Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/508/3356

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 November 2007

Editorial

NHS campaigning - national strategy needed

There have been protests all over the country to defend the NHS. The latest, in Haywards Heath and Chichester, were both over 10,000 strong. This shows the anger which is there nationwide against cuts, closures and privatisation.

The department of health's 'commissioning of services' proposals, where 14 companies are being given the job of running NHS services for Primary Care Trusts, strikes urgency into the debate on how to take forward the struggle against NHS privatisation.

Some of these companies are implicated in serious corrupt practices in the US. They spend a lot of resources on finding ways of refusing insurance payouts for US citizens on Medicare and others, depriving thousands of people of life-saving health care treatment.

One of the British based companies to be used in commissioning services for the NHS is BUPA, recently taken over by a private equity firm. This is more than worrying considering the record of private equity firms already running public services that cut and run when it suits.

So when politicians of all the three main political parties say 'it doesn't matter who provides the care, just so long as we get it'; well sorry, it does matter.

Privatising the NHS means we are all at the mercy of profit and loss balance sheets and we no longer own parts of the health infrastructure paid for by public money, these big companies do.

Given all of this, how do we take forward the national campaign to defend our NHS? Disgracefully, trade unionists and campaigners have had to wait two years for the health trade union leaders to call a national demonstration. The leaderships of the biggest trade unions are too close to New Labour to risk upsetting them by opening the floodgates to a mass campaign.

High point

The high point of the protest movement so far to save the NHS was last autumn. If the trade union leaders had lifted their little finger and called a national demonstration at that time, hundreds of thousands would have marched through central London.

Despite pressure from their members they didn't do this or run any other type of effective campaign. They have left the door wide open for Tory, Liberal and New Labour MPs to parade themselves as leaders of campaigns all over the country.

But it is still not too late for all of us at the grassroots to link together in a national campaign with a clear strategy on the way forward. The revolt in support of the NHS has been likened to the early stages of the anti-poll tax movement.

What ensured victory of the anti-poll tax campaign was united local and national action with a clear focus and strategy to take the campaign forward at each stage. We desperately need a campaign like this now if we are to save the NHS.

There are obvious differences with the poll tax campaign. Many NHS workers are organised in trade unions in their workplaces. They have potential muscle if they take industrial action, including strike action, like the Australian nurses who are currently on strike or health workers here who have taken strike action in recent months and won some of their demands at Whipps Cross Hospital and in Manchester mental health.

This is urgent and serious. The slogans of the union tops for the 3 November demonstration are: 'We love the NHS' and 'Let's celebrate the NHS'. Well we do love the idea of an NHS that is publicly owned, meeting people's needs and free at the point of use, but that is not what we will have if a mass campaign of industrial action married to action in the communities on a local and national basis is not organised now.

All of us campaigning to save the NHS have been doing our best to pressurise the trade union leaders into organising a national campaign and we should continue to do this; we mustn't let them off the hook. We need to know now, from the leaders of Unison and the other health unions, what their plans are to take things forward after the 3 November demonstration.

No waiting

But we can't just sit back and wait for the trade union leaders to run an effective campaign capable of turning back the tide of privatisation. And we can't just keep telling those organising at a local level to carry on with no national focus, as some NHS campaigners have suggested. We must attempt, as best we can, to step up the campaigning ourselves.

Keep our NHS Public (KONP), the largest of the NHS campaigns, could play the lead role in bringing together those from People United Saving Hospitals (PUSH), other NHS campaigns and trade union branches into local and national meetings where a strategy is thrashed out. The 3 November demonstration must be a springboard for such a campaign.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 1 November 2007:

NHS: Kick big business out!

Targets take their toll on cleaners

Feature: NHS - Time to fight for a national strike

Editorial: NHS campaigning - national strategy needed


Environment and socialism

System change to stop climate change


Workplace news and analysis

CWU executive member calls for a 'no' vote

Unison local government ballot result ignored


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007 web pages


Socialist Party news and analysis

Countering the race to the bottom

Respect in crisis - what lessons for socialists?


Asylum

The socialist interview


International socialist news and analysis

Nigeria: Day of action protest march in Osogbo

Switzerland: Racism dominates election campaign

Poland: Right-wing populist government defeated


National Shop Stewards Network

Wales shop stewards' network conference

London and South East regional conference


Workplace news and analysis

Bolton care workers' dispute: Workers' determination yields first signs of success

Vote Martin Powell-Davies for NUT vice president

Journalists: Fight low pay and long hours


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 November 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

NHS:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleCarlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleToo much to cross the Mersey

triangleTories wreck our NHS

Health:

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

triangleStrike to save our NHS!

triangleTragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk

triangleDeal concludes Barts health strike - "We have raised our heads high"

Unions:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions

triangleGig economy exploiter Uber loses London licence

triangleFrench Labour reform protests

Privatisation:

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

PUSH:

triangleOne Housing tenants force housing association back

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

4/10/17

Workers

Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers

4/10/17

Capitalism

Capitalism and human progress

4/10/17

Trump

Bending the knee v Trump

4/10/17

Tories

The Tories must be driven out

29/9/17

Labour

Labour Party conference: Action against establishment sabotage still needed

27/9/17

Anti-austerity

Anti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2