Another day, another disaster.

As the Nepalese earthquake kills 1130 and counting, the 1700 who drowned in the Med are last week’s news in more ways than we care to care about.

But it’s the number of those who didn’t die that matter just as much. The Mare Nostrum search+rescue programme saved upwards of 100,000 lives last year until austerity severed its lifeline and led to the OH SHIT panic mode of last weekend.  Although this was a quick man-made disaster, there is no quick fix. So leaders of European nations, stop slapping each other on the back thinking you’ve cracked it by blowing up boats. Like the water they’re drowning in, it’s deeper than that.

Alexander Betts, director of Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford, reckons there are 50,000,000 refugees looking for a new home, a new life. Just look at that number: 50 million. 80% of them are fleeing developing countries but that still leaves 10,000,000 in the developed world. Has anyone ever stopped to tot up how many are fleeing the UK, or France, or Germany? Sounds absurd with UKIP ringing the immigration siren every 5 minutes, but one man’s stability is another man’s terror.

This all weighs heavy on our conscience. Who commits to what, to take in how many, from where, and for how long?  This last point could be the linchpin to it all. Why can’t countries foster adults the way families foster kids? On an international scale. And be paid for it. Returning the citizens when they’re ready to go back and help nurture their homeland. It’s one mammoth in and out tray with the most sensitive ‘currency’ of all – people.

Our fellow human beings are not lemmings. It’s in our make-up to share, to care, to love. If we don’t do these things that we were born to do, we die empty. We’re not just a social species, we’re a societal species. Individuals are capable of astonishing acts of heroism and altruism.

As the election looms, these are the people we should be voting for.


Voters of Britain,

Will you?

It’s easier to bail, to moan, to imagine you won’t make a blind bit of difference.

But indifference is the enemy here.

How can we start to give a shit about placing an X in a box? The way Scots gave a shit about their independence.

Well, here’s a suggestion: make voting a legal requirement in order to remain a patient of the NHS.

YES! Vote, and continue to get the NHS for free for 5 years.

If we grow a living umbilical cord between health and the election, that every party signs up to in the next 3 weeks, surely we’ll get the turn-out the country desperately needs because it’s in everyone’s interests to a) vote and b) protect the NHS.

It is as simple as it seems.

Don’t vote and forfeit your right to free healthcare.

Of course, if all the candidates leave you numb, you should be allowed to tick your own box. To vote for yourself, rather than not vote at all. To Be Your Own Politician as Paul Twivy puts it in his new book (

PS: This seed of a thought was inspired by a bloody wonderful mum I came across on Nicola Wilkins has a very ill baby called Isaac. Isaac needs a double lung transplant. He’s only 17 months old bless him. His mum is lobbying Jeremy Hunt to introduce a national organ opt-out scheme. Yes, I thought great idea too. If you do nothing else for the next 21 days, please sign Isaac’s petition here: