Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/467/1894
AROUND 4,000 people marched through the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven on 9 December to warn the local health trust - hands off west Cumbria's hospital services!
Speakers warned that jobs and services at risk already at West Cumberland Hospital would lead to more cuts and leave it as just a treat and transfer unit. And by any form of road transport it's an hour and a half's drive from Whitehaven to supposed 'replacement' hospital services in Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness.
ON 2 December, Exeter Socialist Party held a day of action against cuts in the NHS. Devon is suffering massive cuts and closures in the NHS. In places like Torquay, Plymouth and Barnstaple the future of free health care is far from certain. Exeter itself has also suffered closures and privatisations.
Over recent months our Saturday stalls have been greeted with an overwhelming response, people from all over Devon identify the Socialist Party as the only group fighting against New Labour's neo-liberal project.
Our day of action sold 20 papers and raised the amount of signatures on our petitions to over 500. By approaching every member of the public that walked past, we really kick-started our "save our NHS" campaign. We hope our public meeting, in January, will in turn kick-start a local campaign group that can take on our profit-hungry local council and New Labour MP.
ON 9 December Socialist Party members from Lincoln and Nottingham were at the annual Lincoln Christmas Market, petitioning against the sell-off of our NHS. Our stall sold 62 copies of the socialist. Recent reports about cuts in services involve cutbacks in housekeeping services at Lincoln County Hospital's maternity wing, as well as further proposals to cut A&E provision. A healthcare worker told us that management were trying to axe as many agency and non-permanent staff as possible while claiming that no jobs would be lost.
Many local people signed our petition, including health workers, pensioners, young people and even a local Labour councillor who said he was "proper Labour", indicating the resentment among many rank and file Labour Party members. Many of these people, disillusioned with the Blair/Brown New Labour project, would readily move to a new workers' party if they were confident in the prospects for this.
By campaigning on issues such as the NHS, education and housing we can convince people like this of the need for united action, for the unions to stop funding the Labour Party and to put their resources into forming a new party standing up for what they believe in.
Marc Glasscoe, Socialist Party Lincolnshire
In The Socialist 15 December 2006:
War and terrorism
Violence against women
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
The Socialist Xmas quiz