Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/523/3850
Thousands protest at threats to hospital
THE 'SAVE Queen Mary's' demonstration in Sidcup on 1 March had 5,000 people on it, according to the local press. Everyone was outraged at the plans to close the hospital's Accident and Emergency and maternity units and determined to fight.
Campaigners from around south east London turned out with the message that passing the cuts on to another hospital in the area is not acceptable either. We want all our services and all our hospitals.
This, unfortunately, was not the message of the local Tory party. Bexley borough's Tories put themselves at the head of the demonstration. We were right when we warned locals to beware of Tory wolves in 'save our hospital' clothing. They used the demonstration as a publicity stunt for Boris Johnson's Mayor of London election campaign.
No-one else was allowed to speak. They even told the SE London Amicus branch organisers that they couldn't have their banners on the march! The union activists politely replied that their members were on the march and their jobs could be threatened.
The Tories refused to answer any questions on whether they supported cuts elsewhere in order to save Queen Mary's, but we all know that they do.
Socialist Party members cornered Boris Johnson at the end of the demonstration. He said he did support private finance initiative (PFI) in the NHS and did support the Darzi plan, the very causes of proposed cuts at Queen Mary's.
There were plenty of locals on the march, including health workers, who were suspicious of the Tories and who want to campaign in the best possible way to stop the cuts. The Socialist Party in south east London, along with trade unionists and other health campaigners, aims to help them do that.
In The Socialist 4 March 2008:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International Women's Day
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis