The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS

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Mark McGowan a.k.a The Artist Taxi Driver spent today on his hands and knees, pushing a toy pig four miles to Downing Street, with his nose.  He made his art protest as our House of Lords full of private health investors, voted through their own pay rises by approving new competition rules.

What’s All the Fuss About?

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The S75 Regulations form part of the governments Health and Social Care Act, the purpose of which is to open up as many NHS services to private providers as possible.

The new ‘Competition Regulations’ force the NHS to put all but a minority of services out for competitive tender.  The majority of services currently run by the NHS will shortly and swiftly be turned over to profit making private healthcare providers. This is privatisation by the back door.

To make matters worse, the MPs and Lords drafting and voting upon this piece of legislation, have a personal financial interest in the outcome.  Social Investigations produced an excellent piece of investigative journalism revealing:

  • 206 parliamentarians have recent or present financial private healthcare connections
  • 142 Lords have recent or present financial connections to companies involved in healthcare
  • 124 Peers benefit from the financial services sector
  • 1 in 4 Conservative Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies involved in healthcare
  • 1 in 6 Labour Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies involved in healthcare
  • 1 in 6 Crossbench Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies involved in healthcare
  • 1 in 10 Liberal Democrat Peers have recent or present financial connections to companies involved in healthcare
  • 64 MPs have recent or present financial links to companies involved in private healthcare
  • 79% of these are Conservative

This is our parliament in action, where there is no such thing as a conflict of interest.  What kind of democracy allows people with a financial interest in the outcome to approve its legislation? Our democracy.

The Artist Taxi Driver and His Toy Pig

Like many of us, Mark McGowan has been outraged by the almost complete media blackout this issue of such enormous social and political importance.  So he decided to raise awareness in his own inimitable way.  From 8am this morning he has been pushing a toy pig four miles from Kings College Hospital (where he receives treatment for bowel cancer) to Downing Street, using only his nose.  He is aiming to draw attention to the pigs at the trough of the NHS and will be rolling the toy pig up Downing Street to the door of Number 10, where he will present a letter of complaint signed by his children.

Mark has already garnered widespread attention, with the hash tag for the event #wheresdaddyspig trending on twitter this morning.  Hundreds of people are following him through the streets of London with their own toy pigs, intermittently squeezing them and creating an orchestral ‘oink oink’.  People in the streets are asking what’s going on, and finding out about the new regulations.  It is really something to see.

The day will conclude with a gathering of peaceful protest on College Green opposite parliament from 3.45pm as the Lords debate the regulations.

At times like these, there will always be those cynical do-nothings who put forward the rhetorical ‘yes but what will it change?’ argument to rain on the parade.

The answer to those people is this: Minds, it changes minds.  Without first changing people’s minds nothing else will change.  This is heavy work, against a backdrop or such misinformation about the real impact of the government’s austerity agenda.

Mark is showing us all that we do not have to remain silent and resigned in the face of rank corruption.  All it takes is a little imagination and a twitter account, and you can do your bit.

So join in with the #WheresDaddysPig protest in whatever way you can today.  Track it on twitter, share it through your social media networks, if you are a journalist then cover it.  But also take a moment to think about what you could do to make a difference.

A Happy Ending

Mark arrived at Downing Street in the early evening and was granted access.  He walked up to No. 10, knocked, and handed over his petition.  Go to his youtube channel to watch the results!

Watch #WheresDaddysPig live here and here

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Join the campaigns to Save our NHS:

National Health Action party

Keep our NHS Public

50 thoughts on “The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS

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  10. I just reblogged it. For those who want to share it on facebook, try using link to reblogs from other sites. You don’t have to use mine btw.
    FIGHT AGAINST CENSORSHIP!
    Cheers,
    Johnny.

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  14. I too tried to share this on facebook… and subsequently filed a complaint when they informed me I could not post this due to abusive content.

    The link is valid, there is no abuse in it; it explains the Section 75 Regulations of our cabinet in regards to the NHS.

    Let’s see what happens…

  15. Fair Play to you – will share on my blog @ http://www.notodiets.com. I can’t believe FB – I’ve just had some of my posts removed and been blocked from one page for raising valid concerns (another issue)/ However, feeling the oppression, but we must continue the fight. I am an NHS employee and like so many am driven to despair at what is going on – the censorship further infuriates! Nice one Mark!

  16. Facef*ck wont allow me to like this or even copy/paste it onto my wall. The big nosed ginger tw*t is as biased as the paedo beeb.

  17. Pingback: AnimalFarm.org » RT @antiuk: RT The article Facebook has censored & banned http://t.co/Oq1VV6L30P … #wheresdaddyspig #occupy #ows #nhs #saveournhs #anon

  18. Good Mark – be good to see which greedy swine are lining their pockets at our expense again – oh, by the way, will this entitle me to a tax and NI refund for the past 44 years work, for health services that I will now no longer be able to depend upon in my old age? No? Ah. I rather thought not.

  19. Has my total admiration. Perhaps the next editon would be to deliver a pigsty as a gesture to record that they have homes – in most cases opulent – but have no realistic policy for housing the ‘.punters’ – nothing more than a series of pathetic attempts to add to problems through the totally distorted market.

  20. This man is our advocate, our voice. Mark Gowan is our mainstream news, truth teller and I admire this guy so very very much. He is having treatment for bowel cancer and here he is on his knees fighting for what he believes in. He is really something.

  21. When people hear that a man pushed a pig with his nose they may ask why? what mark is doing opens the door to dialogue and will help better inform people of the fight to save the NHS. He is a hero for our times and has my total admiration for his efforts.

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