Support the junior doctors strike

The junior doctors have recently voted for strike action by a staggering 98%. In my opinion this is a pivotal struggle that will determine the future of the NHS. It is imperative that the public are seen to be supporting this action in overwhelming numbers to oppose the bad press which will be generated by this strike, by the likes of Murdoch’s media monopoly.

This is a drastic action that the junior doctors have been forced to adopt, and lives may be put at risk. But that risk is miniscule when compared to the future good health of our nation that is threatened by government plans for the NHS.

The longer this struggle continues the less likely it is to succeed. Thats why I think we should all support this strike action by showing up at the picket lines on the days of action and show our support. If this action fails there will be no stopping the further privatisation of the NHS, this is the moment to act!

The days of action will be on the 1st, 8th and 16th of December, I will be there in Manchester supporting the Junior Doctors. If you are able, I urge you to do the same.


And here is Jim Naughtie’s pronunciation of Hunt, as unforgettably uttered on Radio 4’s Today program. It cracks me up every time I hear it 😉

Science Slam: a synergy of science and poetry transcends expectations

Poetry and science are two things generally not associated with each other, in fact if you joined the two in a word association test you would be one step closer to a chemical cosh and your very own padded cell. However the audience attending the Science Slam at the packed out Nexus Art Cafe Thursday night will never again doubt the validity of the two pursuits being combined; though I can’t rule out they may end up bouncing of the walls of a padded cell at some time in the future.

The Science Slam was one of many events on the first day of the Manchester Science Festival, which runs until the 1st of November at venues across Greater Manchester. The experimental collaboration was thought up by Dr Sam Illingworth and Mr Dan Simpson who also performed at and hosted the event on the night.

 Video highlights of the Science Slam

Simpson, the poet of the duo who also writes about science, described how he and Illingworth had thought up the event:

“Originally it was going to be what a slam is, which is poets and scientists doing three minutes of material, having scores at the end and the highest score wins. But as we chatted more we realised that wasn’t the best way to do it, putting science and poetry against each other, so we decided to get them to collaborate.”

This resulted in the evenings format of 5 local poets teamed up with a scientist each to create and perform 5 unique pieces on the night.


  • Adrian Davison (scientist) & Lenni Sanders (poet)
  • Rebecca Docherty (scientist) & Dominic Berry (poet)
  • Ben Spencer (scientist) & Rebecca Audra Smith (poet)
  • Jo Browse (scientist) & Louise Fazackerley (poet)
  • Tim Walton (scientist) & Kieren King (poet)

Illingworth, a Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University was extremely pleased with how the show had been created, performed and received. “It wasn’t the poetry of science, it wasn’t the science of poetry, it was genuinely something interdisciplinary and it was amazing. I loved it, the audience loved it, and I feel incredibly privileged to have worked with such an incredible group of people.”

Conrad Bower

First published in the Manchester Mule, 25th October 2015

Further Information:
Manchester Science Festival –
Dan Simpson –
Dr Sam Illingworth –

First they came …

An adapted version of the poem, First they came … by Martin Niemoller.

First they came … (Remix)

First they came for the unemployed, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not unemployed.

Then they came for the disabled, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not disabled.

Then they came for the immigrants, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an immigrant.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Mancu on the fulcrum of the year

I have created a new poetry form to celebrate the greatest day in the year, which if you didn’t already know is the 2nd of July. I have decided to call the form Mancu, because it sounds a bit like Haiku, and I have adopted Manchester as MY city. The poem is entitled Fulcrum.

I know fuck all about poetry so maybe this isn’t new, or poetry, let me know.

A Poem by George

I met George Watt in St Peter’s Square, Manchester. We were both there to support the Homeless Rights of Justice Manchester protest camp. He is originally from an Irish traveller family and told me he had previously been homeless himself. When he had seen the protest on the evening news he had to come down to help them.

George was one of the first people to sell the Big Issue in Manchester in the early 90s.He was full of praise for the Big Issue and said that it had ‘turned his life around’ and helped him into accomodation after a long spell of homelessness. The big Issue had originally been set up in Swan St Manchester, by Ruth Turner and her partner, but has now moved to a new site.

George also mentioned having a chat with Prince Phillip of Spain when he came looking round the Big Issue office with the Prince of Wales. He had a poem to recite, I have included a transcribed version and the audio version can be heard below along with a montage of photos from the various protest sites .

I Cried on a Sunday

‘I cried on a Sunday the salt in my tears was stinging my eyes
We moan about the weather the snow and the rain
It helps us forget about the sorrow and pain
We seem to be content within our own bubble
Turn a blind eye to others and all of their troubles

I have spent sixty years looking for the meaning of life
Is it a job, a home, two children and a wife?
There is a time in our lives to take off our blinkers
To take notice of others become more of a thinker
We all have a duty to look out for others
Fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers

Just try to do a good deed a day
Inside your heart you will find your own pay
A good deed can be fleeting, you might miss it if you blink
Most people are kind hearted but seldom stop to think
And it’s the thought that counts.’

George Watt