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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 July 2006

NHS Feature

West Mids march builds links

THEY CAME from all around the West Midlands as 150 people marched and rallied in Birmingham on 15 July. The march was organised by Staffordshire NHS SOS and the Socialist Party and 45 people came to the Socialist Party meeting afterwards to discuss linking campaigns regionally and nationally.

A contingent came from Nuneaton, where 700 people turned up last week at a Primary Care Trust consultation meeting proposing to close the town's special baby care unit. Workers came from the National Blood Service in Birmingham, which faces closure with the loss of 30 jobs.

Stone MSers from Staffordshire, a group of people with multiple sclerosis who campaign against the postcode lottery that denies them drugs to alleviate MS, were noisy and enthusiastic. There were campaigners from Worcestershire Keep Our Health Service Public campaign as well as NHS SOS.

Dr Jackie Grunsell, the Huddersfield Save Our Health Service campaign councillor spoke at the rally and the meeting. Jackie and Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist both spoke about the urgency of the campaign as attacks on the NHS deepen.

The NHS, Western Europe's most 'reformed' and market-oriented health service, is increasingly becoming a brand name buying in services from private companies. Labour say that they cannot give the NHS 600 million to pay off its deficits, but they agreed to give British Energy 5.1 billion in subsidies to balance its books.

Neil Stote, from Keep Our Health Service Public, said that the unions needed to support their workers. Andy Ford, an Amicus steward from the Blood Service said UNISON regional office had told their members not to come on the march because it was organised by the sort of people "we cannot be associated with."

The meeting agreed that the unions should urgently call a national demonstration to defend the NHS. They should be protecting their members' jobs rather than saving New Labour's face! Meanwhile the campaigns would network with each other, sharing information and ideas.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 20 July 2006:


War and occupation

Stop the carnage

Lebanon: Israel's air war threatens regional war


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fighting for the future of the NHS

Hundreds march to stop Labour's 'leeches'

West Mids march builds links

No to cuts, no to privatisation

Activists organise for action

What the Socialist Party says


Socialist Party campaigns

Low pay, no way!

Police not to face charges

Arrested on suspicion

Bury campaign SOCs it to the council


International socialist news and analysis

Anger in St Petersburg as the 'Big Eight' arrive

Kazakhstan: Shanyrak shanty town in revolt


Scottish Socialist Party

Serious crisis for Scottish Socialist Party


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Sea of sleaze rises around Blair

RMT rejects move back to New Labour...

Can the Left reclaim Labour?

Gordon Brown steps up attacks on the public sector

New Labour's attack on the sick and disabled


 

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