Types of Face Masks – Re-Useable Masks You Can Purchase


, , , , ,

This is Part Three of a set of posts called ‘Wearing a Face Mask During a Pandemic’.
Re-Useable Masks Available to Purchase:

Anti Pollution/Sports Masks:


Colourful cycling mask with vents and valves.

Anti pollution masks have been growing in popularity for some time. They are worn by cyclists and bikers and by those doing sports or jogging in polluted conditions.

These masks vary from basic mouth, nose and chin covers, to bandana style scarves, to ‘tube’ scarves, to balaclavas and to full face coverings.


Full Face Cycling Mask

Many are ornate, with pictures of animals, superheroes, skulls, and fantasy designs.

None of these masks were designed to deal with a virus and some (the scarves in particular) may be too thin/porous to be much help in providing protection. However, they should, by differing degrees depending upon material used, prevent the wearer spreading the virus when in contact with others.


Half face ‘skull’ mask/tube scarf

Anti-pollution masks can be made in a variety of materials, from cotton to velvet or suede, leather and sometimes plastic.

But some of the most popular are made with a material called Neoprene.

Neoprene is waterproof. It comes in a range of thicknesses and can be used to make a variety of fashion items as well as scuba diving equipment.

But in cycle/motorbike masks and face covers, neoprene really comes into its own as you will see if you study the many designs.

Because neoprene is not breathable, all neoprene masks should have a respirator valve (most will have 2) and many have ventilator slits (on the outside layer only).

A good anti pollution mask has an outer ‘shielding’ layer (which has valves and ventilators), plus a sturdy inner filter pad in the shape of the inner mask.


Popular price cycling mask with fitted, changeable inner filter

A good inner filter will contain around 5 layers to filter out harmful particles, allergins and smells from the atmosphere, keeping you safe from the vast majority of pollutants.

However, the manufacturers of these masks do not usually make any claims about keeping specific virus particles out.

Nevertheless, some, like the manufacturers of the top quality Respro masks, will say that their filter system will filter out large particles and some smaller ones. And this is important, because a cough or sneeze from someone with Covid-19 will contain large and medium as well as micro particles and some of these may well be filtered out by these masks. But (probably as a result of this statement on their facts page, and a rush to buy), the Respro website was temporarily closed to further orders as I typed this…


Respro Sportsta™ Mask

Scientists are researching the effect of ‘viral load’ on a person’s reaction to the Covid-19 virus. Some say there is evidence that a lower viral load may mean the likelehood of a milder case of the illness. However, there is much research to be done on this and there is disagreement as to the findings (see Note 2). Nevertheless, for those concerned about viral load, it could be suggested that the wearer of any anti-pollution mask which filters larger particles might not get such a viral overload if coughed or sneezed on by a virus carrier.

But because of the growing claims that facemasks with valves can expel virus particles into the atmosphere (see Note 1), sports and anti-pollution masks of this nature may in future not be considered suitable for wearing by the general public.

I will admit that I am still looking at anti pollution/sports masks, mainly because I love the designs. I also love that if you purchase a reasonable quality design from one of the better manufacturers, you can get a mask which will fit you well.

Another factor that I like is that these masks are mostly waterproof so they do give defence from moist particles, unlike cloth masks which are more likely to soak moist particles into the top layer.

However, manufacturer’s recomendations to use the inner filter for several times before changing is something I’m not sure about for pandemic use.

But I will research some more over time 🙂

Stretch Masks:

Neoprene is one of a range of stretchable fabrics used to make the style of face masks some are calling ‘shark masks’. These are washable masks where the stretchable fabric used extends into the ear loops also, giving a pointed ‘shark’ look from the side.

These basic stretch masks are quick to use, light to wear, and washable. They are usually made with just one layer of material and in a very basic shape. As they are very stretchy but also moldable, they often provide a good fit to a whole range of face shapes and head sizes.


A range of stretch face masks

Because they are usually one layer and have no pocket for a filter, it is debateable how much virus the ‘shark’ masks will keep out. But in their defence, the material used is usually dense (if you hold it up to the light, you should not be able to see through it). And, as with most other face coverings, they should keep virus particles in, so will help to prevent virus spread.

Dust Masks

Dust masks come in a range of shapes and sizes and resemble many different medical masks.

Dust masks were never designed to keep out virus particles. They were designed specifically to protect the wearer from dust, powders and other dangerous particles when at work.


Basic cotton dust mask

The most basic dust masks are for wearing literally when dusting or creating a dusty atmosphere. They are often made with two layers of fabric and in the same shape as surgical masks. They provide a comfortable mask, but will not filter out minute particles.

Dust Masks With Filters:

With the surge in interest in cycling wear, a number of manufacturers have produced face masks in cotton, polyester, or other light materials which are classed as dust masks, but are also advertised as light cycling wear.

Many of these masks have 2 layers of fabric, plus an inner pocket where a filter can be placed.


Dust/cycling mask with respirator valve plus example of inner filters used

Masks may or may not have a respirator valve on the outside (Personally, I have found that a respirator valve on these particular masks makes little difference, as the material used to make the masks is usually breathable. However, the valve may prevent heat and moisture accumulating in the mask when worn for an extended period).


Dust/Cycling Masks without respirator valve, showing carbon filters

Filters used in dust masks are usually PM2.5 filters (often called ‘carbon filters’ because an inner layer contains carbon). PM2.5 filters are designed to filter out particles in the atmosphere which have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers. These are light particles found within polluted atmospheres which can invade the lungs, so PM2.5 filters are considered effective in protecting us from many allergies and harmful atmospheric substances.

It must be noted that these filters cannot fully protect us from virus particles with a size of 0.3 microns. Nevertheless, it could be suggested that the filters could prevent large virus droplets entering the inner mask, along with part of the viral load. As with many things face mask, the scientific jury is still out on this, Covid-19 being such a new and fairly unpredictable virus.

And in any case, if these dust masks are worn correctly (ie: from bridge of nose to under the chin and fitting snuggly), they should prevent virus particles being expelled into the atmosphere when the wearer coughs or sneezes (or even talks). So they can be worn as an effective part of preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Heavy Duty Dust Masks:

Dust masks used in more particle-intensive workplaces are marked according to protection levels – from FFP1 to FFP3:


FFP1 and FFP2 Dust Masks

  • FFP1 dust masks provide reasonable protection from dust and paint sprays.
  • FFP2 dust masks provide excellent protection from paint, chemicals, sprays, etc, and some small particles too. These work very similarly to N95 masks and are said to provide some protection against virus particles.
  • FFP3 dust masks provide excellent protection against particles of all types, including some tiny particles of the type found within virus droplets. They are usually considered to be of N95+ standard.

FFP3 Dust Mask

Some, particularly FFP2 and FFP3 level dust masks, will have breathing filter valves.

High level dust masks provide a very good level of protection, and as a result these masks are sometimes being used by health care workers who are unable to obtain FFP3 Medical Respirators.

However, the vast majority of dust masks were never made to fit the face as well as a medical mask and they were not designed specifically to filter micro particles of the size found in virus spread.

This is why, although your works mask may give you a lot of protection when worn out in public, it will never give you full protection.

But it has to be said that it is still a whole lot better individual protection than many will have.

Cloth Face Masks To Purchase:

With the sharp rise in public interest in face masks, Many clothing manufacturers, large and small, plus a range of other companies, have turned their focus to making and selling face masks.

The majority of these will be made from cotton, although some will have a special outer finish which the manufacturer claims will make them water resistant.


Pleated Cotton Face Masks – Etsy

Cotton masks to buy are made predominantly in one of two shapes: rectangular with pleats (surgical mask shape); or shaped to fit the face. Many will have a pocket for a filter (usually a PM2.5 filter, although some manufacturers make their own filters to fit their particular masks).

Cotton masks to purchase can be found on Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Craftsy, and on manufacturer’s own sites, plus you will find adverts for them all over Facebook. Online prices for this type of mask range from £5 upwards, with more exclusive fabric designs, or perhaps extras like extra filters, a bag for the mask, etc, commanding a higher outlay.


Fitted Cotton Face Masks – The Sustainable Mask – Christy Dawn

With such a wide and growing range of cotton masks available to purchase online, it would be easy to get carried away and perhaps spend money you cannot really afford on a whole range of new masks.

I will talk more about cotton masks in my next post about making your own masks and ‘face covers’, but for now, I would recommend this:

Before you spend a lot of money on a variety of cotton masks (or any mask come to that), make sure that the mask you want is:

  • made in your size (face sizes vary considerably but masks not so much);
  • fits well, but will give you room around your mouth and nose to breath (a tight mask you cannot breath in will soon be thrown in the bin);
  • can be washed on a normal washing machine cycle (you will soon get fed up hand washing a mask which requires delicate treatment).
  • With a cotton mask, I personally would also go for a mask which has at least 3 layers (one can be an insertable filter).

More on cotton masks later…

Of course to many of us, purchasing a face mask of any description may be an unattainable wish, given that a lot of us have been unable to work or obtain a full wage for some time.

So, along with the fact that our Government is telling us not to use up masks suitable for use in hospitals and social care and we are all being asked to wear a ‘cloth face covering’ when in crowded public spaces, many of us are considering making our own face masks.

The use of home-made cloth face masks is a whole other topic and I will write about it in my next post on face masks.

In the meantime, I hope that this piece has helped to clear up a few queries about the varying types of face masks you will encounter once you start looking.

But whatever type of face mask you buy, please do wear them if you possibly can. It could help us all.

Note 1: Why your N95 mask could endanger others: https://www.sfgate.com/living-in-sf/article/Why-your-N95-mask-could-endanger-others-15246318.php

Note 2: Viral dynamics in mild and severe cases of COVID-19: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30232-2/fulltext


Types of Face Masks – Safety Masks Designed for Front Line Medical Work


, , ,

This is Part Two of a set of posts called ‘Wearing a Face Mask During a Pandemic’.

Masks designed to keep the wearer safe from the virus as well as to prevent virus spread:


Frontline medical work during the Covid pandemic – The Times

It has to be said, that although we all want to keep our community safe and not spread the virus among it, most people researching face masks are looking for ways to keep themselves safe from the virus as well, because they don’t want to rely entirely upon everyone else wearing a mask (or wearing a mask effectively) to help protect them.

Many will look at the following masks for the best safety options, but as you will see, they will be unobtainable for most of the public and they have their drawbacks too:

Respirator Masks Worn in Hospitals:

Respirator Masks are primarily for medical staff working in hospitals, in close contact with patients who have infectious diseases, but are now being recommended for frontine social care workers also:


FFP2 and FFP3 Medical Respirators

The FFP3 respirator (Europe and UK) (and sometimes the FFP2 Respirator), and the N95, N99, and N100 respirators (US) should be worn by doctors, nurses and anyone working in close contact with a Covid-19 patient.


N95 and N99 Medical Respirators

These masks are designed to filter out extremely tiny microscopic particles (size 0.3 Microns) of virus as follows:

  • A tight-fitting FFP2 (Europe and UK) mask should filter out around 94% of virus particles.
  • A tight-fitting FFP3 (Europe and UK) mask should filter out 99%+ of virus particles.
  • A tight-fitting N95 (US) mask should filter out at least 95% of virus particles.
  • A tight-fitting N99 (US) mask should filter out 99% of virus particles.
  • A tight-fitting N100 (US) mask should filter out 99.7% of virus particles.

N100 Medical Respirator Mask

Other countries have similar categories for medical masks. For instance, the Chinese system is KN95 (Filters out up to 95% of 0.3 Microns particles) and above.

Because these top quality protection masks work on the basis of keeping microscopic virus particles out, they need a tight seal with the face. So all of the above respirator masks must be chosen to fit the person wearing them and medical staff should be measured regularly to ensure they continue to have the best fit.

The disadvantage to this is that these masks can be pretty uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Even though the majority of these masks have valves to help with breathing, some medical staff still find the masks are sealed in so tight that it makes their breathing laboured, they feel ‘headachey’, and some wearers experience a strong feeling of claustrophobia.


‘Marks for Heroes’ Sore marks left by medical respirators – Xinhua Net

And then there are the sore marks which a tight medical respirator leaves on the face. These masks are not at all comfortable.

As with surgical masks, medical respirator masks are also disposable (although, with the acute shortage of top quality respirator masks, some hospitals are recommending that their staff clean and sterilise these masks to be worn at least twice).

Can the general public wear medical level respirator masks?

Because there is a worldwide shortage of medical level respirator masks, it is only fair that front line medical and social care staff have access to them before the general public.

Plus, these masks are very expensive for a member of the public to buy. For example you can purchase a FFP3 respirator mask on eBay, but a good quality (and in date) one will cost you around £35-50 minimum.

And remember that these masks are meant to be worn once, so planning to wear a good quality respirator mask regularly would be a very expensive exercise.

However, some people do buy single FFP3 masks for emergency use (an urgent hospital visit to see a relative, for example).

All that being said, you can purchase some relatively inexpensive Chinese-made KN95 disposable masks on eBay, Amazon, etc:

KN95 Masks from China:

Like the medical respirator masks above, KN95 face masks are also disposable. They are usually almost circular in shape, with a snug fit all around and a centre seam pointing outwards (giving a cone shape). This gives the wearer lots of inside space for their mouth and nose and, with the help of an adjustable nose bar, they stay in place well, even when the wearer is talking.


KN95 Mask, showing the cone shape

As these masks are made mainly in China, they are made to Chinese specifications.

They do not fit UK or US criteria for protection (for instance, KN95 masks often have elastic ear loops, while N95 and FFP3 masks will usually have adjustable ties to enable a better fit), but good ones will adhere to Chinese safety specifications, which in these times of PPE shortages, many will find acceptable.

At the time of typing, these masks retail at around £2-£4 per mask without a respirator valve, and around £8 to £10 per mask with a respirator valve.

They vary in design and quality and I’m afraid it usually relies upon paying your money and taking a chance. Whether that is worth it is up to you.

Some KN95 masks are not well made. Most of them are mass-produced. But nevertheless, some are excellent for the job required. The good ones will fit well, are comfortable to wear, and probably provide a very reasonable level of protection (as reasonable as you can get with a mask which is not specifically measured to fit you).

KN95 masks also vary between 3 ply and 5 ply – These masks have layers of material – to block, to filter and for comfort. 4 and 5 ply masks will have extra filter layers.

Some also have respirator valves like the European, UK and US respirator masks (the valves should expel moist air without letting particles in – this helps prevent the inner mask getting wet from your breath).

As an aside, valves on facemasks worn by the public are frowned upon by some US sources and may even eventually be banned for general use. This is because it is thought that expelling air from inside a mask means also expelling particles of virus into the surrounding atmosphere- and this is of course the opposite result to that required when asking the public to wear masks (see Note 1).

But most KN95 masks to purchase online do not have respirator valves. They are, however, reasonably light to wear, have room inside to breath, and most people would have no trouble wearing them without a break for up to 4 hours if required (for a hospital visit, a long trip to the shops, for part of the working day in a busy office, etc).


A popular KN95 face mask design

As someone who has purchased and worn KN95 masks on a couple of occasions, I personally would say they are worth the outlay when you want a light, comfortable, reasonably reliable mask to wear in a crowded space to give you a good measure of protection as well as to protect others.

But don’t rely on KN95 masks entirely. They are not UK or US medical grade. Social distancing is vital whenever possible when wearing a KN95 mask, as is frequently washing your hands.

In any case, even if you choose to buy some KN95 masks on eBay or elsewhere, you will probably be looking for other masks to top up the number of masks you may need to wear every day, especially as we could be wearing face masks more and more over the following months.

And many of you will be looking for the money-saving value of a mask which you can safely wear, wash, and wear again.

These will be discussed in the next post.


Note 1: Why your N95 mask could endanger others: https://www.sfgate.com/living-in-sf/article/Why-your-N95-mask-could-endanger-others-15246318.php

Types of Face Mask – Surgical Masks


, , ,

This is Part One of a set of posts called ‘Wearing a Face Mask During a Pandemic’. And it tells you all about Surgical Masks.

Surgical Masks:


Surgical Face masks at a Korean wedding – From Commisceo Global

When you watch TV or social media and see crowds or groups of people from countries which are struggling with Covid-19, many of them will be wearing surgical masks.

Surgical masks are disposable, designed for wearing once only. Most will have a light blue/turquoise outer (waterproof) layer, with 2 further layers in white – the middle layer acts as the filter to large droplets which have traversed the waterproof layer, and the inner layer is the comfort fit for your face which also soaks up any excess moisture.

1-surgical-mask -medical-ii-500

Medical grade surgical mask fastened with ties

Surgical masks are also recognisable for their pleats. The pleats ensure that the mask is narrow enough to fit the side of the face, while expanding to be wide enough at the centre to cover your face from bridge of nose to under the chin.

Surgical masks are popular because they are light, relatively inexpensive, and usually comfortable to wear.

The combination of materials used in making surgical masks have also been tested to filter out up to 95% of 3.0 Microns size particles (usually classed as Bacteria Filtration), which is extremely helpful in a range of medical settings.

However, those filter calculations were taken by looking at the fabric used, not the way the mask fits.

Surgical masks can fit comfortably on the face and an inbuilt, moldable nose bar makes them a good fit across the nose.


Medical grade surgical mask, showing fit across nose and at sides

However, surgical masks often ‘gap’ at the sides, which means that there is a risk of  particles getting into the sides of the mask. With this in mind, a loose fitting surgical mask will not live up to that 95% Bacteria Filtration in a close up situation. It could even slip down as low as 50% maximum. But this will depend upon how the mask fits the individual wearer, because these masks are usually one size fits all.

There is also discussion on the size of virus droplets, as surgical masks are good filters for large (3.0 Microns) bacterial droplets, but not necessarily as good at filtering out micro-sized (0.3 Microns) virus particles which make up part of the Covid-19 viral load.

Research is still ongoing here though, as there is uncertaintly as to the nature of the micro particles in relation to the larger droplets. For example, if most of the micro particles are still part of the larger droplet when they land on the mask, a significant amount of them may be filtered out too – but no one, as yet, knows for sure. However, this makes another article and I’ll leave that one to an expert :).

Nevertheless, surgical masks are excellent at keeping virus particles in.

So, if a Covid-19 sufferer coughs or sneezes while wearing a surgical mask (or even sheds virus particles as they talk), most of these virus particles should remain in the mask, rather than being expelled into the surrounding atmosphere.

Thus the argument goes that if we all wore surgical masks, cross infection would go down dramatically.

This is because there may be many people walking around in public who have Covid-19 but are pre-symptomatic or even asymptomatic, so they look, sound and feel perfectly fine, but may still be shedding the virus. If they had to wear a surgical mask, this could help stop the spread of the virus.

And of course, surgical masks go some way to protect those sharing space with Covid-19 patients, when the patient wears the surgical mask. The mask prevents a significant proportion of virus spread getting out into the surrounding atmosphere.

So surgical masks definitely have their uses. And if we all wore them, along with social distancing and hand washing measures, they would go a long way to keeping us safe.

Wearing of surgical masks by the general public

Several countries encourage the wearing of surgical masks by the population. In Spain, for example, these masks are handed out in public transport stations and even sent to citizens by post.

However, the UK and the US appear to have a serious shortage of surgical masks to be worn by health and social care workers, therefore the Government request is that surgical masks have to be saved for health and social care staff only.

Nevertheless, face masks described as and looking like surgical masks are on sale to the general public, online, and from some local shops, so you may well see many people wearing surgical masks while shopping, working, and travelling on public transport.

How is this possible?


Surgical style face masks which can be purchased online

What often happens is that these masks are made in the same way and with the same materials as the surgical masks used in hospitals. They are said to be tested to the standard of 95% Bacteria Filtration, but have, for example, elastic ear fittings rather than tie head fittings. They may also vary in size to those worn by staff in hospitals.

Some of these masks were originally designed to be used by service workers, such as hairdressers and beauticians, in food preparation, and even in delicate manufacturing processes, and a host of other work situations. But now these masks are being made in their millions to be worn as a form of protection during the pandemic.

And now that the rush by sellers to substantially overprice masks for sale has been largely outlawed, these surgical style masks are quite a reasonable purchase – for example, at time of writing you can purchase a box of 50 for around £10 on eBay or Amazon. So they are still more expensive than they were before the pandemic, but obtainable by many nevertheless, especially to share between friends, family and work colleagues.


Surgical style mask with elastic ear loops for sale online

You may also see some healthcare workers wearing this type of surgical mask, especially in social care, where lack of PPE has left visiting care workers and care home managers having to purchase their own protective wear.

The UK Government’s recommendation is to discourage the wearing of surgical masks by the general public and to encourage the wearing of ‘cloth face covers’ which I’ll discuss more in a later part of this study. But, like other examples of limited Government knowledge, the actual characterisation of what exactly is a surgical mask, compared with the cheaper version purchased online, has left some confusion.

Suffice to say that many of the UK public are wearing these ‘surgical mask’ type face masks and will most probably continue to do so, because they do provide a reasonably effective, recognisable, and relatively comfortable answer to the growing need to wear a face mask.

In the next post, I will be talking about the masks designed to keep us safe as individuals as well as prevent the spread of the virus.

Wearing a Face Mask During a Pandemic – Introduction


, , ,


Shopping wearing face masks in Germany – The Local de


When we all saw that a dangerous epidemic was happening in Wuhan, China, many of us feared that the Coronavirus would go worldwide and with dreadful consequences.

Sadly, not only were we correct, but the spread of the virus (now called Covid-19) was much faster and frightening than we had even imagined.

So when, in February, the UK Government was still telling its citizens that this country was low/moderate risk from Covid-19, some of us did our own research, because we knew by then that our Government would be unable to protect us.

We watched the spread of the virus in Wuhan and in China as a whole, and we watched the way the authorities fought to control it.

We watched as South Korea appeared to be on the verge of a total catastrophe from the virus, but then pulled back from the brink with excellent tracking, tracing and isolation measures.

Then we saw the virus enter Northern Italy and the truly dreadful suffering and death which entailed. We watched Italian health workers as they begged us to learn from their suffering before it was too late for us.

Well we, as a population, did learn, but sadly our Government did not.

And the people of the UK suffered terrible losses of loved ones as a result.

Face Masks at last:


‘Should you wear a face mask’ – Lincolnshire Live

Another thing our Government failed to learn about was the use of face masks.

In almost every country that the virus had entered, citizens took to wearing face masks for protection when they had to go out.

And, as the spread of the virus eased in different countries, face masks were used as part of a regime of safety measures for coming out of lockdown.

But our government still insisted that face masks were unnecessary and stated that in some cases they were dangerous.

Even when the WHO advised that face masks were a recommended part of ending lockdown, and when the (at first very reluctant) US Government told citizens they should be using face masks, most members of our UK Government ignored the whole thing or mumbled in a disgruntled and confused fashion about ‘face coverings’ as if the term ‘face mask’ was forbidden.

But then it finally hit the Government that the reluctance of many British people to go out after lockdown was because they were afraid of doing so, despite (or perhaps because of) all the insincere assurances from Government spokespersons that things were getting a lot better.

And who could blame people for being afraid and not listening to Government assurances, when evidence showed that the UK had such a dreadfully high death count from Covid-19 and one which was totally in opposition to the ‘moderate’ risk they had been assured of a few weeks earlier by those same Government spokespersons.

So finally the UK Government gave in (and as is now customary they gave in much later than necessary) and advised that ‘face covering’ should be used on public transport, in hospitals, and in other public spaces where it was difficult to social distance.


Masks on public transport – Business Insider

And many UK citizens were left in confusion. From being told that face masks were unnecessary or even dangerous, they now had to find a suitable ‘face covering’ for upcoming hospital visits, for catching the bus to work, etc.

The result is that a large number of people living in the UK, who never thought they would have to wear a face mask, now either resent this new ‘advice’, or fear it, or are simply confused because they don’t know where to begin, how to find something suitable, or simply what the hell the term ‘face covering’ actually means.

How to find out more:

Well, there is a lot of help out there:

  • There are Facebook groups with members offering to make masks for others.
  • There are loads of articles about face masks and the different types and how they work.
  • There are hundreds of YouTube videos showing you how to make a face mask.
  • And for those who can afford to buy a face mask or two, there are sellers on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc, selling all types of face masks at often very reasonable prices.

But perhaps that is all too much at once?

Since early March, I’ve been researching the making and wearing of face masks.

I’ve looked at all the different types of mask; at the range of materials used; at different types of filters; at mask fitting; at how to wear a mask and remove a mask; and loads more.

So I’ve decided to put all this together in a series of posts.

There is quite a lot of typing, but I’ll add plenty of pictures too 🙂


Facemasks in public – Express and Star

If I can help someone make some choices about face masks and wearing them, then I’m happy.

And all that information accumulated since March had to come out somewhere after all 🙂

The next piece will be on types of face mask and I’ll post it soon.

In 2017 Boris Johnson launched group proposing NHS sell-off to US firms after Brexit

Pride's Purge

Boris Johnson spoke at the launch of a leading Conservative think tank in 2017, which has revealed plans to allow private US firms to take over NHS hospitals after Brexit.

The radical plans were revealed in recommendations by the organisation called ‘The Initiative for Free Trade’:

Johnson IFT NHS 2

The IFT was launched in September 2017 by a small but influential group of right-wing Conservative figures.

Who might those figures be?

None other than Boris Johnson – who this week has been denying he has ever supported US firms having access to the NHS after Brexit:

johnson IFT NHS

Other senior Tories who launched the group were Tory International Trade Secretary Liam Fox along with IFT president, Tory MEP Daniel Hannan.

Don’t let our hat-doffing compliant press let Johnson get away with his lies about not planning to sell off the NHS to US private companies after Brexit.

So please share. Thanks

View original post

Labour is Missing Out in The Search Engines


, , , , , , , , ,

UK Labour Needs To Use More Search Engine Optimisation Skills


Labour Summer of Smears – Another Angry Voice. See link at end of article

Newspapers are losing sales and TV channels are losing credibility (not fast enough though, it has to be said).
So where do most voters turn to now when they want to find out about a political party?

They go online.

They may go to Facebook and Twitter, maybe Instagram too. But many do not.
They simply put a search term into Google (or occasionally Bing) and look at the results that turn up.

But the Labour Party is missing out in the search engines.

When I search Google for ‘Labour Policies‘, I get the Labour Party ‘Where we stand’, followed by ‘Manifesto’.
That’s good.
But, underneath those and still, on the Google front page, I then find:

  • “Investors fear Labour policies ahead of the election” – Financial times
  • “What Labour and Conservative policies really mean for immigration” – The Times
  • “What Jeremy Corbyn’s tax plan means for you and what you’ll pay” – The Telegraph

And you can imagine the anti-Labour spin in those above three articles alone…

Next I get the Google ‘question box’ with:
“What does the Labour party believe in?”
And a link going to a Wikipedia article by the Australian Labor Party!
Give me strength! 🙄

Google Page 2:

  • “Labour Party latest news, pictures, policies and campaigns …” – The Daily Express…
  • “What is Labour’s Brexit plan?” – BBC News asks its usual question even though it knows the answer full well.

Okay, then there’s an article from the Guardian (?) and one from Labour List.
We also get: “Labour for a Green New Deal—Policy” – but the page hasn’t been updated since conference…

And that’s it for anything really positive about Labour Policy and those links are between other non-positive links. And we are at the end of the 2nd page.

Most people don’t search any further than that…

Now at this point, some may say “well what can you expect – search engines are biased”.

And I would say, Wake up!

Search engines are biased towards making money. That means selling advertising spots.
They are not going to be able to do that if their searches are seen to be skewed. Because if that is the case, people won’t use them and advertisers will go elsewhere.

(I’m not saying that there are no problems with the large search engines – there obviously are. But that would take a whole other article and we need to put that aside and get some positive posts on Labour UK up the top of the search engines now!).

Now, I’m old school SEO (search engine optimisation). I learned SEO in the late 90s and carried on learning and using it in the noughties.

I know how to get a post to the top of the search engines using keywords, links and trusted sites.

But I haven’t the up-to-date knowledge, the time (and certainly not the money) to learn how to counter bot impressions on such a large scale as employed by some political parties.

I also do not have access to making headway on ‘trusted sites’ in the political category – Large print newspapers, well-known magazines, etc.

But I’m sure that there must be a whole load of talented people in the Labour Party who could work on this.

So this is a plea:

PLEASE, to help UK Labour:

If you haven’t got one already, set up a blog (wordpress.com would be a good start, or blogger, or open a free Medium account)

  • Start writing positive articles on UK Labour using great keywords and keep on doing so.
  • Share all your positive posts all over social media.
  • Share links with other UK Labour writers and share their posts too.
  • Comment on any Labour positive post.
  • Share articles from Labour-positive Newspapers and write about them too.

This is not about brilliant writing – SEO isn’t about that (sadly).
It’s just about getting good, hopeful, positive, voteable articles about UK Labour all over the front pages of the search engines.

And here’s another plea:

If you are up-to-date on SEO and have the resources to help.
Please get in touch with Labour or Momentum and offer your services.

This is from me. I’m in no way speaking for UK Labour or Momentum, but I’m pretty sure they’d appreciate the offer.

Labour is Missing Out in the Search Engines. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
So please do what you can to change this quickly!

The Image used at the beginning of this post is from:
How many of these Labour Party policies did you actually hear about this summer?

Things are even worse now in the run up to the 12th December 2019 General Election.

The article, by Another Angry Voice, is correct and excellent, but I’m sure that the writer would prefer not to have to write a similar one after December this year.

Why Labour Is Right to Listen to Leavers as well as Remainers


, , , ,

The EU Referendum of 2016 was an event which changed politics in the UK forever.  And one of the changes which took place was that many of the people who voted in the Referendum were not regular voters. In fact, it appears that a significant proportion of referendum voters were voting for the first time.

And many of those ‘not very often’ or first time voters voted Leave.

After years, in some cases, of feeling that there was no point in voting, because: ‘it didn’t matter; they would be shafted whoever they voted for’, for many people the Referendum, appears to have been a means of expressing their disgust with what they saw as ‘the self-serving political establishment’.

The morning that the result became clear, many Leave voters were jubilant that at last it seemed that their vote had actually achieved something, and that was ‘one in the eye for the establishment’.

And it’s not surprising that they felt this way.

The Effect of Austerity:

After years of suffering the effects of cruel austerity measures and of having their cries for help seemingly ignored, people were then told by the Remain Campaign, without a trace of irony, that they ‘must’ vote Remain ‘for their own sakes’.

This message was pushed by ‘establishment’ figures, including Prime Minister, ex-Etonian Cameron. And was then pressed home by none less than the President of the US, arriving in the UK it seemed, just to tell us all that we must vote Remain ‘for the good of our country’.

Now, this would have been all well and good, if people had been feeling happy and secure in their daily lives and wanting to preserve that situation, but many people were not (and are still not) feeling happy or secure. So, they had every right to ask themselves what did they have to lose?

The ‘Immigration’ debate:

At this point you could argue that people’s fears and unhappiness was stoked up more by Farage, with his racist and thoroughly misleading message on immigration, and tales of the ‘corruption of the EU’. Setting these Farage-defined ‘issues’ side by side as an ‘other’ which ‘the Brits’ needed to repel.

Farage certainly gave many unhappy people a mythical range of scapegoats to blame. And he was definitely aided and abetted by the mass media in getting his divisive message across.

I am certain that the encouragement of Farage and his disgusting message led to the overt racism and violence that now threatens the very core of our society (and that’s even before you count all the dangerous rhetoric spewing from the mouth of our current PM and some who support him).

And back in 2016, as a 7/10 Remainer (sometimes 5.5 out of 10), what made me decide to vote Remain and even be very upset on the day that Leave won, was that at the time it appeared to me that much of the Leave vote was based upon reactions to messages filled with racism and bigotry. I could not be a part of that. I also feared that the result would be seen by the racists and bigots almost as ‘justification’ for their prejudice. And on this latter point I think I was proved correct.

However, with the experience of three years of ever more heated discussion on Brexit, while more and more families sink into poverty, ever more people are homeless, and while our NHS and welfare services are being run down ever more swiftly, I do understand why many ordinary people who are not racist or bigots voted Leave.

I think it was in the hope of political change: and even if that change wasn’t perfect, at least it would send a clear message that people had had enough of politicians not taking their needs seriously.

So, from being someone who calls herself ‘a Remainer’, I have come to the viewpoint that we really do need to take seriously those who voted to Leave the EU. Because:

1:  Not to do so would be dangerous – the longer this Brexit shambles has gone on, the more angry and frustrated people have become. Okay, we should never give in to threats or fears of violence by extremists who want to force their views upon others. But the Referendum campaign and the following years have allowed the rise of a violent minority of extreme right wingers, who like nothing better than to build a mob (in the old days they would have been handing out pitchforks to villagers). They have sensed victory (however fleeting). Revoking Article 50 (as the LibDems and some other Remainers want to happen) would give these thugs perceived ‘justification’ to stir up violent protest. and that would be a protest where anyone who doesn’t fit their warped views on ‘Britishness’  and ‘Patriotism’ would certainly not be safe.

2:  To ignore Leave voters would be the death knell of any hope of involving ordinary people in politics. Our representive democratic system is not perfect by any means. It is skewed towards supporting the priviledged, purely because it operates within a class-riven society. But, if used correctly (rather than being ‘played’ as it is at the moment by Boris Johnson), it is a way for ordinary people to at least get a say in how the country is run. If people who voted only occasionally, but voted in the Referendum, feel that even when they ‘win’ they will be ignored, how can the UK ever again even try to hold itself up as ‘a pillar of democracy’. And with complete distrust in democracy, on the one hand we have people feeling they are considered worthless by the leaders of the society they live in (and that will include distrust of the political left as well as the right); and worst case scenario, we could then drift into situation 1.

On the democracy note: yes, I know that the Leave campaign cheated big time with the message they put across (and possibly the funds they used to do it). But people don’t want you telling them that they ‘fell for cheats’. How patronising and short-sighted is that?

It’s my belief that whatever the cheating, whatever the messages from both sides, many of those who voted Leave didn’t care about any of that. If you believe that the political system is skewed against you anyway, you will not be surprised if there is cheating. You are more likely to shrug your shoulders and move on to think about what matters to you and your family.  For many who voted Leave, their vote was an angry cry for help – or at least to be acknowledged.

And to ignore that cry now would not only be wrong; it would be ‘proving’ that those ordinary people were correct – the political establishment really doesn’t give a sh*t about them.

Now, I’m a member of the Labour Party. Like most things in life, it’s not perfect. But I truly believe that most Labour members and politicians do care about ordinary people (however much that message gets lost now and again with infighting among different party factions). They want to help those who are struggling and they want to achieve a fairer society for the many, not the rich and greedy few. And that society will listen to everyone – not just those who were educated at Eton.

So by that philosophy, Labour has to be the party that listens to Leavers and Remainers. It cannot ignore what still seems like half of the population.

I’ve come a long way in my views since June 2016. I’m still a Remainer (Remain and reform though, at the very least), but I do believe it is correct for Jeremy Corbyn to argue that if Labour wins the next General Election, he and his Brexit team will do their best to negotiate a good deal with the EU, and then that deal will be put to the people alongside the Remain option.

Like several points I’ve mentioned here, Labour’s Brexit strategy is not a perfect solution, but it’s one which, having acknowledged the god-awful mess that the Tories have got us into with their incompetent Brexit negotiations, is the only sensible option left. And it’s the only hope of bringing this fractured country together and fending off the rise and further influence of right-wing extremists.

And when all put together like that, Labour’s Brexit policy seems pretty damn reasonable!

When Strong and Stable is Not Enough




Will June 8th be May’s Titanic Moment?

The Titanic was described as incredibly STRONG, with gigantic steel plates and a hull made of wrought iron and over 1k tons of rivets.

The Titanic was designed to be STABLE so that passengers would feel they were sailing in ‘the most sumptuous palace afloat’.

When the Titanic hit an iceberg, the wrought iron’s inability to stretch caused the hull to shatter into pieces.
And the rivets were not up to standard for the steel plates and gave way.

As for stability, the Titanic had a tendency to heel to port and allowance had not been made for the excessive roll caused by flooding of watertight areas on impact and thus rapid flooding of the starboard side.

The Titanic sunk for several reasons, but the designers’ assertion that its strength and stability made it unsinkable may well have led to less than adequate planning for an impact.

The result was chaos and catastrophe…

The passengers on the Titanic required more than promises that it was STRONG and STABLE.
Just like UK citizens require more than shallow words and empty promises.

Don’t vote for empty rhetoric and policies which will only shatter and leave the country and its people sunk in the dregs.

Don’t vote for the Tories!




NHS Crisis We Saw It Coming And Now Labour Must Stop It.


, , , ,

May 2015 seems an awful long way away now, so much has happened.
But I remember making a blog post near the General Election saying that, despite some misgivings on some of the policies put forward by the Labour Party that year (and set out on that terrible ‘headstone’…), I would be voting Labour with one main objective in mind – to Save Our NHS.

I truly feared for our NHS under a Tory government and I just couldn’t understand why so many people couldn’t see this too.

Well, my fears about the Tories have come true – they are deliberately dismantling our NHS and allowing it to fail.
I would guess that their solution would be to sell it all off (or give it away as they have done recently) to private investors, while assuring us that this will be best for us and ‘the only way’, and that plans will be set up so that we can all get private insurance…

So I have to agree with Devutopia here:


And I could just say ‘I told you so’ at this point, to all those Tory voters (or those whose votes split the left of centre vote) who are now complaining about not being able to see a GP or about ever longer waiting lists and waits at A&E.

But that would be pointless and would solve nothing.

Especially when the Labour Party, of late, has been struggling within itself rather than getting on and opposing the Tories and UKIP and exposing them for the parasites they are at every opportunity.

Now I’m a member of the Labour Party (and have been since summer 2015) and I am looking to my party to hold this government to account – to show the public the Tory lies and to offer us all a solution that will not involve further privatisation (in fact, ideally the only way this will work is if the whole lot comes back completely into public ownership).

And I’m looking for everyone in the Labour Party to get over their back stabbing and petty squabbles and to concentrate on doing something which is absolutely vital for all of us – that the Labour Party as a whole gets together and fights with everything its got to save our Free and public NHS.

I know it won’t be easy. I would be a fool if I didn’t realise that the establishment in general will do everything it can to belittle and denigrate Labour now that it has a true democratic socialist as leader.

But Labour brought us the NHS and Labour needs to be getting this across at every opportunity and demonstrating that they have real solutions and alternatives for Tory deliberate mismanagement.

So, I guess this is not so much sad remembrance of why this is happening now and why we have a true Humanitarian #NHSCrisis, but a plea to everyone in the Labour Party – left, centre and right (and all bits in between) to come together for the sake of Our NHS.

Because if Labour cannot do this then there really is no hope for any of us.