Although the ‘yes to independence movement’ in Scotland may have lost the battle, it has won the war for all of us. I’m ancestrally Scottish, but for me the outcome of the vote for independence was entirely beside the point.
What the referendum did was to demonstrate that the ordinary person on the street still wields enormous power over politics and politicians. And this can only be good news for one of the biggest issues that demands the people’s vote right now: health care.
As Russell Brand wrote as a guest editor in the New Stateman last year: ‘The maintenance of this system depends on our belief that “there’s nothing we can do”.’
After Scotland, I hope that nobody believes that anymore. The most remarkable thing about Scottish vote was that people abandoned their sense of political apathy. Something like 97 per cent of Scots registered to vote in this referendum. Nearly 90 per cent turned out yesterday to vote. People were passionate about this subject in a way that I haven’t seen in my lifetime since the days of the Vietnam War and Watergate.
As with the European elections last spring, the UK politicians were scared out of their wits over Scotland, so much so that all three parties paid 11th hour visits to the north, entreating the Scottish electorate to stay put with the UK. Imagine being in David Cameron’s shoes, and going down in history as the UK prime minister that allowed Scotland to secede from the union.
In order to sweeten the pot, he made all sorts of last-minute promises and concessions about maximum devolution, extra benefits for Scots, independent taxation and the like that are bound to stir the Welsh, the Northern Irish and the English to say, ‘And what about us?’ in the days ahead. All this suggests we are in for a good deal of political change.
Although the ‘Ayes’ didn’t get a majority, they demonstrated that each of us, by the strength of our vote and our political commitment, wields enormous power to change things. A minority party can win, as many did across Europe in the recent European Parliaments – parties that essentially stand for a devolution from the EU. We can vote the old fat-cat Brussels pols out; we can vote to leave a country like the UK; we can even vote to leave Europe, as the UK may well do in a few years.
And here’s why I think this is good news for health care. As government became more centralized, in Europe, in the US and even in the UK, so the governments, propped up by multinationals like the pharmaceutical companies, have wielded enormous power in deciding which kinds of health care to provide. They have used this to systematically dismantle alternative, integrative and innovative solutions to health. And they have silenced many dissenters and innovators.
I have just been reading the story of Dr Marco Ruggiero, a medical doctor and molecular biologist who has carried out extensive research on macrophages, cells of the immune system that defend us against pathogens like bacteria, but also against cancer cells. He’s been particularly interested in protein called ‘Gc-derived Macrophage-Activating Factor’ (GcMAF) and its effect on cancer.
He and his colleagues have published extensively on the role of this protein in cancer and other health conditions, including autoimmune diseases and even autism. His work essentially shows that these proteins assist the body in turning cancer cells healthy. He may well be working on a cure for cancer.
Of course the Big Pharma medical establishment doesn’t like this one little bit. He’s had the usual coterie of professional threats, his computer taken by authorities and files copied, his home wiretapped. He and his wife finally decided they’d had enough. They left their home in Italy, moving to Switzerland where he carries on his clinical work.
Alternative health needs to be put on the political agenda. It is not an underestimate to say that this is the civil rights issue of our time.
The politicians are now forced listen to anyone with a major political voice. The millions in the UK who make use of non-drug forms of health care outweigh the number of people who go to their GP. Now is the time to put this on the political agenda, not only in the UK and all over the world.