The Green Party General Election candidate for Darlington has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover his costs.
Mike Cherrington, who has lived in the town for more than 20 years, hopes to raise £500 to cover the costs of his campaign.
Mr Cherrington said that because he has worked in social care and mental health services for the past 20 years, he has seen the negative impact of cuts to health and social care, and is strongly against the privatisation of the NHS.
He also aims to get young people involved and interested in politics, and hopes to provide support for small businesses in the town, as well as challenging inequality in Darlington so all residents have equal opportunities and are paid the living wage.
Having worked in Middlesbrough with victims of sexual abuse, Mr Cherrington believes victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect and believes restorative justice should be used to help prevent reoffending.
“I am not a politician and have never been involved in politics before. I feel very passionately about standing and making a change for people,” he said.
“The Green Party is a positive alternative for the community and one that brings hope.”
Scots are heading to the polls later this month to decide on the possibility of independence.
But one Newcastle man thinks the borders of any new country should be redrawn – south of the Tyne.
Andrew Gray, a member of the Green Party, has launched a petition that he hopes could lead to a referendum which could see Newcastle vote to leave England.
While the eyes of the nation have been on Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, Mr Gray, who lives in Heaton, believes the independence debate should extend beyond the Scottish borders.
Distance from London, tuition fees, the rising cost of social care and the privatisation of the NHS are among a hat-trick of reasons Mr Gray believes Newcastle should join Scotland.
“Many people in the North East feel distant from our government in Westminster, both economically and politically.
“The Scottish Parliament has proved that different ways of running public services are possible, including an NHS without the internal market, higher education without tuition fees, and, if there’s a yes vote in the referendum, defence without the threat of Trident.
“We therefore call on the UK Government to grant a referendum to all who live north of Hadrian’s Wall, or in Newcastle and North Tyneside council areas.
“We would choose whether to remain in England or to join Scotland.
“We call on the Government to arrange and fund this referendum, and to be bound by the result.”
Dr Alistair Clark, a senior politics lecturer at Newcastle University, said the idea was “interesting” but that Scotland is unlikely to expand.
He said feelings of neglect by Westminster have helped lead to the Scottish independence debate as well as devolved power for Northern Ireland and Wales, and those are shared by the region.
“It’s an interesting idea and obviously there’s a lot of sympathy and shared feeling and a lot of links between Scotland and the North of England.
“The issue that it points to is that the north has not been well-governed from Westminster.”
But he added:
“I do not think anyone has interest in moving the border. I don’t really think Scotland wants to add stacks of territory and I don’t really think England would want to give it up.
“There is no political will behind this and you would need considerable political will to make this move.”
The referendum on Scottish independence is due to take place on September 18.
> Why stop at the north bank of the Tyne ? Extend the Scottish border to the north bank of the Tees !
Source – Newcastle Journal, 01 Sept 2014
Hundreds of people gathered to give a rousing send off to the crusade launched by a group of North East mums protesting against the “privatisation” of the NHS.
One of the organisers, call centre worker Joanna Adams, 41, said she was “totally taken aback” at the turn out at their starting point, Jarrow Town Hall in South Tyneside.
“There must be seven or 800 people here,” she said. “It shows how many people care about the NHS. It’s really moving. It shows the majority of people are decent human beings, not the self serving and greedy people some would have you believe.”
Those taking part in the ‘People’s March for the NHS’ are to follow the historic Jarrow Crusade route of 1936 when over 200 men – and local MP Ellen Wilkinson – marched to the Houses of Parliament to protest about the lack of work.
The march this time is in response to government legislation they feel is leading to the privatisation of the NHS.
At the town hall send off speeches were given by politicians, union officials and Lizi Gray, the great granddaughter of one of the original marchers.
“It was a lovely symbolic gesture,” said Joanna.
Then, to the strains of the Proclaimers song ‘I’m Gonna Be (500miles) which the Scottish duo “gave” to the campaign and is now being used as their signature song, they set off.
The group will actually be walking 300 miles and are due to arrive at the Houses of Parliament on September 6, in time for Prime Minister’s Question time that day.
The idea stemmed from a group of 11 Darlington mums who wanted to highlight the damage caused by the Health and Social Care Act which has led to the increasing privatisation of the NHS
“The idea was floating around for a while – it seemed such a crazy idea – then in March we decided just to do it,” said Joanna.
As the marchers headed on their first leg to Chester-le-Street with many of those who originally come to give them a send off actually joining in, she added: “This is what British values are. We’re generous, we care about equality and justice, something that isn’t acknowledged. There is such a thing as society.
“They talk about choice, well this is our choice. We want the NHS. We want public services properly funded. We own it and they have no business trying to take it away from us.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 16 Aug 2014
Family doctors have raised concerns that the NHS is being deliberately undermined by Government and persistent negative headlines.
More than 90% of medics and practice managers polled by Newcastle and North Tyneside Local Medical Committee believe the health service is being unfairly damaged.
Doctors fear that Government reforms brought in by the Health and Social Care Act are increasing commercialisation and privatisation of the NHS, while some medics have accused the Coalition of using GPs as political scapegoats to damage the profession’s reputation at a time of wide-scale change.
Dr George Rae, chairman of the North East British Medical Association, said: “This NHS survey is very worrying because it is showing a huge percentage of concern among the profession.
“It is again saying that unless we start to protect the NHS and stop undermining it, we are in danger of losing something that is very important to British society and changing it out of all recognition.
“There are instances of the undermining of health services for political gain, with the blame falling very unfairly on GPs.”
Doctors have become annoyed that they are being criticised for failings in the NHS, with A & E increased attendances “unfairly blamed” on GP out-of-hours contract changes.
In the North East survey, as many as 93% of GPs and practice managers said they felt the health service was being deliberately undermined, with an average response of one doctor or practice manager per medical surgery in Newcastle and North Tyneside. Dr Ken Megson, executive of Newcastle and North Tyneside Local Medical Committee, said: “The NHS has been getting a kicking and moral is very low. I can’t understand why the profession is getting knocked all the time.”
Retired accountant Ken Sykes has used the NHS all his life and is happy with the level of care he has received.
The 72-year-old fears that the health service will be damaged by negative headlines and private companies entering the NHS.
Mr Sykes, a father-of-three, from Whitley Bay, said: “I worry about the future of the NHS and what it means for patients.
“My experience of the health service has been good and it alarms me at what is happening. It really gets to me when there is a campaign to undermine the NHS.
“If people are not happy with the health service now, then they don’t know what bad is, as it will get worse.
“Patients will suffer as private companies will not want to deal with all the nasty, tricky, long-term health complaints.”
Source – Newcastle Journal 14 April 2014