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Owen Smith: the corporate candidate

Owen Smith is on record as being pro-choice aka privatisation in the health sector. Having worked at the heart of America’s corporate world, he is acceptable to right-wing Labour and Conservatives.

owen smith


However, public support for the principled Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, continues to rise: more than 55,000 people have paid £25 to vote in the Labour leadership cpntest this week, with most expected to be Mr Corbyn’s backers and tens of thousands more are expected to sign up today before the deadline. 

 JC rally post referendumRally: post referendum support for Corbyn

As head of government affairs for Pfizer, which involved lobbying and public relations for the US drug company, Owen Smith endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering patients a choice between NHS services and private-sector healthcare providers. He moved on to work as head of corporate affairs at the biotech company Amgen until 2015 before becoming Labour MP for the safe seat of Pontypridd in 2010.

During his time as a Pfizer lobbyist, Mr Smith helped the drugs company to strike an exclusive distribution agreement with UniChem, the wholesaling arm of Alliance-Boots, examined by the Office of Fair Trading, whose chief executive warned that such agreements “could cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds while reducing standards of service”.

Owen Smith’s choice was to join Pfizer and Amgen, American firms whose products have been charged with significantly harming health.

Jeremy Corbyn’s choice was to work for union members, for international human rights, for good public services, for his constituents, for nuclear disarmament, for just defence: against the war on Iraq and apartheid in South Africa and Israel-Palestine.

Your choice?




Right of recall: we already have a capable independent body, uniquely qualified to pass judgment on MPs

In a mature and functioning democracy, constituents should be able to hold their MP to account at all times, not just at the election.

If events cause a majority of constituents to lose confidence in their MP, they should have the right to remove that MP. It is a right that shouldn’t be limited to issues of expenses. It should simply be a matter of confidence.

zac recall

 MP Zac Goldsmith continues (and may be heard on video):

“Readers will know that this is precisely what all the mainstream parties promised before the election, when the expenses scandal really took hold.

“But when it came to delivering the promised Recall system, the job was given to Nick Clegg, and it became clear early on that his “biggest shake-up of our democracy in 178 years” wasn’t going to involve giving people more of it.

“Instead, he wants to empower a Parliamentary Committee to decide if an MP qualifies for Recall — as it happens, the very same Parliamentary Committee that ruled this week on Maria Miller’s expenses. What’s more, Clegg’s criteria are so narrow that even if an MP were to take a 5-year holiday, they wouldn’t qualify for Recall.

“What seems to have slipped the net in recent debates is the fact that we already have an independent body, capable and uniquely qualified to pass judgment on MPs. It’s called the electorate. The only difficulty, for now, is that they don’t have the powers to do so”.

“In a mature and functioning democracy, constituents should be able to hold their MP to account at all times, and not just at the election.

“I have made the point to Nick Clegg many times, and his answer is always the same – we don’t want ‘kangaroo courts’. But when you consider that Recall simply involves empowering constituents to hold their MP to account, it is an extraordinarily offensive thing to say. It also reveals an intense fear of the electorate.

“It’s an unjustified fear, as evidenced all around the world where Recall exists and where voters display a reassuring immunity to vexatious campaigns. I have argued about Recall with a handful of MPs who disapprove of my stance on the issue. Two of them recently altered their views when they became embroiled in, as it happens, unfair controversies of their own. They realised their constituents are far more inclined to hear the arguments and consider the facts than anyone in the press or on social media”.

There must be a build up of pressure on the political establishment to honour its early promise, to trust the people, and to adapt our democracy to the modern age. Please sign here if you support Recall. 

HMG petition recall

The petition is open for signatures until 5.11.14