Last week, the Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, announced free access to health care for all New Yorkers. For British citizens a universal right to free health care might not sound radical – it is something those of us under the age of seventy have enjoyed our entire lives. But medical bills are the single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the USA. Having witnessed some of those closest to me requiring urgent access to our free British National Health Service over three successive New Years, I am in full agreement with the Mayor when he says that “[h]ealthcare is a right not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it”, but also reminded that it is a “right” that most global citizens do not actually enjoy.
Ah, Green Man. A dreamy festival bursting with beguiling folk and indie music, where the views of Table Mountain (original Welsh version) compete for attention with the bands on the main stage; where the range of craft beers is so extensive they required a menu the length of a short novel; where there’s more vegan food than you could shake a tofu skewer at; and which this year was dedicated to the National Health Service (NHS), whose founder, Nye Bevan, grew up and developed his twin passions for social justice, song and art in nearby Tredegar.
If anyone has yet to see ‘To Provide All People’, Owen Sheers’ incredible ‘poem in the voice of the NHS’, dramatised by the BBC, then you are missing out on the television event of the year.
A festival that I come home from feeling stimulated but relaxed. We were first attracted by the Caught By The River stage, and that is still the main draw, but there is also a cracking roster of book talks, great poets and comedians, the best festival food you are ever going to eat, beautiful grounds to enjoy, the Idler Academy for some casual education, and a bracing swim in the estuary to set yourself up for the day.