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Huddersfield - the bandwagon is rolling!
The Save Huddersfield NHS campaign is dominating the local elections in Huddersfield. The local paper has featured the three candidates and in its editorial called the NHS the most important issue of the elections. Many voters in the Crosland Moor and Netherton ward are pledging their support for Socialist Party member Dr Jackie Grunsell who is standing for the campaign.
Mike Forster, Huddersfield
Jackie has developed a high profile as the leader of the campaign and a local GP in the ward. It is almost impossible to knock on a door and find someone who hasn't heard about the attacks on local health services and the fight against them.
Two public meetings in the ward have been attended by over 40 people, all with offers of leafleting and other help. Petitioning outside school gates has been met by clamouring for stickers and posters that seem to be appearing all over!
The plan to transfer various hospital services to a PFI hospital in Halifax has caused outrage across the town. It is a credit to our work that in the last council meeting before the elections three hours was spent discussing the NHS issue, with all three main parties trying to claim to have done something in the campaign.
The Tories called for the NHS Trust Board members to be sacked and for them to be publicly accountable! New Labour couldn't make up their minds. One councillor attacked our campaign, claiming it was a rabble and represented mob rule.
However the Labour group's resolution condemning the Trust and calling for a referendum was passed. The Lib Dems also condemned the Trust but didn't mention that two of their councillors on the board had voted to close or transfer services. In reality, the whole council have sat on their hands during this crisis and are now desperately trying to get votes on the back of our campaign.
But people in Huddersfield are not as daft as the councillors think. On our campaign stalls and on the doorstep we are discussing the future of the NHS and public services in general. This has given us a perfect platform around which we are presenting the argument for a fighting socialist alternative.
There is a strong chance of a victory in this election although nothing is being taken for granted. The bandwagon is rolling with daily canvassing, a special translated leaflet for the 20% Urdu speaking population, and election returns showing overwhelming support for the campaign. Every street we leave has at least one poster displayed in the window calling for a vote for Jackie Grunsell.
In The Socialist 13 April 2006:
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news