On Kanye West, Glastonbury and Online Petitions

In three months time I’ll be heading to the Glastonbury Festival, where I’ll be doing voluntary work with the Oxfam Stewards [n.b. I’m writing in a personal capacity here, not as a representative of the Oxfam Stewards.] As I write there’s an online petition demanding that Saturday headliner Kanye West be cancelled and replaced by a rock band. There’s 123,000 signatures on it. Given that 135,000 tickets have been sold for Glasto, at some point (probably in the next couple of days) more people will have signed the petition than are actually going.

This leaves open two possibilities. One is that in June the population of Worthy Farm will be Kanye, me and some cows. The other is that a lot of the people signing had no intention of going in the first place.

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From Clicktivism to Activism

Reflections on Bevan’s Run

Yesterday, I went to the Department of Health to watch the end of Bevan’s Run. If you haven’t come across ‘Bevan’s Run’ it involved two hospital consultants, Clive Peedell and David Wilson – both cancer specialists in Middlesborough, running from Aneurin Bevan’s statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health based at Richmond House in London – 160 miles in six days. They did this to raise awareness of public (and professional) opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill.

My reasons for going to meet the runners (with a few hundred others) in London was to express my support for what they had done and my agreement in the agenda which they were promoting – namely that there is no mandate for this coalition government to dismantle and privatise the NHS – because that is what they are doing.

While I was there, I both chatted and listened to chatter of those around me – many with much more experience than me in the sector (there seemed to be a lot of doctors milling around) about the wish to demonstrate opposition again and again. The phrase ‘lions led by donkeys’ raised its heads in reference to professional leadership which had not (with some notable exceptions) provided  much leadership in opposing and disseminating the government’s plans.

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