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Broken Britain 7: prolonged, tragic sagas: infected blood transfusions, OP poisoning and Gulf War Syndrome, denial and delay, pending death

The Haemophilia Society has blown the whistle and called for an enquiry into its own failure and that of government, pharma and clinicians. More here.

Medics and politicians knew by the mid-1970s that commercially manufactured blood products from the USA were suspect. By the mid-1980s there were warnings of a similar situation in respect of HIV. Nevertheless these products continued to be imported and used – just as OP sheep dips were.

British haemophiliacs and other victims’ lives were blighted in the 1970s and 1980s by these cheap imported US blood products, harvested from inmates and drug addicts. More than 7,000 were infected and went on unknowingly to infect family

Last week in The Times, Margarette Driscoll recalls that in 2015, following the Penrose report into contaminated blood products in Scotland (which many victims denounced as a whitewash), David Cameron apologised to those who were infected by HIV and hepatitis C.

Weasel words

References to “compensation” have been changed to “payments” – to avoid admitting the liability which is already common knowledge? The sums received by victims of the contaminated blood scandal are known as ex gratia payments.

In April, as he left the Commons, the former health secretary Andy Burnham declared there had been a “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale in the NHS” over contaminated blood and called for a Hillsborough-style inquiry.

Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull North, has been campaigning on the issue since she met one of her constituents, a mild haemophiliac who was given factor VIII in 1983 to prevent excessive bleeding when he had a tooth removed in hospital. He discovered he was infected with hepatitis C in 1995, when it showed up on blood tests for an unrelated illness.

As Theresa May had set up the Hillsborough inquiry when she was home secretary, Johnson was hopeful she would do the same for contaminated blood.

May refused. Johnson requested an urgent Commons debate, which was due to be held on Tuesday. She then got the six leaders of the opposition parties — including the DUP — to sign a letter to Ms May asking for an inquiry, and this is to be set up.

Adding insult to injury? Payment to many victims of NHS blood contamination is to be cut

In March this year a scheme to pay the victims of NHS blood contamination is to be scaled back under government plans announced on Monday. Ministers believe the reforms are necessary because more people are now considered likely to develop serious health issues – and be entitled to higher payouts – pushing the programme as much as £123m over budget.

The government has proposed measures that would cut predicted costs, including limiting the availability of the higher level of financial support under the scheme

Will an enquiry compensate the victims of this NHS for the cuts?





Jeremy Corbyn: an honest politician who cares for the 99%

jeremy corbyn

Corbyn is a true socialist, and a strong anti-poverty advocate. His words about Greece apply to Britain as well

jeremy corbyn text

He is and has always been against:

        • NHS privatisation
        • lighter banking regulation,
        • the Iraq war
        • introducing tuition fees in England,
        • academies
        • private finance initiatives
        • Gaza–Israel conflict
        • corporate tax loopholes

      He is and has been for: 

        • the release of the Guildford Four
        • the release of Nelson Mandela
        • the release of Birmingham Six
        • renationalisation of railways
        • a higher minimum wage
        • a higher rate of tax for the wealthiest
        • an increased corporate tax rate to fund public services
        • Palestine Solidarity Campaign
        • the rights of the forcibly-removed Chagossians to return to their territory

He has the spirit of the postwar Labour government and, after speaking about his own beliefs, records their achievements on television, here:

jeremy corbyn rt 1                                                                                               

At hustings up and down the country Jeremy Corbyn is being cheered on. See a brief clip on education from the contenders’ evening in Birmingham. It was interesting to see Andy Burnham applauding Corbyn whilst the other contenders looked askance. According to the Telegraph, the MP for Islington North ‘wows’ audience .


Readers who feel so moved may donate to his campaign costs and wish him well on September 12:


The FT, which backed the Conservative bid, reports on Blairite activity

99%-399% thrown to the wolves?

George Parker, Political Editor of the Financial Times, under the heading “Labour war erupts as Blairites turn on Ed Miliband” foresees a bitter ideological battle for the party leadership:

“Lord Mandelson (Ed: firmly allied with the ‘mega-rich’) said Mr Miliband and his supporters had made a ‘terrible mistake’ in abandoning the New Labour centre ground and undertaking ‘a giant political experiment’ that went badly wrong”.

Ed’s ‘vanity project’? He dared to express some care for the millions in need rather than the already prosperous

Philip Collins, a former Blair speech writer and columnist, tweeted that it would take more than five years to repair the damage of the defeat: “That is the price of the Ed vanity project. He lost two elections in one night.”

The trade union bogeyman

Lord Mandelson said the trade unions that helped to deliver victory for Ed Miliband in the party’s 2010 leadership contest could do the same again by enrolling Labour supporting union members to vote in the 2015 contest. “We cannot open ourselves up to the sort of abuse and inappropriate influence that the trade unions waded in with in our leadership election in 2010,” he said, failing to mention the type of influence he favours.

Bookmakers William Hill 2-1 favourite self declared candidate Chuka Umunna abandons the underprivileged millions

chuka umunnaSince Mr Miliband announced his resignation on Friday, Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary, has signalled his intention to run, echoing the Blairite theme that Mr Miliband had abandoned the centre ground. “For middle-income voters there was not enough of an aspirational offer there,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.

Parker ends: “Labour’s national executive committee will meet this week to draw up a timetable for the leadership contest. A shorter timetable might benefit Mr Burnham, who already has a great deal of party support, while other less well-known candidates would prefer a contest that runs into the autumn”.

The FT’s editor surmises that the burst of activity by the Blairites was intended to stall any potential momentum behind Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, who is ‘a firm favourite with public sector unions’. Corporate shudder . . .

Media appearances present Andy Burnham as sincere, caring and capable – a socialist in the tradition of those who brought in the welfare state and national health service – though his record with regard to reported Stafford Hospital failures gives pause for thought.

andy burnhamIf elected, he could work well with the progressive, humane SNP as long as he rejects the mainstream tradition of welcoming – even courting – advantageous corporate overtures. Untrammelled by corporate fetters, such a government could make decisions in the interests of electors rather than corporations.