it impossible for mathematical models to predict the epidemic’s course accurately. Therefore, for now, any decision about Zika and the Games has to be more qualitative than quantitative. If one considers the following options:
(a) Holding the Games in Rio in 2016 as scheduled;
(b) Holding the Games in Rio at a later date after Zika is controlled, and;
(c) Holding the Games at Zika-free sites having Olympic-standard facilities.
It is indisputable that option (a) of holding the Games as scheduled has a greater risk of accelerating the spread of the Brazilian viral strain than the alternatives. Postponing and/or moving the Games also mitigates other risks brought on by historic turbulence in Brazil’s economy, governance, and society at large—which are not isolated problems, but context that makes the Zika problem all but impossible to solve with the Games fast approaching.
We are concerned that WHO is rejecting these alternatives because of a conflict of interest. Specifically, WHO entered into an official partnership with the International Olympic Committee, in a Memorandum of Understanding that remains secret.17 There is no good reason for WHO not to disclose this Memorandum of Understanding, as is standard practice for conflicts of interest. Not doing so casts doubt on WHO’s neutrality, for reasons described further in the Appendix.
WHO must revisit the question of Zika and postponing and/or moving the Games. We recommend that WHO convene an independent group to advise it and the IOC in a transparent, evidence-based process in which science, public health, and the spirit of sport come first. Given the public health and ethical consequences, not doing so is irresponsible.
Signatories follow in alphabetical order, and represent individuals, not their institutions
Appendix and references at the end
Authors: Prof. Amir Attaran (University of Ottawa: email@example.com) Prof. Arthur Caplan (New York University, USA: firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr. Christopher Gaffney (University of Zürich: email@example.com), Prof. Lee Igel (New York University, USA: firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Prof. Akira Akabayashi, Department of Biomedical Ethics, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
2. Prof. Paul S. Appelbaum, Director, Division of Law, Ethics & Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, USA
3. Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah, Department of Philosophy, NYU Law, New York University, New York, USA
4. Prof. Thalia Arawi, Founding Director, Salim El-Hoss Bioethics & Professionalism Program, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
5. Prof. Amir Attaran, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Community Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada
6. Ms. Stephanie Augustine, Researcher, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, USA
7. Prof. Robert Baker, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Schenectady, USA
8. Dr. Alison Bateman-House, Division of Medical Ethics, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA
9. Prof. Frances Batzer, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA
10. Prof. Angelica M. Baylon, External Relations Director, Maritime Academy of Asia, Kamaya Point, Philippines
11. Prof. Solly Benatar, Founding Director, University of Cape Town Bioethics Centre, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa 12. Prof. Cecilia Benoit, Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
13. Mr. Edward J. Bergman, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
14. Prof. Kenneth Berkowitz, Department of Population Health and Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, New York University, New York, USA
15. Prof. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health Human Resources Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
16. Prof. Marie A. Bragg, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA
17. Dr Berit Bringedal, Senior Researcher, Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession, Oslo, Norway
18. Prof. Amy Brown, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, New York Medical College, Valhalla, USA
19. Prof. Arthur L. Caplan, Division of Medical Ethics, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
20. Dr. Rhyddhi Chakraborty, Researcher, Philosophical Bioethics, Global Public Health and Social Justice, American University of Sovereign Nations, USA.
21. Prof. Theeraphap Chareonviriyaphap, Department of Entomology, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand
22. Prof. Cheryl Cline, Office of Bioethics, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.
23. Dr. Catherine Constable, Instructor, Department of Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
24. Prof. Glenn Cohen, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA
25. Prof. Patrick Derr, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Clark University, Worcester, USA
26. Prof. Débora Diniz, Faculty of Law, Universidade de Brasília, and Bioethics Program, FIOCRUZ, Brasília and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
27. Prof. Ames Dhai, Director, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
28. Dr. Hasan Erbay, MD. PhD., Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Afyon Kocatepe University Faculty of Medicine, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey.
29. Prof. Eric Feldman, Health Policy and Medical Ethics, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, USA
30. Dr. Holly Fernandez-Lynch, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, Harvard University, USA
31. Prof. Chris Feudtner, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Medical Ethics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
32. Dr. Christopher Gaffney, Department of Geography, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
33. Prof. William Gardner, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
34. Prof. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, Princeton, USA
35. Prof. Grover Gilmore, Dean, Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA
36. Prof. Moti Gorin, Director, Jann Benson Ethics Center, Colorado State University, USA
37. Prof. Linda Granowetter, Department of Pediatrics, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
38. Prof. Abhik Gupta, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, School of Environmental Sciences, Assam (Central) University, Silchar, India.
39. Prof. Sally Guttmacher, College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, USA
40. Prof. Negin Hajizadeh, Department of Medicine, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Hofstra University, Hempstead, USA.
41. Mr. George Halvorson, Chief Executive (Retired) Kaiser Permanente, and Chair, InterGroup Understanding, Sausalito, USA
42. Prof. Deborah S. Hamm, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA
43. Prof. Alice Herb, Division of Humanities in Medicine at State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, New York, USA
44. Prof. Søren Holm, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester, UK.
45. Prof. Lee H. Igel, Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business, New York University, New York, USA
46. Prof. Judy Illes, Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
47. Dr. Mahmood-uz- Jahan, M.D., PhD., Director, Bangladesh Medical Research Council, Dhaka, Bangladesh
48. Prof. Dale Jamieson, Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, New York University, New York, USA
49. Prof. Yeremias Jena, M. Phil., M.Sc, Professor of Medical Ethics at Atma Jaya School of Medicine, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.
50. Prof. Steven Joffe, Vice-Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA
51. Prof. Ken Johnson, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada
52. Prof. Nora Jones, Associate Director, Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Polic, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
53. Prof. Therese Jones, Associate Director, Center for Bioethics and Humanities, Director, Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, USA
54. Prof. Matthias A. Karajannis, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
55. Prof. Douglas I. Katz, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Braintree, USA
56. Prof. Ralph V. Katz, Professor of Epidemiology, Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology F.A.C.E.), and Founding Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, New York University, New York, USA
57. Ms. Lisa Kearns, Research Associate, Division of Medical Ethics, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
58. Prof. Aaron Seth Kesselheim, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Boston, USA
59. Dr. Abbas Kharabi, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
60. Dr. Robert Klitzman, Professor of Psychiatry, Director, Masters of Bioethics Program Columbia University, New York, USA
61. Prof. Craig Klugman, Chair, Department of Health Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, USA
62. Prof. Adam Kolber, Center for Health, Science, and Public Policy, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, USA
63. Prof. Craig Konnoth, Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, USA
64. Prof. Ralph A. Korpman, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, USA
65. Dr. Ronald L. Krall, Center for Bioethics and Health Law, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA
66. Prof. Sheldon Krimsky, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning, Department of Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, USA
67. Prof. John Lantos, Director of Pediatric Bioethics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, USA
68. Prof. John Last, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
69. Prof. Stephen Latham, Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University, New Haven, USA
70. Dr. Thuy Le, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
71. Prof. Arthur Leader, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
72. Mr. Leonard leBlanc, Research Fellow, Eubios Ethics Institute, Japan.
73. Prof. Trudo Lemmens, Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
74. Prof. Betty Wolder Levin, School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York, New York, USA
75. Prof. Bruce Levin, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA
76. Prof. Ariane Lewis, Department of Neurology and Department of Neurosurgery, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
77. Dr. Ana Lita, Director, Global Bioethics Initiative, New York, USA
78. Prof. Julian Little, Director, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
79. Prof. Sergio Litewka, Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, USA
80. Prof. Alex John London, Director, Center for Ethics and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
81. Prof. Darryl Macer, Ph.D., Hon.D. President, American University of Sovereign Nations, Arizona, USA; Director, Eubios Ethics Institute, Christchurch, New Zealand
82. Prof. Tim Mackey, Director, Global Health Policy Institute, Department of Anaesthesology and Public Health, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, USA
83. Prof. Ruth Macklin, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, New York, USA.
84. Prof. Cheryl Macpherson, Bioethics Department, St George’s University School of Medicine, True Blue, Grenada
85. Prof. Brian Martin, Director, Graduate Program in Public Health, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, USA
86. Prof. Thomas Mayo, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, USA
87. Mr. Michael Mawadri, Emergency Coordinator with Action for Development (AFOD) in South Sudan, South Sudan
88. Prof. James McCartney (Reverend, Order of St. Augustine), Department of Philosophy, Villanova University, Villanova, USA
89. Prof. John Merz, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
90. Mr. Alan Milstein, Sports Attorney, Sherman, Silverstein, Kohl, Rose & Podolsky, Moorestown, USA
91. Prof. Christine Mitchell, Executive Director, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
92. Prof. Jonathan D. Moreno, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
93. Prof. Dr. Martin Müller, Department of Geography, University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
94. Prof. Carin Muhr, Department of Medical Science, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
95. Prof. Anna Nolan, Department of Environmental Medicine , Department of Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
96. Prof. Stjepan Oreskovic, Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
97. Prof. Brendan Parent, Division of Medical Ethics and Co-Director NYU Sports and Society Program, New York University, New York, USA
98. Prof. Shamina Parvin Lasker, Head of Department of Anatomy, Samorita Medical College; Secretary General, Bangladesh Bioethics Society, Dhaka, Bangladesh.99. Prof. Pasquale Patrizio, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
100. Prof. Sean Philpott-Jones, Department of Bioethics, Clarkson University, Schenectady, NY
101. Dr. Carolyn Plunkett, Division of Medical Ethics, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
102. Prof. Stephen G. Post, Department of Family, Population & Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, USA
103. Prof. Kathleen Powderly, Director, John Conley Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, USA
104. Prof. Duncan Purves, Environmental Studies and Bioethics, New York University, New York, USA
105. Prof. Vojin Rakic, Founding Director, Center for the Study of Bioethics, Head of the European Division of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, University of Belgrade, Serbia
106. Prof. Vardit Ravitsky, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
107. Prof. Avad Raz, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, Israel
108. Prof Kathleen Reeves, Director, Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
109. Prof. Donald R. Roberts, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, USA
110. Dr. Philip Rubin, Principal Assistant Director (Retired), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President of the United States, New Haven, USA
111. Prof William Ruddick, Founding Director, Center for Bioethics, New York University, New York, USA
112. Prof. Maya Sabatello, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, USA
113. Dr. Mojgan Saleuhipour, Faculty of Biomedicine, South Baylo University, CA, USA
114. Prof. Judit Sandor, Director of the Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
115. Prof. Pamela L. Sankar, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
116. Prof. Arthur Schaefer, Founding Director, Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of Manitoba, Canada
117. Prof. Udo Schuklenk, Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
118. Prof. Evan Selinger, Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, USA
119. Dr. M. Selvanayagam, Professor, Dean of Research and President of India Association of Bioethics, India
120. Prof. Seema K. Shah, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA
121. Prof. William S. Silvers, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Denver, USA
122. Prof. Peter Singer, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Princeton, USA; and School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
123. Prof. Maria Fiatarone Singh, Chair of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia
124. Prof. Daniel Skinner, Assistant Professor of Health Policy, Department of Social Medicine, Ohio University, Dublin, USA
125. Raquel R. Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Of Clinical Psychology, American University of Sovereign Nations, Arizona, USA; Community Emergency Response Team (FEMA) Instructor and Manager
126. Prof. Robert Smith?, Department of Mathematics and Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
127. Prof. Jeremy Snyder, Faculty of Health Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
128. Prof. Robert W. Snyder, Esq. Attorney at Law, Professor of Healthcare Management and Finance, American University of Sovereign Nations School of Medicine, USA.
129. Prof. Martin Strosberg, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Schenectady, USA
130. Prof. Eileen Sullivan-Marx, Dean, School of Nursing, New York University, New York, USA
131. Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
132. Prof. Henk ten Have, Director, Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA
133. Ms. Ananya Tritipthumrongchok, General Manager, International Peace and Development Ethics Centre, Kaeng Krachan, Thailand.
134. Prof. Duunjian Tsai, M.D., PhD., Professor, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.
135. Prof. Connie Ulrich, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, USA
136. Prof. Erick Valdés, Universisad del Desarrollo, Chile
137. Prof. Robert M. Veatch, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA
138. Prof. J. David Velleman, Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics, New York University, New York, USA
139. Dr. Ford Vox, Brain Injury Medicine, Shepherd Center, Atlanta, USA
140. Dr. Gary I. Wadler, Past Chairman, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List Committee, Recipient of the International Olympic Committee’s President’s Prize in 1993, Manhasset, USA.
141. Mr. Wendell Wallach, Lecturer, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, New Haven, USA
142. Prof. Vivian Welch, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
143. Prof. Bruce Wilcox, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
144. Prof. Benjamin Wilfond, Director, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
145. Prof. Loren Wissner Greene, Department of Population Health and Bioethics, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA
146. Prof. Wendy L. Wobeser, Division of Infectious Diseases, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
147. Prof. Paul Root Wolpe, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics and Director, Center for Ethics, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
148. Prof. Sanni Yaya, School of International Development and Global Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
149. Prof. Boris Yudin, Department of Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
150. Dr. Diana Zuckerman, President, National Center for Health Research, Washington DC, USA
"Thanks to Anis-Instituto de Bioética for this art, and please visit their Zika documentaryk and pages”
To sign this letter, please send an email to email@example.com with your title (dr, prof, etc), department and institutions. A PDF version of this letter can be downloaded here.(Copied to the International Olympic Committee)
Appendix: WHO and IOC in Partnership
On Thursday 23 June, Britain will take the huge decision to remain in or leave the EU. Sadly, many feel that much of the debate so far has been an alienating squabble between different factions of the Tory party. But this isn't their referendum; it's your referendum.
That's why Momentum, following a decision by our national committee to back a left case for IN and support Another Europe is Possible, has created #YourReferendum, an open, online platform for campaigning and organising tools, to take the debate out of Westminster and into our communities.
#YourReferendum is your platform to take back the debate from the Tories, UKIP and 'Project Fear' and make it yours.
Momentum exists to increase participation in politics; #YourReferendum is a great opportunity for us to do exactly that. The #YourReferendum web page will develop alongside the activism that takes place across the country. Please send us any templates or resources you're using in your campaigning, so that we can share it with thousands of other citizen campaigners across the UK. If you’re organising any campaigning activities of events, please publicise them on a shared Another Europe is Possible, Momentum and DiEM events map.
Here are some ideas for how you can get involved with #YourReferendum:
1. Create templates or toolkits of how you are campaigning or would like to campaign. We’re especially keen to promote ways of campaigning that push back against the immigrant scapegoating in the mainstream debate, and which make the case for workers' rights, environmental justice and the clamping down of unaccountable corporate and financial power. Please email any resources to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add them to the website.
2. Organise a voter registration drive. The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday 7 June. You can download flyers and information about voter registration from the #YourReferendum website. Publicise your event on a shared Another Europe is Possible, Momentum and DiEM events map.
3. Organise In-Out public debates using the participatory debate template on the #YourReferendum website. All those who conclude they are for a left IN could then engage in other campaigning activities like phonebanking and door knocking. Publicise your event on our shared events map.
4. Promote the Another Europe is Possible national tour and organise #YourReferendum activities off the back of the events. If you can’t make it to any of the dates, some of the events will be live streamed here.
5. Organise events for Euro 2016 matches. Momentum Football has an event for the England vs. Russia match with John McDonnell. The Euros present an excellent opportunity to marry football and politics and to root discussions about the EU referendum in our communities and the issues that matter to us.
6. Organise canvassing teams to either join Labour IN activities taking place near you or receive our own data to engage with left wing, younger, and other voters who might feel distant from the standard messaging from the Cameron-led IN campaign and feel that Labour IN has not been sufficiently distinctive.
7. Tell us about your events so they can be advertised to Momentum supporters near you.
8. Come up with other ideas for what we should be doing and share them with us at email@example.com
We will launch #YourReferendum, tomorrow at Another Europe is Possible’s national event with John McDonnell, Yanis Varoufakis and others. We will promote and improve it at all the stops of the Another Europe speaking tour this week.
John McDonnell will be speaking in Leicester on Wednesday 1 June about the EU referendum. Book your tickets here.
We hope you’ll join us over the next month as we take back the Europe debate from the reactionary and conservative forces that currently dominate.
Given the housing crisis within the country it is clear that the Right to Buy scheme is no longer fit for purpose (if it ever was).
So the question is what to do?
Whatever we on the left thought and still think about Thatcher's sicial housing sales policy, it was very popular with the working-class; a way for them to feel that they had a stake in the country; a way for them to feel that like the upper classes they had a stakehold in the land.
The real problem has been the failure to replace the sold housing stock so that there is still social housing for people to move into; a problem exacerbated by the current government's "bedroom tax", wherein, even if people wish to move to smaller accommodation to avoid paying that tax they cannot because the alternative does not exist.
The apparently revolutionary idea that we build more social housing, which would have the beneficial effect of creating employment and growing the economy in many ancillary industries, is anathema to the tories.
They want to carry on growing the housing bubble.
Rising prices grow their property portfolios.
Grow their paper wealth.
An effect of building houses in general and for social housing stock in particular would be to make the bubble burst.
Demand for houses to buy would shrink, as people rent at more reasonable rates. Demand for houses to buy to let would shrink as people are more able to move into affordable social housing and private sector rents would fall.
But as "paper" wealth fell, the general economy would start to prosper.
The poorest in our society spend every penny they earn.
Governments may beg us to save for a rainy day, but every day is a rainy day when you are struggling on Osborne's fallacy of a National Living Wage; when you are struggling to get by on a zero hour contract, not sure if you are going to work next week.
If we free up some of that money from paying rip off rents to private sector landlords, then they would just spend it, not because they want to, but because they HAVE to.
Another benefit would of course be that councils would gain an income that they have lost. Rent.
That income could improve the dwindling housing stock they already own and thus improve the lives of the people living there. Boosting the local ancillary industries from plumbing to electricians to boiler engineers.
We need to return to being a country that invests in itself.
A country that invests in its people.
There are no bad people in this country as they set off on their way in the world, only people with choices and those who have few or no choices.
People who feel they have no choices, often make bad choices.
Not because they are bad people but because it seems the only option.
Our role as a society is to give them those choices. To empower people to see a future. To empower people to see a choice that makes their lives and their children's lives better.
I hope to see Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the rest of the Labour team take power in this country so that they can implement their plans to invest in us, the people.
Join me in this fight.
This is the copy of an open letter that I am sending to my MP about Student loans. Please use as a template and write to your MP if you feel as strongly about this subject as I do.
150A West Wycombe Road
26th May 2016
Dear Mr Baker
The Student Loan Debacle
This is an open letter to you as my Member of Parliament. I would greatly value your support and I have no doubt, so would the thousands of young graduates, like my children.
My children took out student loans at the age of eighteen to study their chosen subjects at the Universities of Aberdeen and Falmouth. Whilst they were undergraduates, fees were increased in the UK to £9,000 per year, from £3,000 – a huge hike in student fees. When they took out their student loans, they were told the loans were at a very low interest rate, and at the time that was around 0.5%.
They were still in the Sixth Form at school, when they agreed to their student loans. They had no experience of loans, credit cards or mortgages. Like all the other thousands of students in the UK, they trusted the Government that the interest rate would remain low - at around 0.5%.
They have both graduated with huge debts in the tens of thousands. However they have just learned, the underhand way, that the Government have sold their loans to a private company, which has caused the interest rates to skyrocket. At no point were they consulted about this, and of course they would never have agreed to this enormous increase in fees.
Now graduates, they feel they have been cheated by a government who encouraged them to undertake higher education, despite trebling the cost of attending university.
The current interest rate is now around 3.9%. They were told their loans would remain around 0.5% interest. In fact the current interest rate is greater than many mortgage companies are charging when people buy a house and their loans are likely to double, year on year, with the additional interest that they will be charged. Graduates will need to be earning in excess of £40,000 pa to keep pace - I believe a really top notch starting salary for an average graduate is about £25,000 pa - and don't get me started on the number of companies that are insisting on graduates working for nothing in internships, or we'll be here all day and night.
I feel they have been mis-sold the loan. A commercial firm would not be allowed to buy loans from another company and then hike the interest rates. This is not what they and thousands of others signed up to. How can this be allowed? How can their loan agreements be altered without their prior knowledge or permission.
This is a disgraceful act by a government which encouraged them, when at school, to go on to higher education – helped by a government loan with the promise of a low interest repayment scheme. Along with many of their former university colleagues - and their Parents - they have lost their trust in this Government.
Their contract was with the government and they were not asked to make a new contract with the private company, which I believe is unlawful.
They should refuse to pay this loan, as they have no contract with the new company, but the repayments are deducted at source, before any salary is paid out, so they have no choice - which I suspect may also be unlawful? I appreciate that they agreed to this when the original loan was taken out, but since the contractural arrangements have changed, without their express permission, I think this should be properly examined.
They have been told that, as graduates, they are the future leaders of the country in politics, engineering and commerce. I hope and believe that when their generation reaches parliament, our future government is never so short sighted as to treat their “future leaders” in such an underhand way.
Mr Baker, I am putting this to you, in the hope you will be able to bring some pressure to bear on the outrageous situation this government has now left them and their generation in, due to the unacceptable hike in interest on their already large student loans and without their prior knowledge. This is not the way to keep our future leaders’ trust……..or votes.
I was one of the lucky ones, as I graduated five years ago and was given a full grant. As my earnings are meagre, this was highly beneficial for me but many mature graduates would have the means to pay for their tuition. It is criminal that our young people are starting out their lives saddled with debts of up to double their starting salary and likely to double, year on year, because the interest rates have hiked without their permission or agreement. I look forward to hearing from you and I value your support.
Sue Ing-Simmons FDA Interior Design
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP.
10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party
House of Commons
JOINT STATEMENT FROM COMMUNITY, UNITE and GMB ON BRITISH STEEL WORKERS PENSION
The steel trade unions – Community, Unite and GMB – have been in dialogue with the UK Government and Tata Steel for a number of weeks to secure a sustainable future for our industry. A number of bidders have made it clear that the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) presents a major challenge to any sale. We also fully understand the great importance of this pension scheme to both current and former steelworkers and steel communities across the UK.
There has been a lot of speculation that any sale of Tata’s assets would involve the BSPS going into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The trade unions believe that such a move would be an unmitigated disaster. The PPF is a financial safety net but it would see every member of the scheme take an unnecessary cut in pension benefits. The financial health of the BSPS is such that going into the PPF can certainly be avoided.
We welcome the announcement of a government consultation on the future of the BSPS and the trade unions will of course make a full submission in due course. It is important that all stakeholders continue to explore all available options that avoid the need for the scheme to go into the PPF, which would be the worst deal for scheme members. We will seek to work constructively with the UK Government and the scheme trustees to deliver the best possible deal for our members. We need to ensure that there are cast iron safeguards in place so this unique situation does not result in employers dodging their pensions responsibilites.
It is important to remember that Tata Steel remains the employer and sponsor of the BSPS. They have significant legal, social and moral responsibilities with regards to the British steel industry and those men and women who have worked and continue to work within it.
As we have done so throughout this process, we will continue to be led by our members in the steel industry. In the midst of this crisis and great uncertainty, they continue to produce world class steel that supports the UK’s entire industrial base. The steel industry’s highly skilled and dedicated workforce will surely be the foundation on which a sustainable, profitable future for the industry will be built.
This blog will include a range of reports and opinion pieces covering many issues. It will be YOUR Voice.
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button