Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Thatcher’s Tories covered up the tainted blood scandal

Issue No. 2578

Contaminated blood killed over 2,400 people

Contaminated blood killed over 2,400 people (Pic: Blood Services/flickr)


Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government had a deliberate policy of refusing to accept any responsibility for allowing contaminated blood to be given to haemophiliacs.

Cabinet documents seen by Sky News last week show senior ministers in the 1987 Tory government discussing the policy.

They show that ministers also tried to limit the government’s financial liability to victims.

Yet ministers acknowledged that the government could not “refute convincingly” the allegation that it was responsible.

The scandal saw thousands of people given contaminated blood and blood products throughout the late 1970s and 1980s.

Governments bought it cheaply from the US despite repeated warnings that it was unsafe.

Over 2,400 people have since died after contracting HIV and Hepatitis C.

Tory secretary of state for social security John Moore wrote a cabinet memo in November 1987.

Fallout

It refers to a proposal put to a high-level meeting to discuss the fallout from the scandal.

Moore acknowledged the scale of the problem. “Around 1,200 haemophiliacs were infected before 1986 with the HIV virus and about 40 have already died,” he wrote.

“The prognosis for the remainder is bleak.”

Discussing compensation, he said that a £10 million “once-and-for-all payment” for victims would be “particularly attractive as it minimises Government intervention; and it would be consistent with the policy of not accepting any direct responsibility for damage caused in this way.”

Some of those infected who accepted payments in the 1990s have lost any right to legal action as a result.

Jason Evans, whose father died after being treated with contaminated blood, said the memo is “some of the clearest evidence that points towards a cover-up”.

Moore was made a life peer in 1992.

Theresa May has promised an inquiry into the scandal, but three months on no chair has been appointed.


Just relax while the ultra-rich flourish

The UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2017 said the combined wealth of the world’s 1,542 billionaires rose by almost a fifth last year to £4.5 trillion.

That’s more than double the value of all the goods and services produced in Britain in a year.

UBS/PwC said, “Despite a period of heightened geopolitical uncertainty, the world’s ultrawealthy are flourishing.” And they should know.

UBS/PwC help billionaires protect their wealth from grubby people such as tax collectors.

There are arguments about how much it would cost to eliminate the most extreme elements of global poverty. Some say it is as little as £151 billion.

The billionaires’ £4.5 trillion is more than 30 times that figure.

Instead the cash goes on mansions, land, super-yachts, elite cars, buying sports teams and ways of making yet more money.


Men who attended a small group of top private schools are still 94 times more likely to reach the powerful and prominent positions in society.

New research suggests that former pupils of nine leading fee-paying schools, including Eton and Harrow, are much more likely to be included in Who’s Who than those who attended any other school.

These nine are called the “Clarendon schools”. Troublemaker readers won’t need reminding Clarendon schools are a group private schools made up of Charterhouse, Eton, Harrow, Merchant Taylor’s, Rugby, Shrewsbury, St Paul’s, Westminster and Winchester College.

The findings show that for the 2016 edition of Who’s Who alone, the graduates of these nine schools are 94 times more likely to be included than those who attended any other institution.


Bagless judge steps down

A High Court judge who complained about his lost luggage when hearing a case involving British Airways is to retire before his disciplinary hearing can begin.

Justice Peter Smith, had been effectively suspended for 18 months pending investigations into his luggage remarks and into another complaint.

His resignation meant he will no longer face disciplinary proceedings, which were due to begin on Monday.

Justice Peter Smith, the senior judge in the High Court’s chancery division has been on full pay of £181,566 while not sitting.

If he had refused to step down after the disciplinary hearing his removal would have required a motion from the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor from both houses of parliament.


10% rise in night working

Night working has risen by nearly 10 percent in the past five years, a study shows.

The “night shift army” is now 3.2 million-strong, one in eight of workers. some 62 percent of these men.

And black workers are much more likely than white colleagues to do late turns in security, healthcare and manufacturing.

Some 18 percent of black employees work nights, significantly more than the 11 percent of white workers, the TUC research revealed.

Yorkshire and theNorth West lead the way in the dark with one in nine workers working in the night.


CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro included killing him with an exploding seashell, giving him a contaminated diving suit and poisoning him with botulism, newly released documents reveal.

But, “there was no shell in the Caribbean area large enough to hold a sufficient amount of explosive which was spectacular enough to attract the attention of Castro.”


More than half a million over-65s will not get the flu vaccination this winter, a Labour analysis shows. And 340,000 toddlers will miss out on the jab, as the Tories slash the flu awareness campaign budget to £3.6million over six years.

Labour spent £7.1 million over the same period.


THE THINGS THEY SAY

‘Germany, Austria, Holland and I’ve forgotten somebody…Czechoslovakia!’

David Davis the Tory minister responsible for negotiating with Europe over Brexit doesn’t know that Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed since 1993

‘We are working to understand every factor of the cost’

Lockheed Martin spokesperson responds to the British government not knowing how much it has spent or is going to spend on new F35 jets

‘Not having a bunker is a bit like not having car insurance’

Ron Hubbard owner of Survival Condo which provides £150,000 survival bunkers for the rich worried about the coming apocalypse

‘The prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn government is enough to make the sensitive keep a bottle of whisky and revolver handy’

Margaret Thatcher’s former liar-in-chief Sir Bernard Ingham offers hope


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