Midwives Standing Together – When We Have Had #ENOUGH


There are many good people  in working reponsible roles in society. They are not earning a fortune; they are doing jobs because they care, careers they are proud of – because they want to make a difference.

But caring is not enough. Everyone derserves a life, a family, a home. The government’s treatment of our skilled health professionals, on whom we depend for our lives is appalling.  Staff are working long shifts with no mealtimes, with wages frozen and no prospects of improving conditions. Remember this is in  one of the richest countries in the world, one where where bankers have bonuses, where  global corporations hold democracy to ransom, and where they seek to silence dissent. We should be ashamed. Now it is time to say, “Enough”!

This plea from Hayley, a midwife,  is calling time on this government’s treatment of our workers, on the erosion of our public services. We will take no more.

A Midwife’s Call for An End  to Abuse of Good Will

By Hayley Huntoon

Twitter: @hayleyhuntoon

Yesterday a man came to me livid with frustration ‘this is not good enough’. He told me ‘my daughter has been waiting hours to be seen’ . He went on to tell me, ‘it isn’t you. It isn’t the other midwives – the care has been impeccable but the situation just isn’t good enough.’

I know. I agree. I have shed too many tears over a career I could not love more because there is nothing I can do. What he didn’t know was that heartbreakingly this is a daily occurrence in my life as a midwife. What he didn’t know was that actually yesterday was a rare Saturday off for me yet I had come into work so that my amazing colleagues could have a break from their 13 hour shift. A break they won’t be paid for whether they take it or not, but that they physically need as human beings. I had come into the unit so that women like his daughter could be seen. So that our unit could be open to women who needed our skills as midwives, doctors, health care professionals. Women who were in labour. Women who’s babies weren’t moving much. Women who were concerned about their own wellbeing.

5 maternity units in the north-west have been closed over the weekend. These women need our care. We are literally being worked to the ground. I am watching amazing midwives leave a profession they love because the workload and stress is too high.

Today is a rare Sunday off for me. But I will be spending it supporting our rights as workers. The NHS is run on good will. But there is only so much we can take. We joke at work that midwives don’t need to eat. To rehydrate. To empty our bladders. To sleep. Let us look after ourselves so that we can look after our women. Our future generation of children.

Earlier this year, our country voted for a government that said no to more midwives. The Conservative party have demonstrated five years of austerity, falling living standards, pay freezes and huge cuts to public services. They have threatened to make cuts to our night shift and weekend enhancements. Over the past 4 years I have missed Christmas days. New Years days. Family’s birthdays. Countless nights out. I had a good education and did very well at school. I am 22. I have held the hands of women through the most emotional times of their lives. I have dressed Angels we have had to say goodbye too. I have supported women to make decisions that empower them. I have been scared myself. Tired, stressed, emotional every day. Yet I am not and will not be paid well like my friends who have chosen business careers. I am not offered pay rises for my efforts or successes. I don’t care because I get something more valuable than that from what I do. I love what I do. I’m passionate about what I do that’s why I do it. But I do care that we are the ones who are being threatened with further cuts. Further strain.


So today I stand with doctors, midwives, nurses, teachers, firemen and many other amazing people to spread awareness of a situation that has gone too far. To share information that the general public are oblivious to because as midwives, we will not let these women be failed. I am regularly met by stunned responses from women and their partners to the situation they watch me working under. But Hayleytoday I say no. Enough is enough.

I have shed too many tears over a career I love. Missed too many meal breaks. Not physically been able to care for too many women the way I wanted to. Spent too many days off in work. Lost too much sleep over the stress I am under. Watched more of my colleagues than I could count (myself included) be signed off work with stress in the early years of their career. Watched too many good midwives leave careers they love. This is not humane.

Please let’s end this. Protect your NHS. Your children’s future. Your education system. The core foundations of Great Britain.

I have recently learned the world is a selfish place. But I have also learned that there are a lot of very good people in it. The NHS is run on good will and because of this we have been pushed too far. Let’s change this.

Further Reading:

Investing in all People in an Entrepreneurial Britain


The Conservative Party claim to the party of the workers, while attacking worker’s rights. They claim to the party for opportunities, while making it harder for people to acquire  the education and skills required for ordinary people to get on in life. They claim to be the party of business, while pursuing policies which support the non-tax paying giant corporations such as Amazon who undercut any small businesses.

The Conservative Party claims to support Britain, while selling off assets to foreign governments.

The Conservative Party are not the party of builders they claim to be; they are the destroyers. Unemployment is on the rise.  All of our working people, need support and opportunities. It is the Labour Party who hold out the helping hand. Corbyn for Business. looks to the future.  If we are to rebuild our manufacturing industry , we need investment and training. If we are to improve our standard of living we need quality public services, education, health and good transport links.

Paul Leatham’s article, previously published here on Political Sift,  shows why, it is Jeremy Corbyn’s new positive politics, and plans an economy which will work for people not banks. Labour wants everyone to have an opportunities.

Believe in an entrepreneurial Britain? Me too, that’s why I’m voting Corbyn   


By Paul Leatham


This may surprise you to think of it like this, but I would argue that the idea of a national education service, as put forward by the Jeremy Corbyn for leader campaign, is actually a capitalist pro business proposition – as in the old adage, you speculate to accumulate.


In 1945 we made another huge speculative investment, when despite huge national debt, we created a free at the point of use health service. Ever since then our national health service has been a huge engine of growth and productivity for our country. People who are healthier, and less financially stressed, are more productive and live longer. Knowing there is a safety net of healthcare for them, people are freer to be entrepreneurial and take risks. They know if their health goes wrong they will be taken care of. They don’t need to keep savings aside for healthcare provision, so they can plough it into their business.  


Getting back onto Jeremy Corbyn’s idea for a national education service, this really inspired me. The opportunity for people to become more skilled, qualified and educated without fears of debt could truly revolutionise our perceptions of how and when we are educated. Lifelong learning would become the norm. As a result our economy would expand and grow. I believe that the initial costs would be dwarfed by the eventual increases in national income generated by a population who are introduced to educational opportunities never imagined before.

There is a crime in our country – a resource that is neglected, and that is its people. There are so many, with so many talents, that never get liberated. There are many Einsteins and Steve Jobs out there who have been lost due to our restrictive education system, which expects people’s potential to be discovered no later than age 20, at which point you are written off.


If we take another strand of Jeremy’s thinking and find the money to invest in free university education, rather than cutting corporation tax, there is a strong probability the financial returns would be far greater from the former than from the latter. The indebtedness as a result of student loans, has a huge psychological impact on young people, which hits people from a poorer background harder. Starting life after education with a debt of tens of thousands of pounds, dampens down entrepreneurial instincts. You are less likely to take a leap of faith with a lead weight tied to your back. And that’s what a heavy debt feels like to a young person. When a graduate weighs up the options between setting up their own high-tech business using their technology or engineering degree, or the safer option of a secure job in the city in a bank, they are going to choose the latter over the former. We are going to squash down the creative energy of our brightest minds, and the whole of society will be the poorer for it.    

From Left to right:Daniel Katsman, Prof.Dennis D. Giannacopoulos and Liz-Mary Kattackal

From Left to right:Daniel Katsman, Prof.Dennis D. Giannacopoulos and Liz-Mary Kattackal

The irony with the 1945 Atlee government and the proposals put forward during the Jeremy Corbyn campaign, is they are portrayed as anti business, when in fact the opposite is true. The welfare state, the NHS, and the potential new education service, all provide the freedom and opportunity for people to take the risks necessary for a successful and growing economy. So while there may be some truth to the governments claim that student numbers are still high amongst poorer students despite the increase in fees, it is the stifling effect on their entrepreneurial instincts later down the line which is being ignored.   


The left need to promote how our policies liberate the individuals potential for creative entrepreneurial fulfillment, and loudly and proudly state how this will make us a wealthier nation.


Indeed, speculate to accumulate.

A message of hope, not despair. 

It’s the left that believes in our people.  

It’s time to call time on WMDs – and back Jeremy Corbyn.


So Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party has said he would not use nuclear weapons? Phew, what a relief.

 Well that is hardly astounding News, but he is right to point it out nonetheless. It highlights the senselessness of spending resources on Weapons of Mass Destruction which can never, ever be used because it would be a suicidal act. For all those of who believe in humanity, in peace and abhor human suffering, there can be no alternative. Jeremy Corbyn was elected with a huge mandate and has opposed the replacement of Trident. Even former Tory Defence Minister Michael Portillo is opposing Trident’s replacement, claiming it is a waste of money.

I wonder, if Mr Cameron will not say he is also unwilling to use them, how can we trust such a man with the future of the human race, the continued existence of life itself? After all, this was the man who went against parliament’s decision to involve our servicemen in attacks on Syria. Please remember that David Cameron ‘was aware’ British pilots carried out Syrian air strikes despite Commons vote, and chose to disregard the democratic decision.

Why do these weapons exist at all?

Without going blindly into such a replacement wasting our precious resources on such a pointless exercise, it is time to have the debate and look at the facts. It is time to stop, think and call time on weapons of mass destruction. It’s time to educate younger generations about the facts. It’s time to face up to the reality – they offer no deterrent, they cost the earth, no one can use them; they certainly didn’t help the USA on 9/11.

Nuclear Weapons are Horrific, Pointless and Extraordinarily Costly


What else is as unimaginably horrific as nuclear war? The horrors are so awful that the human mind cannot endure to see  images or to contemplate the physical, mental and emotional pain. It is now 70 years since August 6, 1945, when the United States used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki. ( 9th August 1945)

It is not good enough to turn away – the images and the facts must be faced up to. We cannot uninvent nuclear missiles, but we can discover why they should not be in existence. I am appalled that there are plans to replace Trident, a nuclear missile which must be never used. No, not my name. It must not happen.

Face up to these images, the ones they don’t want us to see: listen to the stories.

Although the names of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incised into our memories, there were few pictures to accompany them. Even today, the image in our minds is a mixture of devastated landscapes and shattered buildings. Shocking images of the ruins, but where were the victims?

The American occupation forces imposed strict censorship on Japan, prohibiting anything “that might, directly or by inference, disturb public tranquility” and used it to prohibit all pictures of the bombed cities. The pictures remained classified ‘top secret’ for many years. Some of the images have been published later by different means, but it’s not usual to see them all together. (see more here )

All the watches found in the ground zero were stopped at 8:15 am, the time of the explosion.


Within a certain distance from the site of explosion, the heat was so intense that practically everything was vaporised. The shadows of the parapets were imprinted on the road surface of the Yorozuyo Bridge, 1/2 of a mile south-southwest of the hypocentre. Besides, in Hiroshima, all that was left of some humans, sitting on stone benches near the centre of explosion, was their outlines.

6th Aug 2

On August 6, 1945, 8.15 am, the uranium atom bomb exploded 580 metres above the city of Hiroshima with a blinding flash, creating a giant fireball and sending surface temperatures to 4,000C. Fierce heat rays and radiation burst out in every direction, unleashing a high pressure shockwave, vaporising tens of thousands of people and animals, melting buildings and streetcars, reducing a 400-year-old city to dust.
Housewives and children were incinerated instantly or paralysed in their daily routines, their internal organs boiled and their bones charred into brittle charcoal.

Beneath the center of the explosion, temperatures were hot enough to melt concrete and steel. Within seconds, 75,000 people had been killed or fatally injured with 65% of the casualties nine years of age and younger.

6th Aug 3
Radiation deaths were still occurring in large numbers in the following days. “For no apparent reason their health began to fail. They lost appetite. Their hair fell out. Bluish spots appeared on their bodies. And then bleeding began from the ears, nose and mouth”.

Doctors “gave their patients Vitamin A injections. The results were horrible. The flesh started rotting from the hole caused by the injection of the needle. And in every case the victim died”.
Hibakusha is the term widely used in Japan referring to victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese word translates literally to “explosion-affected people”.

They and their children were (and still are) victims of severe discrimination due to lack of knowledge about the consequences of radiation sickness, which people believed to be hereditary or even contagious.

Many of them were fired from their jobs. Hibakusha women never got married, as many feared they would give birth to deformed children. Men suffered discrimination too. “Nobody wanted to marry someone who might die in a couple of years”.
Yamahata, the photographer of Nagasaki

On August 10, 1945, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki Yosuke Yamahata, began to photograph the devastation. The city was dead. He walked through the darkened ruins and the dead corpses for hours.

aug6 5

By late afternoon, he had taken his final photographs near a first aid station north of the city. In a single day, he had completed the only extensive photographic record of the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Aug6 6jpg

“A warm wind began to blow – he wrote later – Here and there in the distance I saw many small fires, like elf-fires, smoldering. Nagasaki had been completely destroyed”

Mr. Yamahata’s photographs are the most complete record of the atomic bombing as seen in the most immediate hours after the bombing. The New York Times has called Mr. Yamahata’s photographs, “some of the most powerful images ever made”.

Mr. Yamahata became violently ill on August 6, 1965, his forty-eighth birthday and the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the duodenum, probably caused by the residual effects of radiation received in Nagasaki in 1945. He died on April 18, 1966, and is buried at Tama Cemetery, Tokyo.

Everyone should see them and understand. Hiding and pretending will not do.

Atomic Bomb survivors never forget, and while they inevitably diminish in number , their resolve to fight to rid the world of nuclear missiles grows ever more determined.


We cannot help but wonder what is the point and sense in developing more and more horrible weapons, which can never, ever be used, and if they were the consequences of modern weapons would be far worse. They can never be used without a suicidal action. In modern times of suicidal terrorism, suicide itself is no deterrent, the existence of nuclear missiles is not only pointless but an incredible waste of money, resources and human effort which could be much better used elsewhere.

Colin Powell:  I became Chairman of the Joint chiefs of staff in 1989 and I had 28,000 nuclear weapons under my supervision. And every morning I looked to see where the Russian submarines were off the coast of Virginia and how far away those missions were from Washington. I kept track where the Russian missiles were in Europe and in the Soviet Union. The one thing that I convinced myself after all these years of exposure to the use of nuclear weapons is that they were useless. 


They could not be used. If you can have deterrence with an even lower number of weapons, well then why stop there, why not continue on, why not get rid of them altogether…This is the moment when we have to move forward and all of us come together to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and eliminate them from the face of the earth. “Nuclear Weapons Are Useless”   

The pointlessness of it all is clear – the danger of nuclear weapons is such that they should not even exist. That there are stockpiles of radioactive uranium and plutonium around the world is alarming – should these ever get into the hands of maniacs it would surely be an end. The expansion of nuclear power holds the same dangers,  and at a time when there are effective renewable sources for energy, why is it even being considered?

Who can we trust? Why is David Cameron in favour of supporting a replacement to Trident?  Parliament voted against British forces being used in Syria in 2013. Recently, it has transpired that David Cameron lied, and that was against Parliament’s explicit  instructions, British Forces were involved in an air campaign. David Cameron was fully aware of the action.  We must consider what are the reasons for Cameron’s support for a Trident replacement. Is it financial? Whatever is his reason, it is clearly very, very silly.

In January 2015, A Commons motion against renewal of Trident was crushed by 364 votes to 35 after Tory and Labour front benches joined forces to back the weapons of mass destruction. A number of Labour MPs abstained.
The motion was moved by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Mr Blunt, the only Tory supporting the motion, said he was wearing the regimental tie of the Light Dragoons.
He told MPs that when he worked as a special adviser at the Ministry of Defence, he found it impossible to find a scenario in which Britain would decide to use nuclear weapons.

Labour MPs voting against Trident renewal were:
Diane Abbott, Ronnie Campbell, Katy Clark, Michael Connarty, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Davidson, Paul Flynn, Roger Godsiff, Kelvin Hopkins, David Lammy, Mark Lazarowicz, John McDonnell, Grahame Morris, Fiona O’Donnell, Sandra Osborne, Dennis Skinner, Andrew Smith, Graham Stringer and Joan Walley. (From Morning Star)

The SNP’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election opposed Trident’s renewal. and their landslide on May 7th, winning all but three seats in Scotland demonstrates that there is a huge opposition to this policy.

In 2016, there is to be another vote in Parliament on the replacement of Trident. Jeremy Corbyn, and several other MPs  will oppose  Trident replacement. Even if renewal is rejected, after the Syria vote was totally disregarded, I cannot help but wonder, whether Mr Cameron is taking much notice of parliament at all. What power does he hold over the use of nuclear weapons. It is truly terrifying.


If the cost to the planet of nuclear war is obliteration, it seems trivial to even consider the economic implications.The government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of around £100 billion. This money would be enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5 million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools, or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. It is astounding, and extraordinarily costly. So much good  could come of savings from the cost of the maintenance and replacement of Trident’s replacement, and the related  nuclear energy industry. The nuclear industry is massively subsidised by the British public. Sizewell B, the UK’s most recent power station cost the taxpayer around £3.7billion just to install Decommissioning and cleaning up all of our current nuclear sites is costing more than £70 billion.

Many people are employed in the nuclear industry – there is no logic in retaining it on the grounds of employment. Diplomatic solutions to conflict need personnel equipped  with necessary skills. We should be developing education, communication and understanding, of issues of other societies, not dividing the world further. We are one people. Jobs could be provided for scientists and experts developing our green energy policy.


 People must protest against this renewal and demand an end to these weapons. Our politicians must stand alongside us. On this our opposition must oppose. Abstention will not do. There are protests (AWE) demanding disarmament all around the world including in the UK where 4 Day Fast Protest against Trident is planned  in London. (August 6th-9th).

CND have been campaigning since 1958. There is a host of information on their website.CND.jpeg

Mourning for the NHS and “The Sell Off” movie.


Mourning for Our NHS

The NHS is  a beacon of achievement brought in by Aneurin Bevan in 1948, and the nation is rightly proud of it. Both recent Conservative and Labour governments have been complicit with efforts to move aspects of our NHS into private hands. In 2002, Blair himself had toyed with the idea of user charges or ‘co-payments’ for public services. (1)

While it has been Labour’s greatest achievement, the introduction of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI’s) by New Labour has been Labour’s greatest betrayal. The politics of recent general elections have often have focused on the issue  of ” wasteful” public expenditure , and claims of inefficiency,  yet resources have been wasted on marketisation. There is now considerable evidence countering the principle of “public bad, private good” .

Jeremy Corbyn has never supported the plans to bring the private sector into the NHS.

He said at his recent rally in Nottingham,”If I said to you , do you all value the national health service, you’d say, “why is he  the asking the question, it’s obvious we do!”

Of course it is. The NHS is the most civilised, greatest achievement politically ever made in this country. It was the culmination of those who fought for the right to vote, those who got the right to vote for women, those who campaigned for all the things that brought about the 1945 Labour government and it was an amazing achievement.

And it was quite moving when we had a rally in Tredegar, a week and a half ago on the very spot where Aneurin Bevan used to speak to his constituents, and in the window of Nye Bevan House, he questioned rhetorically.  He said, ” Can a society that denies medical care when it is available, to those that cannot afford to pay, call itself civilised?”


Nye was right, and it’s very dangerous what’s happening to the NHS at the moment.

The internal market, the bringing of the private sector to run whole sections of it, the profit-taking out of the NHS, the continual limiting on the availability of expensive special medicines and all that, leads me to think that the Tories have got their real eye on making the NHS a privatised service of last resort, in order to promote a private medical system of first choice for those that can afford it.

And so, we have to defend that principle of an NHS free at the point of use. We have to defend that principle and also end the internal market, repeal the health and social care act, and be proud of our NHS.”

The Sell Off

Sell-Off is a full length Movie. It is essential viewing and sharing for people who want to keep the NHS out of private hands, and recommended.

If you want to know a bit about Peter Bach, who produced the film, you can watch the second half of this episode of The Keiser Report.

Published on Nov 5, 2014

Donations welcomed: http://www.selloff.org.uk/nhs/default…

For more information: www.facebook.com/selloffnhs

  1. Tony Blair”Where the Third Way goes from here, Progressive Politics, Vol 2,No 1, 2002
  2. NHS PLC – Allyson M Pollock, published by Verso
  3. YouTube Clip: “The Sell Off”
  4. The Keiser Report
  5. Government proposes inquiry into moving to a ‘pay NHS’
  6. Who said, “The NHS will be shown no Mercy?”
  7. For Richer, For Poorer, In Sickness and in Health
  8. The Systematic Dismantling of the NHS.