2015 - When the Fightback Began
2015 has been a very significant year for me. It involved both fighting for my own life as well as the lives of others. In September I had a liver transplant, which has so far gone well, having been successfully cured of Hepatitis C with a new generation of non-interferon drugs.
This was the subject of my first letter to the Guardian. I was fortunate to have a wonderful consultant and excellent care from the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton who got me onto a government funded programme for the sickest 500 hepatitis patients in Britain. The drug, Sofusbuvir in conjunction with Ledaspavir and Ribavirin knocked out the Hep. C completely.
My letter was about the fact that Sofusbuvir, much of the research for which had been undertaken at Cardiff University, before Gilead Sciences took it to completion was costing $1,000 a pill, i.e. $90,000 for a three month course whereas it costs $1 to make. India refused it a patent forcing Gilead to agree to the production of a cheaper generic drug. Britain under Cameron of course took no such step. The pricing of Sofusbuvir out of all proportion to its actual cost is killing people. At this very moment Mummia Abu Jamal, the former Black Panther journalist who was framed in Pennsylvania for killing a cop, by a racist judge and an all-white jury, has hepatitis C and the US prison service is refusing to pay for his treatment and thousands of other prisoners who have hepatitis.
The key political fight this year has been against what Bob Dylan once called the Masters of War. The liars and Benns who argued for yet another bombing campaign, this time in Syria, as if all they had erased from their memory what had happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Of course the West was involved in a struggle between good and evil in Syria, against Isis, just as it had done against Saddam Hussein. No matter that the good fight was being fought with Turkey, Isis’s main partner oil trading partner and rear supply base. A war fought with Saudi Arabia which at this very moment is aiding Isis and Al Qaeda in Yemen, to say nothing of al-Nusra and ahrar al-Sham in Syria. Such are the hypocrisies of the West. But to Hilary Benn it is an ‘anti-fascist’ fight!
I am therefore posting both some of the letters that I had printed throughout the year as well as articles in various papers. I have contributed a weekly Comment piece to my local paper, the Brighton Argus.
Over the summer the British Labour Party elected Jeremy Corbyn, who was initially given odds of 100-1 against, as leader of the Labour Party. The Right has since done its best to undermine him and unfortunately Corbyn and more especially John MacDonald have refused to launch a significant fightback. This is the subject of an article I wrote for Weekly Worker.
I am therefore copying underneath the articles and letters which I have written and that have appeared in the press this year.