Adam Samuels

#GE2019: The Future of the NHS

In the run up to the General Election on December 12th, I will be writing a number of political posts aimed at any indecisive voters that may still exist in our pulverised country.

I will not apologise for arguing the case for a Corbyn-led socialist Government that will deliver the real change that the UK is crying out for. The fact that it will improve conditions for the disabled community, is a welcome bonus.

I will now hand over to my good friend and political comrade, Adam Samuels, who has written the must-read piece below.

#VOTELABOUR #SAVEOURNHS #JC4PM #HANDSOFFOURNHS

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OUR NHS NEEDS YOU! The Labour Party / Welsh Labour formed the NHS, from scratch in 1948 when the CONservatives and Liberals voted AGAINST its formation???!!! Just a couple of weeks ago, Labour brought a motion to Parliament to STOP further privatisation of the NHS…the Tories voted AGAINST this and the Liberal Democrats abstained?!

ONLY Labour can save our NHS from those looking to sell it off in the form of Boris Johnson & the CONservatives, Trump & Corporate America. Please click on the link below and make your own video to share (all help & info provided via link) to tell people why the NHS must be defended, and why this crown jewel, the envy of the world, MUST be defended.

LABOUR FORMED THE NHS, DESPITE THE CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERALS.

LABOUR WILL SAVE THE NHS WHEN IN POWER AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTION ON THURSDAY 12TH DECEMBER 2019 

Here is the link you need to visit:

https://www.videosbythemany.com/nhs

#VOTELABOUR #SAVEOURNHS #JC4PM #HANDSOFFOURNHS

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#GE2019: Reasons to #VoteLabour

In the run up to the General Election on December 12th, I will be writing a number of political posts aimed at any indecisive voters that may still exist in our pulverised country.

I will not apologise for arguing the case for a Corbyn-led socialist Government that will deliver the real change that the UK is crying out for. The fact that it will improve conditions for the disabled community, is a welcome bonus.

I will now hand over to my good friend and political comrade, Adam Samuels, who has written the must-read piece below.

#VOTELABOUR #JC4PM #VOTEHOPE #VOTECHANGE

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ROLL UP! ROLL UP! THIS IS YOUR ONE-STOP LIST OF THINGS TO SHARE/EDIT/RE-PHRASE AS YOU WISH RE JEREMY CORBYN & LABOUR. WE HAVE BEEN ASKED MANY TIMES TO SHARE THIS NOW, AND SO WHEN THE PEOPLE ASK, Clwyd South Labour Party RESPONDS!**

Many people now are no fans of Blair & Brown (while acknowledging good things were also done), but Labour didn’t cause the crash in the UK. In fact, Brown took steps that assured it wasn’t worse. The Tories backed EVERY penny of Labour’s plans then, as admitted recently by Osborne. In 9 years the Tories have missed EVERY SINGLE ONE of their own fiscal targets. By their OWN figures, people will be on less on average in the mid 2020s than they were in 2007. TWO decades of unprecedented wage stagnation and regression. The Tories, in those 9 years, have borrowed more than every Labour government combined. Ever.

Borrowing is not the issue, but borrowing AND implementing the economically stupid & morally reprehensible austerity shows how shit they are re economics. We are, literally, the most unequal country in Europe. Slowest growing major G7 economy. Foodbank usage was 41,000-odd in 2010. It’s now 1.6 million. 14 million people below the poverty line. 4 million children. Meanwhile the top 1% have DOUBLED their wealth in that same time period. 60% of those in poverty are IN work!!! IN work!! Record homelessness, record suicide rates, record insecure work, record worker rights and union repression, record crime etc etc etc.

Labour’s economic plans are backed by 130+ of the world’s top economists, including at least two Nobel Prize winners. Every penny of where money came from and where it will be spent was fully costed in Labour’s ‘Grey Book’, which will again be published for this election. Labour’s plans are based on the National & Regional Investment Banks as used so well in Germany and elsewhere. So, unless you think the best economic minds and Germany are economically stupid…Add to this that Johnson has REMOVED worker rights, environmental protections, consumer protections and food standards from his Brexit Deal, and them OPENLY admitting they will be changing worker rights if we leave…

Re Iraq, Corbyn organised the 2 million people march AGAINST it and his own Party. Check out his voting record. He was correct re Iraq X 2, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria X 3 now, not arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s when we did, Apartheid where he was getting arrested for being anti-racist when the Tories were literally calling for Mandela’s head, the financial crash of 07/08 down to the specifics of the American sub-prime mortgage market issues (and was ignored), Israel/Palestine, the Birmingham 6, the Guildford 4, started the proper NI peace talks and is cited by both sides as doing so, he, along with Abbott & McDonnell was one of only 6 MPs voting against Windrush, AUSTERITY when he and anyone supporting him was told in 2015 that to be anti-austerity (which NO other Labour leadership candidate was) was a “Far Left, commie, utopian, unelectable, loony left fantasy” Now even Tory MEMBERS are anti-austerity!!! Now Johnson & the Tories are pretending they will out-spend Labour while trying to claim Corbyn is a Marxist dictator?! You can’t have it both ways!!!

Corbyn has tripled membership of the party, making Labour the biggest Party in western Europe. In 2017, he gained the biggest vote share increase of any party leader of any party since Attlee in 1945. With the entire media establishment against him/us. He’s made the party far more democratic than ever before, and as with the famous, popular 2017 manifesto, it gets written by everyone from me up to Corbyn. He gets hourly death threats, has had assassination attempts on him (Darren Osborne-see court records), punched in the head etc etc. All for US. Not him, US. He cannot be bought, hence The Establishment hating him and smearing him. He is the most lied about politician of all time (see independent LSE report, BBC bias report etc-there are several). He’s defeated coups, has the ENTIRE media against him on all formats, with no mainstream media on his side (The Mirror & The Guardian previously turned on him).

Oh, and to nip this one in the bud…he has been made Right Honourable by the Queen. Which means he’s on the PRIVY COUNCIL-i.e. access to top level UK & world secrets, where you have to be vetted by MI5, MI6, GCHQ etc….therefore, he OBVIOUSLY CANNOT be pro-IRA murders, a Russian stooge, a Czech spy, an anti-Semite (to paraphrase the great Andrew Feinstein who was a South African MP under Mandela, lost 39 family members in the Holocaust & lectures on the Holocaust: “Jeremy was there from day one re Apartheid. He’s literally the least racist person I know. I am proud and honoured to stand as a Jewish man with Jeremy”), or whatever rubbish they try and make people believe he is because they’ve lost the political argument-so try and discredit the individual.

He pays TOO much tax (check out his public tax returns), pays for members of his own team out of his pocket, donated his pay rise to charity as promised, then uses what money he has left to fund the local Credit Union for people who cannot get loans. Indeed, in the 80’s he took out a £30,000 to build a desperately needed community centre used by many different groups-it wasn’t even in his constituency!!! He was there day one re Orgreave, Hillsborough (we have a Corbyn & McDonnell banner on the Kop at Anfield), and was the lowest ever expenses claimer-£8.95 for an ink cartridge when some Tories were claiming £100,000+ to clean their moats amongst other things! Literally!

So, if you want an NHS, vote Labour. If you want a second ref-literally the ONLY way is to vote Labour. If you voted Leave and reject the dangerous Johnson/No Deal, Labour has already agreed a Leave option in theory with the EU-so vote Labour to choose that in the Ref if you are a leaver. If you want to end austerity, literally the only way is to vote Labour. Only two people can be PM-Johnson, a man backed by fascists & billionaires who is openly going to sell off the NHS to Trump, who voted AGAINST STOPPING privatisation of the NHS last week, along with the Tories. The Lib Dems abstained???!!!, or Jeremy Corbyn.

I do not want to look future generations in the eye when they ask “Why did you get rid of the NHS, why can’t I buy a house or even afford the rent, why have I got unpaid hols, why in the environment getting worse, why is there no secure work, no pensions worth having etc” and then tell them “It’s because Corbyn didn’t sing the National Anthem, they believed the lies, someone didn’t like the way he wore a suit etc…”. Justify that! Justify my terminally ill friend having his benefits cut again to literally fund a tax cut for billionaires.

Whether you love, hate, are indifferent to Corbyn, this election is WAY beyond ‘normal’. It is a battle for the very soul of the UK. Labour built the NHS, the Welfare State, a National Education system in their 1945-1951 government. From scratch. When the country was truly broke after WW2 with debt at 250% of GDP. While growing the economy far faster than previously-with SOCIALISM/Social Democracy. Ditto FDR in the USA who massively grew the US economy in the 1930s the same way. Ditto Portugal now who, via anti-austerity, have completely turned around their economy after a horrific Conservative failed government. Scandinavia has been doing it for years. Bolivia, under Morales, has been an amazing success story and are now independent of the World’s Bank. Ecuador under Correa for ten years was a huge success.

Re Tax Increases: If you earn £82,000 a year, you’d pay £8.30 more a month in tax under Labour. Don’t forget ONLY 5% of the UK earns £80k or more- 95% OF US ARE NOT AFFECTED by these tax rises. In return, we’d get a Green New Deal, free education, a proper NHS and homes for all. Don’t let the CONservatives et al scare you with their outright lies re Labour’s tax plans. Oh, and Labour plans to raise corporation tax to levels STILL lower than Germany, the USA etc. I don’t see companies fleeing those countries…SME (Small Medium Enterprises) will be supported to adapt to any changes with taxes, or, for example, the raising of the minimum wage.

Debt per GDP here in the UK is now 88% approx (MASSIVELY increased since the Tories took over in 2010). So I am quite sure we can easily do what Labour wants now. If WE fight for it and stop believing the white noise of lies. Corbyn is NOT a pacifist, but he is force ONLY as the LAST resort. He has won at least 3 International Peace Prizes, including the Gandhi Peace Prize. He does not want to get rid of our armed forces-quite the opposite-he wants them properly paid, not sent to war on a lie or for some power/oil-grab, he wants them housed and not on the streets as many are, with proper kit if they do have to risk their lives. But this is a fight we MUST win. Let’s make sure we don’t blow it, eh? ✊❤️

#VOTELABOUR #JC4PM #VOTEHOPE #VOTECHANGE

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WLG/Momentum AGM #SaveWILG

At the weekend I travelled to the Welsh Labour Grassroots/Momentum AGM in Llandrindod Wells. It was a positive meeting that proved very productive. The opportunity to mix with fellow comrades from across Wales is always welcome as we attempt to build upon our strong Socialist foundations.

At the end of the meeting, I asked Adam Samuels – my first port of call whenever presented with challenges throughout the #SaveWILG campaign – to say a few words about the need to alert WILG recipients to the opportunity in front of them. After doing this, he passed me the microphone.

Since 2013 I have been noticing increased difficulties when speaking to large audiences. I tend to get very anxious and struggle to get my words out clearly while my chest tightens. In addition, as people listen to the verbal gems that can be heard beneath the increasingly slurred speech, I find that I have no control over my hands or arms. It is almost like an out of body experience, and very frightening. Friedreich’s Ataxia, mixed with general anxiety does not make a good combination…

Anyway, I must have been intelligible, as after waffling on for a couple of minutes my comrades were kind enough to give me a standing ovation. It was truly appreciated and meant the world to me to receive such a reaction from socialists I admire deeply. I had been talking about how the remarkable levels of support that I have received throughout the #SaveWILG campaign had kept me motivated and determined to succeed. I could not have continued to fight without the help and assistance that I received from others.

I really wish I had been able to soak up the ovation, rather than battling with my body in an attempt to remain conscious. It is a really scary situation but my genetic condition is obviously getting worse. Such health concerns were not present when I began the campaign, but the fight has taken so much out of me. This is why it is important that as many WILG recipients as possible, benefit from the opportunity to work with an independent social worker and ensure they are able to live the lives they choose based on what they actually need, rather than local authority budget restraints.

With the campaign drawing to a close – don’t get me wrong, I am still keeping my eye on the ball – I am wondering what to do next. I have several irons in the fire, but first of all I need to concentrate on my body to try to make sure I am around to help other campaigns for a good while yet.

 

Great Tastes of America: The Mississippi Stack

DISCLAIMER: The following blog is written totally independently from McDonald’s CorporationGreat Tastes of America is a registered trademark and I am not associated with the product line in any way. I am not seeking to promote or disparage the American fast food giant in any way, shape or form. All opinions expressed below are personal to me and my Socialist background. I should add that anything written on these blogs should be taken with a pinch of salt – sachets available from McDonald’s counters. 

In the second of a new series, I will be eating and reviewing the Great Tastes of America range of burgers from popular fast food chain, McDonald’s.

I am unhappy about this for a number of reasons – from calories to Capitalism – but it is a good writing mechanism for me to hang my anger at modern society upon. I will be forcing fast food meals down my fat face for the next 12 weeks (one every fortnight) while discussing everything that I find unappetising about the modern world we live in.

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The Mississippi Stack is made up of two 100% British and Irish beef burgers with bacon, mild cheddar, tomato and onion relish, rich and sticky BBQ sauce, red onion and lettuce in a toasted ciabatta.

Mississipi Stack

I demolished the Mississippi Stack in the car at the side of the road on my way to the pub to watch Newport County v Tranmere Rovers in the League Two Play-off Final. This was a contest between two teams that most Wrexham fans – myself included – have reason to dislike. Both teams have recently won promotion from the National League while Wrexham have proved hapless also-rans who seem destined to a future of non-league football.

With feelings of justified bitterness and a hint of jealousy, I tucked in to my fortnightly taste of America that did little to lift my spirits. It was devoid of the sharp pickle that had made the New York Stack so enjoyable. Instead, there was a minimal layer of  onion relish and a BBQ sauce that proved slightly spicy, but ultimately underwhelming. There was just not enough of the BBQ sauce and the outer edges of the slimline burgers were dry, uninspiring and tasteless.

If I had been in a better mood before indulging in this burger, my review may have been more positive but I was gripped  with envy – something that was not helped by former Wrexham forward, Connor Jennings, scoring the winning goal for Tranmere Rovers deep into extra-time. If only he had stayed loyal to the Red Dragons and not been tempted to our Scouse rivals by the smell of filthy lucre.

The hunger pains are still biting as I type whilst generally irritated and dismayed at all around me. Satisfaction will never be found in the selfish modern world that we are stuck in…

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This long bank holiday weekend is one to forget. The results of the EU Elections have been pouring in and suggest worrying times ahead with the rise of right-wing ignorance across the continent.

No where was this more obvious than in the UK with the supposed rise of the Brexit Party and typically biased reporting by the BBC who merely paint a picture to support the prevailing status quo. This was summed up in the following tweet by Timothy Garton Ash (@fromTGA):

I am also sharing a Facebook post from my friend and comrade Adam Samuels, who has sensibly reflected on the election results and made the following observations:

Re the Euro elections from a Labour POV… So far, what this says to me is that people are even more entrenched in their views. The country is even more split if that were possible. People are pig-headed and not willing to compromise. It’s f**k the other side. There is no good solution. We should also remember this is not a General Election. It was also PR and not FPTP. I am saying of course we should listen and respect the comments and votes, but we must get all the information in first and then digest everything. No knee jerk reactions. No bold statements of “If Labour don’t do XYZ I am leaving, not campaigning, not voting etc”.

We take stock and reason things out. There are no easy answers, no matter what extreme Leavers and Remainers will tell us. The two things we must never forget, and we must remind emotional, passionate, good comrades is that we need our Manifesto put into practice. But, and we must never underestimate this, we need someone strong enough to take the crap and attacks to allow those policies to get through. Of course, that is Jeremy Corbyn. 

This story will continue to develop and expand as the hours pass. This is a truly explosive time to be involved in politics and it is taking all of our energy and resources to continue the good fight. However, no one should be in any doubt that we will all continue pushing for justice for the many, not the few while ensuring everyone is protected in a fair and equal society.

The fight goes on…

There’s No Other Way #SaveWILG

I have thought long and hard about posting this blog after an exhausting trip to Cardiff on Tuesday [June 5th] to meet with Ministers and discuss the future of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG).

It was a very productive day, but one that resulted in much work still to be done along with a conscious effort on my behalf to review, renew and strengthen my aims and objectives for this campaign.

I had to start the day at 03:00 to venture down to Cardiff and meet the Petitions Committee at 10:00 in the Senedd. The committee are very much onside with the objective to save WILG , and Huw Irranca-Davies AM is due to give evidence in response on June 19th. Every minister on the committee is very supportive, and spent some time chatting to me, Adam and Angie following this meeting. A video of our meeting with the Petitions Committee can be viewed here. Our section on the meeting can be viewed after 1Hr 17Min.

We were full of positivity for our next meeting with the Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, but he spent the first fifteen minutes on the defensive and stated why the Welsh Government would be “standing firm” on their commitment to scrap WILG, and pass all responsibility for social care to local authorities. We all chipped in, but Adam Samuels was particularly effective in getting his point across, leading to HID asking Adam to ” calm down”. I don’t think Huw liked being spoken to by a confident person who was in possession of some convincing arguments about money and neo-liberalism.

HID had to leave early to support Carwyn Jones answering First Minister questions. You would have thought Carwyn was big enough to face these questions alone, #justsaying.

We were then left speaking to Gareth Griffiths, the Special Policy Advisor to HID. This was a positive and constructive conversation. We appreciated his points and vice versa. There could be areas to work towards a special compromise here, as Mr Griffiths struck a pragmatic and concilliatory tone. He advised me to send him all of the information that we have at our disposal, which shows that local authorities do not have a clear grasp on the transition process. We will also be submitting evidence of individuals who have suffered dramatic cuts in their levels of care, and the success of other schemes such as the Scottish ILF.

This was followed by positive meetings with both Mark Drakeford AM and Julie Morgan AM. Now is the time to let the information gleaned from these meetings sink in, and wait to see what happens at the Petitions Committee meeting in a couple of weeks. However, anyone who knows me will realise that I am not built to remain silent, and action must be taken immediately, in an appropriate and decisive manner.

I have been lying awake most of the night, since returning from Cardiff and it was during these frustrating hours that I discovered what we must do. All talk of compromise should be rejected. We have been running a hugely successful campaign, that has gained much momentum. Now is the time to use the soft power we have collected, in a positive manner, and keep on campaigning. It is essential that we do so, because the fight to save WILG is vital to disability rights across the UK. We owe it to our friends in England and the 1,300 recipients [though this has gone down to 1,250 according to the latest figures quoted by the Welsh Government].

The fact that i qualify for extra hours of care and support is not something that i am particularly happy about, but it is a fact that i require extra help to get the most out of my limited life. My desire for extra care is not motivated by greed at all, simply NEED. I do not need or expect to see “every penny piece” of the £27 million given to the Welsh Government to provide full Social Care to former ILF recipients. I would gladly see a fraction of this money being spent on administration so that we had a independent social worker to turn to rather than complete reliance on local authorities.

Former ILF recipients who currently receive WILG, have already been through an assessment process to prove that they have a certain level of care and support needs to be eligible for special treatment. Why should this certainty be pulled from underneath them in a cruel and callous manner? 

HID keeps saying that 400 WILG recipients have already made the transfer to direct payment, and some of these have received more hours of care. They are still at the mercy of underfunded local authorities and even though the Welsh Government promised to keep an eye on this, I cannot see this happening once the transition period has ended.

I was worrying about all of this last night. At 3.00 I woke up needing the loo. I use a bottle beside my bed that I had already filled with urine before waking up again. I struggled for 30 minutes to pick up  my full urinal, with my spasticated hands, through fear of spillage. When I finally managed to move the urinal in to position, I had already lost some of the contents of my bladder  on to the mattress. I had to remain on my wet mattress until help arrived at 9.00am. Try telling me that I don’t deserve 24 hour care, something that my own social worker told me that I would have “no chance” of getting from Wrexham Council, as “no one in Wrexham gets that amount of care”.

I should also note that I do not believe that I am in a good mental place to be going through the stresses and strains of another social care reassessment. It is totally needless and uncalled for, but it could save Wrexham Council a few pennies and we must remember that they need to find some spare cash to give the councillors another pay rise, and the latest iPads. I shouldn’t really complain.

I don’t see why we can’t protect people with high care and support needs, by noting all of the problems in this transition period and extending it indefinitely for at least 1,250 people. We should also allow this scheme to be open to others with high care and support needs, who need the guarantee of adequate support that local authorities alone just cannot provide. After bringing the campaign so far, I have certainly got no intention of cosying up to Wrexham Council. Someone has got to put their neck on the line for the sake of disabled rights in the UK, it may as well be me. I want to show the authorities up for what they really are.

I would also ask, yet again, for full access again to the consultation papers that were sent out to recipients. The Welsh Government have previously tried to fob us off with a mere summary that they have produced. This is not what we are asking for as we are only to aware that a summary document can be edited to suit the views of the Government. It does appear that the consultation was not adequately considered and that a decision to scrap WILG had been made before the consultation process even started. It also seems highly unusual that no minutes exist from the stakeholder group meetings.

I am not asking for the moon on a stick, just the chance to play the game of life on a level playing field. In turn, this would give Welsh Labour the opportunity to create some positive PR [at a time when they need it], and show that politicians can show some humility and humanity.

The fight continues …