Darfur, doctors and debt

Hurrah! My glasses were found in the back of the car that brought me back from The Westminster Hour – thank goodness. Tuesday has been a busy, busy day and I hate it when there isn’t even breathing space between events.

To highlight the best of the bunch: met with an interesting organisation called Waging Peace about the ever-deteriorating situation in Darfur. My take is that the world is standing by and letting genocide take place. The Sudanese Government is playing us for fools and toying with us suggesting that they are on our side against Al Qaeda when really they are not. The Arab militias continue to kill rebels and the suffering is spreading into Chad and Central Africa. We need action from the EU and the UN. Sanctions, travel bans and arms embargos would be a start and for goodness sake – China is applying more pressure than we are.

I also met constituents about the mess that the changes to the way junior doctors are employed have caused. It’s a terrible tale of diving in without a clue where it will end up – and now peoples’ lives and careers are being ruined. And are they stopping it? No. This is a nightmare for those caught up in the changes. This should have been thought about, piloted and rolled out in a measured way rather than being steamrollered through across the board.

More Maxitech good works as they start teaming up with Age Concern to deliver free computers and training to our older citizens. The event to mark this is held in the Lords and really it is quite clear that Maxitech has solved the problem of big corporations like HSBC, John Lewis and British Airways (all in attendance) who want to be good and give their old computers for good causes – but need to know that the computers will be properly wiped clean and they won’t be caught by legal liability issues.

Then onto Spurs to see the launch of the Bounds Green United football team – set up and initiated by the (police) Bounds Green Safer Neighbourhood Team. Spurs are doing their community bit – hurrah – and some of the wards in the borough are getting teams together to compete. The first match will be on Tuesday. It’s a great project and I get to stand one inch from the pitch – the hallowed turf. It is a tremendous feeling. Thanks to the police Safer Neighbourhood Team – without whom this just would not have happened.

Then on to the CASCH AGM (a Crouch End residents’ association). Nice to be able to get here tonight – as Monday and Tuesday nights are usually impossible but I try to get to all local events that I can. The new Met volunteer organiser is there – and talks to the members about perhaps joining the team. It is so great to see what feels like my ‘baby’ growing up. The re-opening of the front counter at Muswell Hill police station was fantastic and the volunteers who run it are fantastic – and now it’s the second generation organiser is in place. Very rewarding. As they go on to the business of the Association, it is time for me to run as I have a radio car coming to my house at 10pm to interview me on vulture funds.

Vulture funds are these companies that feed off the debt of the third world. The High Court ruled today to cut Zambia’s debt repayments to them:

A “vulture” fund seeking more than $55m (£27.5bn) from Zambia had its wings clipped in the high court yesterday by the judge who limited its claim to $15.5m and cut its award of costs because of its “dishonesty”.

(From The Guardian)

Debt relief was a good move – and it is horrifying to think that anyone would prey on these countries and exploit a legal loophole. We need a government that takes action – not just wrings its hands ineffectually as this one is doing.

Then get a message that there is no radio car available to come to where I live – so go home to bed!