Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2387

Tory health cuts are denying me my cancer medication 

I am a stage three cancer patient who is trying hard to stay calm as I tell you this.

 But I’m just so enraged that the government is denying me a drug that could prolong my life by several years. 

I was prescribed Avastin, a drug that slows the growth of new blood vessels.

Avastin is particularly effective for some types of cancer. It works by blocking the protein and stops the cancer from developing new blood vessels. 

This reduces the cancer’s supply of oxygen and nutrients so the tumour shrinks or stops growing.

There is clear evidence that it works and gives people extra years of life. Many cancer patients have called it a miracle drug in the way it gives them extra years of life with their loved ones.

In 2011, 331,487 people were diagnosed with cancer in Britain.

Everyone fears getting that diagnosis and that they or a family member might one day have to face the cancer battle.

 However, despite the effective properties of drugs such as Avastin, the Tory government has decided that due to health cuts it is “too expensive”. 

Therefore my prescription will not be renewed. Half of people diagnosed with cancer can go on to survive the disease for five years.

This is thanks to medications such as Avastin. 

It is disgusting that the government is denying people the right to years of life because they are hacking away at the health service.

The government always seems to find ample money for armaments, but not for people’s real needs.

 The drug companies do charge a lot for these drugs. But the government doesn’t confront that. 

Instead it denies me the treatment that could make such a difference to my life.

Name and address supplied

Remember the suffering and struggle

The Tories want us to celebrate the First World War, but they want us to forget about all the unnecessary suffering, and the class struggle within it. 

My grandfather joined up in 1914, and following a minor wound he suffered all the rest of his life with diseases that he contracted in a battlefield dressing station. 

Both of his brothers were killed in the war.  

And my grandmother’s brothers had both been seriously injured in the war.

One lost an eye and one lost an arm. All the suffering taught soldiers some hard lessons about the kind of society they lived in. 

Afterwards, some soldiers started to called themselves “the Mugs of 1914”.

 However, most people were still patriotic, but in a different way because of their experiences. 

Take for example the Norfolk farmworkers’ strike of 1923. 

Pickets assembled at war memorials, and the ex-servicemen’s British Legion sent its silver marching band onto the picket lines.

And scabs were asked, “Where were you in 1914?”

Paul Burnham, North London

Women’s looks come under sexist scrutiny

I was saddened and shocked to read that there was a game app marketed at nine year old girls which made them give “ugly” girls plastic surgery.

But still I suppose such an app was only the next step from the constant bombardment women face to look a certain way.

In the run-up to Christmas women were told we had to look our best for our work parties. 

Then after Christmas we were told we had to look good for going back to work after “overindulging” over the holiday period.

Now we’re being told to get our bodies into shape for the bikini season.

I’ve had enough.

It’s good that the disgusting app has been taken off of the market after an outraged response, but the ideas behind it go much deeper.

Women face sexism every day, in work and from the media. We need to stick together to beat it.

Charlotte McNamaraEast London

Capitalism at school

My eight year old niece’s school is doing its best to turn its students into budding capitalist entrepreneurs.

Her class were given £5 each and told that they must use the money to make a profit.

They were told they had to keep a record of all the monies spent, and were asked, “How will you reinvest any of the profits made?”.

All of the profits went to the school and the kids even had to hand back the £5 investment. 

What a depressing task to give a child!

Garry MaclachlanGreenock, Inverclyde

‘Strikes’ for the bosses

An otherwise excellent piece on the violent clashes in Bangladesh after the elections (Socialist Worker, 11 January), states “commuters have been burnt to death by protesters throwing bombs at strike defying buses”.

There are serious errors in this sentence. Firstly the “strikes” are hartals imposed on workers by bourgeois politicians. 

Workers are not consulted and demands are not in workers’ interests.

A hartal was imposed in defence of corrupt gangster politicians caught stealing government funds while I was in Dhaka last year. The “protesters” are goons, drawn from the slums and paid a bowl of rice to kill.

John Stockwoodby email

Johnson’s class hatred

Boris Johnson’s request for water cannon shows his complete contempt for people’s right to protest.

Moreover it shows his fear of working class people taking to the streets. 

People should not be deterred by his threats of repression.

Maggie DavisEast London

The dangers of fracking

The Fracking process and its side effects are not known as there has not been enough time to evaluate the possible dangers to human life and health. 

The information coming out of the US is frightening. Fracking uses up to 600 different chemicals and at least eight chemicals that are carcinogenic. 

By promoting fracking, David Cameron is complicit in creating a possible major health situation in the years ahead.

David HillHuddersfield

Ed Miliband’s middle vision

I read with dismay the words of Ed Miliband when he said that he will fight for the improvement for the middle classes in Britain.

As leader of the Labour Party I would like him to fight for the rights of all the people put under this Tory-led coalition of butchers.

I would like him to spell out a future for the working class who are, after all, the middle class without frills. 

Why not take the chance and go for a Britain rebuilt with a common infrastructure, with young workers as the core of a decent society? 

Graham ManleyLiverpool

Don’t allow cops to kill

The police can’t have a licence to go around and kill people.

We have to do what we can to make sure that they know they can’t get away with killing people, like they did Mark Duggan.

Name withheldNorth London


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Article information

Tue 21 Jan 2014, 17:01 GMT
Issue No. 2387
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