Mary Holmes: NHS, India and Liam Fox
Mary continues to work for a better health service (as a retired health professional) and serve rural India with Assefa and Action Village India. She was recently snapped (below, far right) with the able MP Clive Lewis, supporting CAAT’s campaign to ban the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the UK’s biggest arms customer. It represses its own population and has used UK weapons to help crush democracy protests in Bahrain. UK-made warplanes are now playing a central role in Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen.
The High Court rejected the claim brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, over the decision to continue to grant licences for the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia. CAAT is now pursuing an appeal.
In lighter vein we must celebrate Mary and other networkers who introduce other splendid people, one instance being Richard Douthwaite who made the link with the late David Fleming.
Mary introduced James Bruges at the launch of Steve Schofield’s 2002 report: The UK and Non-offensive Defence: An Introductory Study on the Implications of the UK Adopting a Non-offensive Defence Stance, launched in the Commons by former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle. James has done excellent work on so many fronts and we note that so much has been omitted from his profile here: his ‘Little Books’, the contributions made by his family trust and his work on biochar, which has attracted many readers.
More recently Mary introduced Fran Wilde, also a supporter of Assefa and Action Village India. Amongst many other activities she is a leading light in organising and running the Madras Café at music festivals such as WOMAD. What started as a chai stall has now become a festival institution, serving Indian food to thousands of people. Staffed entirely by willing volunteers, all the profits from Madras Cafe go back to Action Village India to support rural initiatives and help to combat poverty and social injustice across India.
Highly recommended: Fran has produced a short film about her time in Minjur near Madras where women are involved in upgrading their homes from traditional mud and thatch which are vulnerable to the elements.
CAAT’s campaign ‘Arms to Renewables’ will be holding an event on September 6th, calling for jobs that create a safer, rather than a more dangerous world.