UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Gateshead rallies against Liberal Democrat betrayal of NHS

Yesterday's rally organised by the Northern TUC and Public Service Alliance drew trade unions, community groups, Labour MPs, and campaigners to send a loud message to the Lib Dems' meeting in Gateshead. The broad range of campaigners shows the strength of feeling against the policies of this coalition government which are having a devastating impact on our communities.

The North East is seeing approximately 2,000 public sector jobs going every month; the highest level of young people's unemployment; 1.5 children living in poverty; and a private sector which is stagnant.

The credibility of the Lib Dems is on the line. There has been broken promise after broken promise - from tuition fees to the NHS. Campaigners called on the conference delegates to challenge the leadership of their party to stop them decimating public services.

There has been the broadest alliance of organisations formed against the Health and Social Care Bill - what does this government do? - ignore what they are being told. The reorganisation of the NHS on such a large scale, at a time of reduced finance will be a disaster.

This Bill is about nothing more than opening up the NHS to massive marketisation and privatisation - Shirley Williams' empty words that the amendments will stop this are completely false.

To see so many people coming together to send a message to the Lib Dems that they will never be forgiven for shoring up the most ideologically right wing government, intent on attacking working class people, and destroying our public services was inspiring.

Ultimately the majority don't want the Coalition Government's austerity policies, don't want to see some of the most vulnerable in our society being attacked, and made to pay for a crisis not of their making. The Lib Dems have lost all credibility and their short term opportunism to have a seat in power at the cost of their principles will have long term consequences for years to come.

Clare Williams