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


TM1

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?

TM2

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

Follow on Facebook

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

  1. […] would be a revolt before they were passed.  Yet, if someone would have said in 2010, that the NHS would be privatised, secret courts would be introduced, people would be forced to work full time for corporations in […]

  2. […] few weeks ago, I carried the story of Mark McGowan a.k.a The Artist Taxi Driver’s #wheresdaddyspig protest.  Currently in treatment for bowel cancer, he pushed a toy pig more than 3 miles from Kings […]

  3. […] few weeks ago, I carried the story of Mark McGowan a.k.a The Artist Taxi Driver’s #wheresdaddyspig protest.  Currently in treatment for bowel cancer, he pushed a toy pig more than 3 miles from Kings […]

  4. […] to open up all but a minority of its services to competitive tender with private providers.  As 206 MPs, 142 Lords and 124 cross bench Peers have direct financial interests in private health care companies – this amounted to a vote for […]

  5. […] to open up all but a minority of its services to competitive tender with private providers.  As 206 MPs, 142 Lords and 124 cross bench Peers have direct financial interests in private health care companies – this amounted to a vote for […]

  6. […] I wrote and published the article The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS.  It was intended to raise awareness and support for The Artist Taxi Driver’s art based protest […]

  7. […] most recent example of this was Mark McGowan’s noble quest to push a toy pig to Westminster to highlight the selling off of our beloved NHS.  How much of the #WheresDaddysPig campaign did […]

  8. […] Ten Downing Street, where he delivered a letter protesting at the Coalition’s enactment of a clause essentially opening up the NHS for irreversible privatisation: quite apart from being an ingeniously off the wall way to protest and draw attention to something […]

  9. Pat says:

    i just split the link with a couple of empty lines. hopefully people get it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s allowed back on FB, sharing it now! 🙂

  11. […] I wrote and published the article The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS.  It was intended to raise awareness and support for The Artist Taxi Driver’s art based protest […]

  12. readingwritinglawyer says:

    Reblogged this on Happiness Happens and commented:
    This is the original article that sparked my outrage over Facebook’s censoring of articles.

  13. Rocoja says:

    shame on you Facebook – Its a Brave New World people!

  14. munstermann says:

    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.

  15. […] The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS. […]

  16. […] I wrote and published the article The Man Who Pushed a Toy Pig to Downing Street to Save our NHS.  It was intended to raise awareness and support for The Artist Taxi Driver’s art based protest […]

  17. Saskia says:

    this has been removed from my FB homepage WTF?

  18. Petra Howard says:

    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…

  19. Welsh says:

    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!

  20. Martia Lant says:

    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.

  21. FYI Facebook has blocked this blog. Says something doesn’t it. Facebook got their snouts in the trough too?!

  22. skwalker1964 says:

    Reblogged this on The SKWAWKBOX Blog and commented:
    Brilliant.

  23. I can thank you by sharing this. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, you’re a hero, and I bet you make your kids very proud indeed!

  24. chess says:

    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.

  25. Chris Fursdon Davis says:

    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.

  26. calmcarl says:

    Reblogged this on calmcarl and commented:
    We’re allowing the government to steal and profit from our ill-health, please read

  27. Anonymous says:

    Legend xxx

  28. What a top Bloke. We should all try and do something to raise this issue. Just tell people at the very least what’s going on.

  29. I read that as ‘pushing a tory pig four miles…’. Not that there’s much difference. Go mark!

  30. Oink oink oink trans-lated=Good for You~I hope you wore happy knees:-)

  31. have been watching Marks videos for a bit now. What an inspiration. what a voice. words cannot describe. 4 miles on his hands and knees!! pushing the pig! hahahaha to good. i get it

  32. Debbie says:

    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.

  33. Jason Parry says:

    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.

  34. MARTIN says:

    GREAT PASSIONATE GUY WHO IS TRYING TO GIVE A VOICE TO THOSE WITHOUT A VOICE.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Good on him!

  36. Annette White says:

    He should have put wings on the pig.

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