The sky is overcast but I am upbeat. For the first morning since Ethelred fled I have escaped chicken duties. How? Everyone has their price and Albert and Vernon responded so well to a bribe that they could be contenders for FIFA. For the price of a couple of CDs – Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle respectively – they agreed to stand in for yours truly who had been rather late to bed as a result of attending the Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s annual vounteers Party.
The Rosemere cancer service covers a large slice of Lancashire and Cumbria and is at the forefront of the fight against man’s greatest scourge. Last night voluntary groups handed over almost £75,000, the result of countless fund-raising events. One group known as the Adlington Witches has been a source of great inspiration to me. Their amazing efforts have resulted in vast amounts being handed over. Two of their members have experienced cancer but that has made them even more determined to step up the fight.
We all know from our homes that technology is becoming more sophisticated by the year. And so it is with clinical equipment. The NHS can never afford to immediately purchase every new piece of kit the moment it appears and that is where the Foundation, a registered charity, comes in. Its aim is to keep the Rosemere service at the forefront of cancer treatment. If you live in Lancashire or Cumbria and have occasion to be referred to Rosemere you can be sure not only of a relaxed, friendly and caring place but one using the very latest weapons against cancer.
Hundreds packed the Preston Grasshoppers impressive premises last night and the atmosphere was a unique one. Yes a good time was had by all but underlying it was a sense of unity, of committment to a single cause. During our passage through this life one in three of us can expect some experience of cancer. It was once the disease mentioned only in hushed tones. No longer! Across the country charities such as the Rosemere Cancer Foundation are taking the fight to the common enemy. And they are beginning to win!
The Rosemere Foundation is well known for its initiatives. The latest one involves a new approach to St Valentines Day. On February 14th a very special evening at Blackburn Cathedral will be the centerpiece of a campaign based on the belief that everyone, of every age, has a Valentine in their hearts. It will be in effect a campaign of love, yet another feature of a battle that will only end when cancer is finally defeated.
It was good to learn that many of those present read this site. It means that today I can thank them publicly for all that they do, and will do in the future. People such as The Adlington Witches remind us that there are millions of good people out there, millions of fearless fighters prepared to defy and overturn the odds.
STUDENT REVOLT IS ONLY JUST BEGINNING!
Michael Chessum is an organiser for the national camapign against tuition fees and has issued a warning that what he calls the “rebirth of national discontent’ is only just starting. He writes that direct action has empowered a generation of young people, many of whom voted Lib Dem because they believed that they offered electoral reform, an end to the “two-party suffocation” and , most important of all, because the Lib Dems promised – all of them – to vote against a rise in tuition fees. He adds that “new politics” now looks empty and the very fact that around half of the Lib Dem MPs ensured that the Bill was passed means that the student body is at war with Nick Clegg’s party.
Mr Chessum reports that right now 30 universities are occupied, and schools and FE students are coming out in support of each national demonstration planned. His response to Vince Cable’s belief that once the students understand the new proposals all will be well is that they have already read them and they don’t like them.The proposals, he argues, will put up barriers to access for poorer students who fear a lifetime of debt; they will hammer arts and humanities; and they will lead to the closure or merging of universities that are reliant on grants, most of which are disproportionately populated with students from less privileged backgrounds.
Above all, Mr Chessum argues, lies the fact that the reforms threaten to turn universities into businesses and students into compliant consumers. As the protests have shown, and will show, students are nothing of the sort!
The article by Mr Chessum has had wide circulation and ends with a rallying call. It will be the task of every student to oppose the wholesale marketisation of society and to be steadfast. History tells that repeal is a serious possibility. The poll tax was passed and defeated as was the French CPE (first employment contract). The fight now is to resist the idea that every aspect of human progress is linked to free markets and corporate interests. The case, he believes, is likely to spread to millions of ordinary working people “after Christmas”.
It is strong stuff and it is evident that the Lib Dem action has triggered something that none of us could have envisaged. Much will depend on public reaction and support. The irony is that if the mindless violence of the protests held so far is repeated the public will recoil. Violence may be the coalition’s only hope of the affair fizzling out!
And there are many signs of that happening right now. People across the country were outraged at the desecration of the cenotaph by Cambridge graduate Charlie Gilmore, someone clearly devoid of any self understanding. This lout clearly has no regard for the sacrifices made by millions of young men and women, many of whom were not as privileged as him. Had those who gave their lives to fighting Hitler failed this country, today would not be one in which people like Mr Gilmore were tolerated!
Sadly punishment is now a dirty word in Kenneth Clarke’s system of justice. Mr Gilmore will probably be required to write out 100 lines!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1 First women army generals 2. Rhodesia
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which two clubs took part in the longest ever FACup tie? 2. Who was prime minister of Israel in 1970?