From Gallipoli to Guildford

Sgt S Fitz

My great-grandfather Sgt S Fitz. I’m told I look like him.

I watched a bit of the ceremony at the Cenotaph today marking 100 years since the start of the Gallipoli campaign in the first world war. My great-grandfather was there, 100 years ago, as an infantry sergeant. It made me wonder what he thought of the war then and what he would make of Britain and the world today.

Back then, he wouldn’t have thought of it as the first world war. To the men thrown into the slaughter it must have seemed like the war to end all wars, or to end the world. They must have thought that the whole world order must surely change now. The empires and the aristocrats must surely come tumbling down after creating such a man-made tragedy of death and destruction.

What would my great-grandfather, Sgt S Fitz, have thought if he had known in 1915 that another world war was just 24 years away? What would he have thought if he could see the dukes and the earls leading ceremonies at Remembrance Days? What would he think about his great-grandson being an airline captain and standing for Parliament for the Labour Party?

Sometimes, we all have struggles in our lives, or think we have done something courageous. I will be thinking of my great-grandfather when the election result in Guildford is declared on 8 May 2015 and remember where he was exactly 100 years before.

Official: List of Parliamentary Candidates in Guildford


I am very proud indeed to be officially a Labour Party parliamentary candidate. I am very grateful to everyone who nominated me and especially to my agent, Nick Trier, for completing the nomination process diligently and successfully.

I grew up a few miles from the birthplace of Keir Hardie, one of the key founders of the Labour Party. It is a great honour to follow in the footsteps of so many great men and women standing up for working people.

Books, Films and Football

The Surrey Advertiser recently asked all the candidates to be the next MP for Guildford a number of questions about sport and culture. Here are the questions and my answers…

What sports do you follow and what teams do you support? Would you support Guildford City FC’s bid to secure their own grounds?

What is your favourite book, album, film and play? What does the constituency need to do to improve the arts culture it offers?

What is your idea of the perfect night out? How does the constituency’s night life need to be improved?

I follow lots of sports but particularly football and cricket. I still support the football team from the town I grew up in, Hamilton Accies, but since I moved away 27 years ago I haven’t been to see them live for a long time. Being an airline pilot gives me the chance to go to matches abroad. I really like going to German Bundesliga matches on nightstops. It is cheap to get in, there is always a great atmosphere and the football is pretty good too. The clubs are owned by the fans, which makes a big difference.

Nowadays, I support Guildford City but the last time I had a chance to go to a match was last season. They were having a tough season on the pitch but it was great to be there to support our local team. I would like to see even more supporters in the stands and, preferably, the club owning their own ground.

I am looking forward to seeing Kevin Pietersen play cricket for Surrey this summer. I hope he comes to Guildford.

My favourite book of all time is probably Great Expectations. In recent fiction, I loved reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen because I lived in the mid-west of America at the time the novel is set. In non-fiction, I can recommend A View From The Foothills by Chris Mullin. It is a funny and irreverent diary of Mullin’s time as a Labour MP. I am currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir which is great fun. It is about a manned mission to Mars which doesn’t go to plan.

I used to work in a bookshop at weekends when I was at university and my mother was an English teacher so I still spend time with my nose in a good book when I can.

My musical tastes are half-6 Music and half-Radio 3. I have Dvorzak’s New World Symphonies on in my car and The Marmozets album The Weird and Wonderful on at home at the moment. I was very glad to speak in favour of The Boileroom music venue staying open at the council’s Licensing Committee last September. I think it is a cultural gem for Guildford.

My favourite film is Where Eagles Dare, the Second World War film starring Richard Burton. I have a sneaking suspicion that my parents named me after him. “Broadsword calling Danny Boy, over!”

If I had to choose a favourite play, it would probably be Macbeth, such a grotesque story due to the common human weakness of ambition.

A perfect night out for me is a good meal with fascinating company. After the election, I would like to dine with some of the most interesting politicians I have met during the campaign: Andy Burnham, Caroline Flint, Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna, Stella Creasy and Ed Miliband. I expect they will all be too busy for the next five years however!

Shaggy Dog Story

I was on a Glasgow nightstop with work on Wednesday night/Thursday morning so I visited my parents. I didn’t have to go back to the airport until after 4pm so my mum and I went out for lunch. As we were walking there we spotted a labrador type dog limping along on the other side of the road. As we approached, it walked out onto the road and cars had to stop. It seemed to have blood or something on its face too. Two women got out of their cars and we all tried to catch the dog to prevent it getting hit by a car.

There was a low hump-backed bridge just before the mini-roundabout where the dog was wandering aimlessly so drivers couldn’t see it until they were quite close. I stood in the road so they could see something, me, before they crossed the bridge. The dog was difficult to trap but eventually I got a grip on its collar. It immediately turned round and bit my hand! Which made me instinctively let go of the collar.

Soon after that, one of the women who stopped got a dog lead out of her car and we managed to get it round the dog’s neck and it behaved itself after that. My fellow dog-wranglers were ringing the RSPCA when another woman turned up and said it was the vet’s dog and she had phoned him to come and get it. We left the dog with her and went for lunch.

Where Mellie bit me!

Where Mellie bit me!

It occurred to me that I should make sure that my dog bite wasn’t going to give me some disease or something so I phoned the company which has the contract for looking after all of my employers’ flying crew when we are away from base. I spoke to a very helpful doctor in Phoenix, USA. She gave me a number of measures to carry out, one of which was phoning the vet to ask about the dog.

David, the vet, said, when we spoke on the phone, that Mellie the dog had become separated from him during a freak rain shower when they were walking on the beach. Mellie is nearly blind (which explains why her face looks like it has blood on it) and walks with a limp due to a previous spinal injury. He assured me that she does not have rabies (which the doctor in America was worried about) and the bite didn’t really break the skin anyway.

The upshot is that I survived and so did Mellie. If you were one of the many motorists in Doonfoot, Ayr on Thursday wondering what was causing the traffic jam, I hope this explains everything.

Act Now To Secure Britain’s Future Prosperity

Here is a link to the piece I wrote for the Campaign for Science and Engineering:



Richard Wilson today welcomed Ed Miliband’s announcement that the next Labour government will immediately increase nurse training places to reduce the spiralling bill the NHS is paying for agency staff.

Richard Wilson is Labour’s candidate to be the next MP for Guildford. The A&E unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford is one of many consistently failing to meet waiting time targets.

The step-change increase in training of more than 10,000 places over current levels in the next parliament will be paid for by Labour’s £2.5 billion Time to Care investment fund – raised from a mansion tax, a levy on the tobacco firms and cracking down on tax avoidance.


Labour’s 10-year Plan for the NHS will reverse short-sighted reductions in nurse training under the Tories.

  • There have been over 8,000 fewer nurses trained in this Parliament compared to 2010/11 levels.
  • The Royal College of Nursing has said these training cuts will “cause serious issues in undersupply for years to come”
  • A recent survey by NHS Employers found that eight out of 10 NHS employers are experiencing nurse workforce supply shortages.

These reductions have left the NHS having to recruit thousands of nurses from overseas.

The RCN recently published figures showing that there were 6,228 nursing registrations from abroad in 2013/14 – an increase of nearly 45% on the previous year. In the same year 4,379 nurses left the UK to work overseas.

And spending on agency staff has soared by more than £500m.

  • Foundation Trusts’ spending on agency staff has risen from £855 million to £1.4 billion since 2010.
  • A recent report from Monitor stated that the “high use of contract and agency staff…has put NHS Foundation Trusts under unprecedented financial and operational pressure”

There is a growing staffing crisis in the NHS.

  • Nurse numbers have failed to keep pace with demand: over half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed – and more say patient safety got worse, not better, over the last year.
  • In recent days London Ambulance Service announced it had been forced to recruit almost 200 paramedics from Australia.

But nurse training in the UK is highly oversubscribed.

An RCN survey has estimated that there are 54,000 applicants a year for 20,000 training places – meaning more than 30,000 would-be nurses are turned down.

Labour will train 10,000 more nurses above current levels over the course of the next parliament as a key step towards delivering our pledge of 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 new homecare workers, and 3,000 more midwives.

Mr Miliband said:

“Under David Cameron, there have been 8,000 fewer nurses trained and hospitals have been left scrambling to repair the damage – paying hundreds of millions of pounds in agency fees.

“Our training courses in this country are massively over-subscribed and so many talented young people in Britain are missing out on the opportunity of these rewarding jobs. Instead, the NHS is forced to bring in agency staff or recruit from overseas.

“People coming to work in the NHS from other countries make a hugely important contribution and our health service would not cope without them.

“But Britain cannot afford to waste the talents of thousands of people in this country who would become nurses if the training places were available. And our health service cannot afford to pay high costs for hiring agency staff because of the chronic staff shortages created by this government.

“As part of our Time to Care investment fund, Labour will train 10,000 more nurses above current training levels so that we achieve an average 21,000 training places a year in the next Parliament.”

Richard Wilson said:

“I welcome this commitment from Labour to increase the number of nurses trained in the UK. Along with extra doctors, midwives and care workers this will address the severe problems patients face in Guildford and Cranleigh. People are regularly forced to wait over a week to see their GP here and A&E at the Royal Surrey have had well-publicised difficulties.

“I hope this announcement will encourage local young people to consider nursing as a career. Britain is very proud of our NHS nurses. The recent case of nurse Pauline Cafferkey who contracted Ebola showed what brave and special people they are.

“The NHS is our country’s greatest achievement. It is the embodiment of how British people want to care for each other. Sadly, after nearly five years of privatisation and staff shortages under the Conservative-LibDem Coalition our NHS is slipping away. If elected on 7 May, I will go to Westminster to save the NHS for the people of Guildford and Cranleigh.”



Richard Wilson:


More information about Richard Wilson here:


Labour Party Press Office

Tel: 0207 7831393



Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate


Promoted by Nick Trier on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF




Four months to save the NHS in Surrey

The NHS in Surrey is dying.

This week it was revealed that hospitals in Surrey are declaring “major incidents” and telling patients not to come to A&E. Non-emergency operations are being postponed or cancelled. Waiting times have rocketed to the longest ever. Ambulances are stacking up outside hospitals because they can’t admit their patients because all the beds are full. Critically ill patients are lying on trolleys in corridors waiting for overworked nurses and doctors.

This is happening in 2015, not 1996, the last time a Tory government got its hands on the NHS. The weather this winter has been mild and there hasn’t been a flu epidemic this year. Yet still Surrey’s hospitals cannot cope. They declare “major incidents” but there hasn’t been a train or plane crash, an explosion or any other large catastrophe. Imagine for a minute what would happen if there was a real incident and hundreds of injured people flooded into our A&E departments.

This crisis was inevitable. Tory governments always wreck the NHS. This one, with the votes of LibDem MPs, cut local social care budgets which has put an unsustainable strain on GP services, acute hospital places and A&E units. In Guildford, people are waiting over a week to see their GP. In this time, conditions worsen so treatment is more difficult and may lead to hospital admissions.

The Tory-LibDem privatisation of the NHS means more public money is spent on competition lawyers and paying profits for big healthcare companies. Meanwhile, social care is often delivered by hard-pressed workers on the minimum wage, in 15 minute slots.2014-10-13 07.57.09

There are four months left to save the NHS in Surrey. We urgently need more nurses, GPs and midwives. This was the message I was given by NHS workers at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford. We need to guarantee that people can see a GP within 48 hours and social care must become part of the NHS. Labour has a programme to deliver this and save the NHS for future generations.

The National Health Service is Britain’s greatest achievement. It typifies Britishness and how we want to care for each other. The path of the Tory-LibDem government is to return British public services to the 1930s, before the welfare state and the NHS. I strongly believe that people in Surrey and across the UK do not want this. There is only one way to save our NHS – vote Labour on 7 May.


A Mad Man With A Blog

Look upwards, and share the wonders I've seen...

Sophia James

Labour Councillor for Katesgrove Ward

Cranleigh Labour Party

A voice for Cranleigh in tough times

Stanwell Voice

News and views from Robert Evans - Labour County Councillor for Stanwell Moor, Stanwell and part of North Ashford

The Camberley Eye

Community news and views about Camberley

Order Of Truth

When you know how the world works, you can do something about it.


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Red Reflections

Tracey Hill's blog: Labour candidate for the Hollingdean and Stanmer ward on Brighton and Hove City Council. All views her own. Tweets more often than blogs.

No More Page 3

Because Boobs Aren't News

What's happening to your library?

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers

%d bloggers like this: