From The Guardian: Stephen Hawking’s robust defence of the NHS set the tone for the row to come. When the NHS was plunged into crisis14amid plans to privatise the service, Hawking lashed out at the politicians he held responsible in a 2017 speech at the Royal Society of Medicine. He blamed ministers for funding cuts, pay caps and weakening the service through privatisation. He saw it all leading to a “US-style insurance system”.
He singled out Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, for particular criticism. In arguing for a seven-day NHS, Hunt claimed that 11,000 patients a year died because of understaffing of hospitals at weekends. Hawking pointed out that of the eight studies Hunt had cited, four were not peer reviewed, and that 13 more that Hunt had failed to mention contradicted the view.
From The Guardian: Sam Allardyce has branded the growing number of foodbanks in Britain a national disgrace, after visiting one in his role as Everton FC manager this week.
Allardyce, together with his assistant Sammy Lee, donated food on behalf of the club to the North Liverpool foodbank on Thursday. Supporters of Everton and Liverpool have held regular collections for the facility, one of 428 operated within the Trussell Trust Network, having set up the Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative. Three wards surrounding Goodison Park are among the poorest in Europe, with up to 42% of families living under the Living Wage Foundation’s poverty line.
After praising the patients, parents and staff at Alder Hey, he said: “It’s extremely depressing that a country of this magnitude, and where it thinks it lies in itself, can allow so many food banks to be operating in this country.
Neville Southall kept goal for Wales 92 times between 1982 and 1998, and a club record 750 times for Everton. World Soccer magazine named him one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th Century. Since his retirement he has worked extensively with disadvantaged children, and set up his own educational consultancy.
From BBC News: Stephen Hawking says he is worried about the future of the NHS, attacking the impact of government policies and the health secretary in person.
In a speech on Saturday, the Cambridge University scientist is expected to accuse Jeremy Hunt of “cherry-picking” evidence to support his policies.
And he will also say he is concerned about the involvement of the private sector in the NHS in England.
Akala, a Mobo award-winning hip-hop artist and founder of the Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, writes in the Guardian: “I have a confession to make: I have never voted in a general election in my life. Despite attending more demos with my parents than I care to remember, I have never yet cast a vote. I can hear the voices of disapproval. Don’t bother; it has been a conscious choice. Many people have been trained to see the Houses of Parliament as the only site of political activity and their vote as their only, or at least primary, obligation. I was, thankfully, not raised with such a narrow view of political engagement.
“However, I will be voting for the first time in June and I will – I am shocked to be typing this – be voting Labour. I am not a Labour supporter; I do not share the romantic idea that the Labour party was ever as radical an alternative as some would like to think. Despite building the welfare state, Labour has been an imperialist party from Attlee to Wilson to Blair, thus as a “third world” internationalist I have never been able to vote for them.
“So why will I be voting now? Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not that I am naive enough to believe that one man (who is, of course, powerless without the people that support him) can fundamentally alter the nature of British politics, or that I think that if Labour wins that the UK will suddenly reflect his personal political convictions, or even that I believe that the prime minister actually runs the country. However for the first time in my adult life, and perhaps for the first time in British history, someone I would consider to be a fundamentally decent human being has a chance of being elected.
[Read full column on the Guardian website…]
From The Guardian: The government’s cycling and walking investment strategy “won’t be worth the paper it’s written on” unless backed by sustained funding, cycling campaigners claim.
The British Cycling policy adviser and 1992 individual pursuit Olympic champion Chris Boardman believes far more ambition is needed if Britain is to create a cycling and walking culture to rival countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands.
His comments come as the government launched its blueprint to encourage more walking and cycling with the aim of boosting the number of people who get around by bike or on foot by 2040. Yet the ambition is backed by just £316m over the next five years, barely half the cost of upgrading Bank tube station in London. “Frankly it’s embarrassing,” said Boardman.
The funds available for both walking and cycling work out at just £1.38 per person in England outside London, according to the CTC, a national cycling charity. The CTC notes that the Department for Transport has set aside £15bn to upgrade motorways and trunk roads.
[Read full article on Guardian website…]