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Stop the NHS sell-off - National demo now!
Support anti-cuts candidates
Jim Thomson, South West Socialist Party
Devon county council (DCC) and Devon NHS are putting children's services out to tender. Two private companies, Virgin Health and Serco, are in the lead to win the contract.
This proposed privatisation - worth £130 million over three years - is the largest of its kind. Children's services provide care for the most vulnerable, providing support for children with disabilities and mental illness and coordinating respite and palliative care. It is outrageous that this care could be placed in the hands of private companies whose sole aim is to make more profit.
New Labour in government created the legislation which means that DCC and Devon NHS can dangerously open up services to the private sector. Now the Con-Dems want to finish off the NHS as a public service in England though the Health and Social Care Bill.
Massive cuts in benefits, education and council services are already hitting communities hard. Combined with tax hikes and food and fuel price rises, we are being squeezed. Meanwhile the richest 1,000 people in Britain increased their wealth by an average of £60 million in 2010. There is no shortage of money!
The capitalists and their political cronies hope to ride through the economic crisis by making more wealth at the expense of public services. We should see privatisation, like that in Devon, for what it is: a transfer of public money to the pockets of the super-rich.
But, even with the health bill written into law, we can still beat it. The poll tax was defeated, after it was introduced, through a campaign of mass non-payment led by the Socialist Party's predecessor, Militant.
Health unions should organise protests and strike action to save our NHS, starting with a national weekend demo.
Workers, families and communities also need a political alternative. Socialists welcome the 150 doctors and health workers who are considering standing in the next general election in opposition to the health bill.
However, any electoral alternative should oppose all cuts and privatisation. The Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which is standing candidates in local government and London Assembly elections on 3 May.
'Cameron's poll tax'
Medical students from Cardiff University, supported by Cardiff Against the Cuts, staged a mock funeral for the NHS in Cardiff.
The funeral was organised by Joe Rylands who said how the Health and Social Care Bill would open up the NHS for private sector companies.
I spoke to give support from Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition council election candidates.
A lone trumpeter played the funeral march which was interspersed with chants saying the NHS was not for sale. This was witnessed by hundreds of Welsh and French Rugby fans on their way to the Six Nations game, many of whom voiced their support.
The NHS could well be the poll tax of this government as Ross Saunders reminded all present: "The hated poll tax was on the statute books for three years before it was thrown out along with Thatcher as prime minister."
22 Jul Time to relaunch TUSC
22 Jul Mandatory masks in shops law
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