Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10171
Save Salford's maternity ward
On Saturday 4 September, local members of the Socialist Party attended a protest to stop the maternity ward at Hope hospital in Salford being closed. The main eye-catcher was the amount of people proudly wearing their 'Made in Salford' t-shirts. Nobody will be born in Salford if the Tory-LibDem coalition successfully axes this ward, as the New Labour government decided to do.
Jon Campbell, Salford Socialist Party
The closure would make it much more difficult and time consuming for women in labour, who will be forced to travel to somewhere further afield such as St Mary's in Manchester, which could involve ploughing through rush-hour traffic.
Socialist Party members ran a campaign stall and went round with a petition opposing the destruction of the NHS through cuts and privatisation.
Local councillors from the three mainstream parties also attended the protest. A Labour councillor approached our stall and I gathered from conversation with him that he was not a socialist.
Despite this he signed my petition and gave us his support. This could not be said for the other two parties. Both councillors bluntly refused to sign my petition to help stop the closure. The Liberal Democrat councillor was particularly rude, asking me, "Why should I sign this?"
These two elected councillors were clearly not representative of the general public. For most of the event, they stood with their families and made not the slightest attempt to engage and speak to the public.
The most surprising part of my day was that when they spoke from the platform, they told the crowd exactly what they wanted to hear! I learned from this that amongst the main parties, the same hypocrisy which we have come to expect from the national parliamentary politicians goes on at local level as well.
How dare these councillors attend an anti-cuts demonstration when it is their parties which are responsible for these massive public spending cuts? They had no right to be there.
It does not end at the maternity ward either; councils all over the country are having millions of pounds worth of cuts enforced on them.
This means that hospitals, schools, libraries and other public services will either be stopped or their funding will decrease.
The working class should not and will not pay for previous mistakes of governments and the wealthy elite.
Instead of making normal people's lives more difficult, why doesn't the government save money by making a large cut in the £37 billion 'defence' budget and bring our troops home from Afghanistan? Along with this, reclaim some of the money which was used to bail out the banks.
These cuts are not 'unavoidable' and we will not allow them to be made. We need to mobilise as many workers as we can and make this clear to the Cameron-Clegg administration through firm strike action.