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Showing posts from July, 2013

Unruly Dog - The Spokesman 121

William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary, couldn’t bring himself to utter Edward Snowden’s name, when he made an urgent statement to the House of Commons on 10 June 2013. This was in the wake of Snowden’s revelations about ‘Prism’, the US National Security Agency’s covert and extensive surveillance operation, which has been ongoing since 2007. Mr Hague wasn’t going to comment on ‘leaks’, as he repeatedly told the House. This rather put the Foreign Secretary 'behind the curve' in the debate that followed, excerpts from which are reproduced in this number of The Spokesman. Some of his comments to the House have been called into question by subsequent developments. We publish some of the seminal texts of this developing story. *** The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation was established in 1963. In this, our fiftieth anniversary year, we take stock a little. What was happening then? What pre-occupied Russell? What was the peace movement doing? Contents: Editorial

NHS care squeezed by contrived financial crisis

July 18 2013 by Mike Marqusee The financial crisis threatening jobs and services at the Barts and London Trust hospitals is a scandal and a tragedy – because it is entirely contrived. Among the main causes of the £2 million per week deficit are “non-delivery of planned cost improvement programme schemes.” In other words, the Trust has been unable to implement the spending cuts it is required to make as part of the NHS-wide £20 billion “efficiency savings” programme. It’s not that the Trust hasn’t been trying to meet its “savings” targets or that staff have been wanton with resources; it’s that those targets cannot be met without compromising patient care. It’s a paper exercise that is inevitably disjointed from the realities of service provision. The Guardian notes that “Attempts to cut wage costs are failing because vacancies are having to be filled by agency staff.” What could better illustrate the irrationality of the NHS financial squ

agit8: a Found Film

"agit8" was a live event held at the Tate Modern on the Southbank from the 11th June - 13th June, just ahead of the G8 summit, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of activists to 'get on their soapboxes' and pressurize the G8 to take action to help eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. We spent six weeks working directly with Richard Curtis and ONE to conceive and create 30 minutes of original content, which was projected on to the facade of the Tate Modern. The final product is part art installation, part documentary film and it involved working with a range of techniques and mixed media - incorporating music, speech, video, animation and motion graphics. Once we had the rough concept sketched out, the team went about enlisting some of the biggest names in music today, as well as actors such as Colin Firth and Chiwetel Ejiofor, to contribute protest songs and speeches that were then woven into the film. We also commissioned a number of artists, illust