Opportunistic speeches at Hull march against NHS cuts

On Saturday 22 September over 300 trade unionists and service users marched through Hull to protest against £99 million worth of cuts to the Hull and East Riding NHS trust.

These cuts will result in 300 beds (a fifth of capacity) going and the neurology department being closed.

A petition with over 3,000 names has been collected and will be handed to government minister Jeremy Hunt and thousands of leaflets were produced and distributed around Hull and the surrounding areas.

The march was loud and vibrant with families, the elderly and young people all taking part.

Disgracefully the local Labour MPs didn’t attend. There were rumours flying around that the shadow cabinet had instructed them not to attend due to the influence of “socialists” in the planning of the march.

Opportunistic as ever, “Lord” John Prescott who is standing for the local police commissioner position spoke at the rally.

His speech, saying he’s proud to be a ‘pleb’ and being against the cuts in the NHS might have had a bit more meaning had the cabinet he sat on in the previous Labour government not opened the door to the Tories’ brutal cuts with the introduction of PFI and the privatisation of services.

Other Labour Party supporters spoke and claimed that the Labour Party would ensure that the NHS wouldn’t be cut under a Labour government.

What good is this though if the cuts are pushed through elsewhere? The fact that the Labour Party does not oppose all cuts means that all that would happen is other key services such as education and welfare would be cut more to maintain the NHS.

The Socialist Party was well received on the march with over 40 copies of the Socialist sold and leaflets being distributed.

We argued that not one cut is needed to any public service! The austerity agenda is clearly not working and what we need is to invest in services and communities instead of propping up the bankers and the 1%.

Matt Whale, Hull Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 24 September 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.