Thursday, February 04, 2010

Give a little love (and it all comes back to you)

Third World Debt.  We’ve sorted it haven’t we? No! 80% of developing country debt is yet to be cancelled.  This means millions of people, in some of the poorest countries around the world, are paying for the mistakes of their nations past with their lives as their leaders have to pay off debts, rather than pay to build the basis of a fair and equitable state.

This Friday MPs have a chance to continue to answer our cry for Justice.  The Vulture Funds Bill aims to limit the profit private companies can make from developing countries.  It doesn’t alter the working of the debt market, as it allows private companies to buy up debt, but it does stop private companies suing for over and above the cost of the debt (and suitable costs).

The situation in Haiti has reignited the issue of debt in many peoples eyes.  It is still true that Haiti, after all it has been through, owes over $800million in debt to the world.  Lets ensure that private companies can’t put Haiti, or Zambia or many of the other countries threatened by action through such situations again.

Ask your MP to turn up on Friday. It will take only 100 MPs voting ‘aye’ to speed this through to the next hoop in the legislative agenda.

This isn’t just about a small act of democracy.  This about ensuring that money held by countries crippled by debt is used to better their own nation. Not to line the pockets of private fund managers.

Act today

a)    Vote for the Private Members Bill this Friday 

b)    Ask them to Sign onto to the Early Day Motion

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tainted Blood?

I was born in 1984.  Due to a premature birth, and subsequent complications, I underwent various substantial operations before I was one year old.  As these procedures are likely to have included blood transfusions I am unable to give blood.  Sitting on the train back home today I sat opposite someone who was the reason why.

My fellow commuter, sat in his wheelchair, had come fresh from parliament. He, and his assistant (suspect it was his mum!) had been lobbying their MP to support the Contaminated Blood (Support for Infected and Bereaved Persons) Bill. (For background see here) This Bill aims to establish suitable compensation and long-term medical support for individuals who have contracted haemophilia, hepatitis B, or C, human immunodeficiency virus, human T-lymphotropic virus, syphilis and/or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease as a result of blood transfusions.

He described his situation as ‘living with a time bomb’.  He contracted a disease that will slowly degenerate his body, leaving others with nothing left to do but countdown to death.  This was delivered to him in the form of a blood transfusion, intending to help him.

As a mature society we have a duty of care.  We have a duty of care to provide all the medical support we can to enable our citizens to live life in all its fullness.  I’m happy to not be able to donate blood until screening is able to truly declare my blood safe*.  However when, in the case of the diseases listed above, acts carried out in good faith (ie the blood transfusions) have lead to the individual being delivered a life sentence, rather than enhancement, I think it is up-to all of us to lobby and ensure they are given suitable support.

Take Action: Lobby your MP to

a)    Vote for the Private Members Bill this Friday

b)    Sign upto the Early Day Motion Number on the issue

Contact your MP using WriteToThem

So, The Carnival is Over

America has its lame duck period. We just have a fake election.  From the moment parliament returned from it’s recess, Parliament was gearing up less to deliver good legislation and more to stake each parties claim for its right to rule.
Tonight and tomorrow I wish to highlight two items up for debate this Friday. 

On this day, MPs who choose to be in London can show their support for Private Members Bills that aim to bring in legislation that the Government has either been unwilling to unable to demonstrate themselves.

For me, an election isn’t an excuse to stop delivering justice and the two issues I wish to highlight demonstrate how – even in the dying days of the current government – MPs have the chance to deliver justice.

Oh, and did I mention – these aren’t abstract MPs.  These means YOUR MP has the chance to deliver on the issue.

So hold tight, embrace this digital age and prepare to send two emails.  One today and one tomorrow.

And if you really care.  Email your MP then pick up the phone and tell them about what you’ve just sent them.

Your email could make all the difference.