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Posted on 24 September 2012 at 10:56 GMT

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.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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