Congratulations to the hundreds of health campaigners who descended on parliament last night as the government rushed through the Health Bill’s third reading with a majority of 65.
A torchlight demonstration, organised by Keep Our NHS Public, Health Worker Network, Unite and Right to Work, marched from St Thomas’s Hospital to join the TUC vigil at Parliament (which the TUC changed yesterday and brought forward from its original 9.30pm starting time).
Peter Hain addressed the crowd along with Andrew George, one of the four Lib Dem MPs who voted against the Bill. Just a few months ago public pressure forced the Lib Dems to make a stand and the government to halt the Bill. But since Cameron and Clegg agreed their smokescreen deal, they have both done as much as possible to push the Bill through before the party conferences.
The Royal College of GPs, the BMA and the Royal College of Nursing amongst others wrote a letter to the Times yesterday opposing the health bill. But David Cameron didn’t just ignore them – he pretended they support him! And all this at the same time as Lord Howe is at a conference telling private companies what an opportunity the Bill is for them.
Speakers at last night’s protest, including Rachel Maskell from Unite and Wendy Savage from Keep Our NHS Public, gave a clear message that we were not there to mourn the passing of the Bill but to step up the fight to defend the NHS as the Bill passes into the Lords; at the demonstrations at the Lib Dem and Tory conferences; and making plans now to make the government plans inoperable should the Bill be passed.
Demonstrate at Lib Dem and Tory party conferences
Health campaigners are planning protests at both the Lib Dem conference on 18 September in Birmingham and at the Tory conference on 02 October in Manchester as part of the demonstrations. Let us know what your plans are either if you are arranging transport or need it.
TUC leaflet for Tory Party Conference Demonstration
Lobby a Lord
The Bill will now go to the Lords where both Shirley Williams and Lord Tebbit have said they are against it! Get your group, union or campaign to adopt a Lord and bombard them with opposition to the Bill.
Next London Keep Our NHS Public meeting
What next in the campaign
Tuesday 21 September 7pm
Camden Town Hall, Judd St, NW1 (Kings Cross tube).
More information from http://www.keepournhspublic.com