Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Jack Jones

Today is a very sad one for Pensioners nationwide. Last night, 21st April, this genuine and honest man passed away to what we hope will be a peaceful rest.

Jack Jones was a prime mover in the Pensioner movement and played a major role in the inception of the National Pensioners Convention. We are proud to say that Jack was a patron of this Association, the Greater London Pensioners Association.

His life was a dedication to the working man but more than this it was a dedication interwoven with compassion and decency and these qualities manifested, notably when taking up the issues and plight of Britain's pensioners.

He never stinted to use his voice and reputation on our behalf, although, like many great men, his innate honesty and uprightness often worked against him.

We understand he refused entry to the House of Lords because he wanted to keep his feet on the ground. He nevertheless maintained his goodwill and efforts and even though old age was making it more and more difficult, he still attended our rallies and marches when his failing health allowed. He supported us, he inspired us, he was a living example of what a public figure should be

So we thank this cheerful man who was our figurehead at all times. In the words of the song, which were his perennial wave of goodbye to us whenever we met, he kept right on to the end of the road.

We are sure there will be a light waiting for you. Farewell, Jack.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Freedom Pass

A great number of voices have been raised over this Pass and the great fear was that Boris Johnson would do something to jeopardise its existence. Instead he has extended it to 24 hours, 7 days a week and we have in this blog advertised our gratitude and thanks. If our fears were unfounded then we are the first to admit it.

However, it appears to be a little known fact that Mr. Johnson has dropped the reserve scheme.

Most campaigning pensioners are aware that if certain Councils drop out of the Scheme, namely Westminster, Barnet, Bromley and possibly Havering, then the scheme will collapse and the Pass will be no more. This situation has been an ever-constant worry to the watchdog Pensioners. But our buffer to despair was the existence of the Reserve Power which, incidentally, last year was under threat from certain Lib Dem Lords.

Should the scheme collapse in this way, then Ken Livingstone had the reserve power brought into being so that a Pass of sorts could be substituted. It would not be so comprehensive and indeed may only cover bus routes, but it was a safety net for Pensioners.

One of the contributors to this blog was told that the scheme was based on usage because of the expense and we do not pretend to understand the ins and outs of this answer. What we do understand is that if finance is the pivotal point of the Pass's existence, then it certainly (in the present day financial crisis), is in jeopardy. It comes down as ever, to money.

The Pensioners get precious little but the Freedom Pass is their jewel in their somewhat tawdry crown.

The Pass enables movement, and thus averts dementia, boredom and depression. It enables pensioners to shop and spend, and their money is real cash, not airy-fairy credit card exchange, the very things which contributed to the current crisis and bankruptcy. So the pensioners moving about are the very folk who encourage commerce and keep the towns and boroughs alive and afloat.

So please all you good people out there get in touch with your Greater London Assembly Councillor, your local Councillors and your MP's voicing your concerns that should there be any chance of the scheme collapsing a RESERVE scheme WILL BE PUT IN PLACE to protect the one thing which is a breath of life to us, keeps us healthy and by so doing prevents us becoming a burden on the NHS.

Mr. Johnson please take note.

A footnote: We have been told that the sum allocated to Councils to assist them in their contributions to the Bus Pass is not ring-fenced and so (if this assertion is true) are able to raid it for their own purposes, not necessarily connected to Pensioners' travel. Correct us if we are wrong please.

Margaret Haywood

The registration of nurses is a condition which protects patients and ensures that only nurses registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council are allowed to practise. This condition guarantees a safe and reliable nursing profession.

The existence of this Council is to our great benefit and prevents the employment of unqualified and charlatan nurses who, without this safeguard, could otherwise endanger the health, and indeed the life, of those vulnerable and sick; particularly post operative patients and those in critical conditions.

However, in the case of Margaret Haywood whose recent actions of whistleblowing and allowing a TV programme, namely Panorama, to film the dire conditions of apparent neglect of elderly patients in care homes, it would appear that the Council has acted AGAINST the interests of those whom it should be protecting.

There is a fine line here between someone breaking a disciplinary code out of mischievousness, neglect or malice, and one flouting the rules because their conscience and concern for those patients in their care demand that they do so. Margaret Haywood quite clearly had the welfare and well-being of her patients at heart and it was a brave action on her part to put her own job at risk.

Technically, she may have been wrong, and, in the view of the Council, guilty of misconduct but surely this is a case where a discretionary and compassionate caution should have been applied.

How many people must suffer and in the case of the elderly sick, in fear and loneliness before anyone raises a hand to help them.

The Council have displayed a great lack of intelligence in their unrelenting attitude. Hamfistedness is a term which springs to mind. This is one instance where the Council should have initiated some investigation so that the well-being of patients is paramount; where a liberal and benevolent conclusion should have been reached, not solely governed by the code which was in place originally to protect those unable to protect themselves.

Margaret Haywood deserves to be reinstated and the Council will be doing themselves a great favour by acting to redress the great wrong they have committed. Patients must come first not codes, in this case thoroughly misapplied.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is at Camden Town Hall on Friday 3st July 2009 2009. Our
May meeting was due to hear a representative from TFL. Do come along, listen and air your views. See you then. See our latest item on the Freedom Pass.