Friday, 2 September 2011


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As the days go by without any word from our proposed main speaker it is very likely the planned Public Meeting of 14th September 'Keep Our Services Public' will have to be postponed.
In the meantime, a visit to: will provide plenty of food for thought - why not sign up to receive regular updates and, whilst you are considering this, read - and contemplate - the following:

Extract from 'The Plot Against the NHS' by Colin Leys and Stewart Player. Merlin Press 2011
pp. 146,147.
In the second reading of the Health Bill, Labour's shadow Health Secretary, John Healey, put forward a cogent and detailed critique of the Bill but fell short of offering to do more than 'explain and expose the gap between what Ministers are saying and what they are doing in every debate at every stage of this legislation'.  He was handicapped by Labour's complicity in so much that had gone before.  (My italics. Norman)

In the end it will be up to the great majority of the public, who rely on the NHS, to stand up and fight for it. (My emphasis. Norman) Ever since the marketization process began in earnest in 2000, and in some cases well before that, numerous organizations have been resisting it and trying to uphold the values and principles on which the NHS was founded. The list includes Keep Our NHS Public, Health Emergency, the NHS Support Federation, the NHS Consultants' Association, and a host of groups and campaigns, sometimes supported by Unison or Unite, fighting to defend local NHS services.

Until Lansley's White Paper of July 2010, all these campaigns were met at the national level with a large degree of public apathy.  But since 2010, and in the new era of mass mobilizations of public opinion, from the students in London to the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the mood has changed. Paul Corrigan, a former adviser to successive Labour health ministers, confidently assured readers of his blog: 'Governments with majorities don't publish Bills that don't become Acts.  This Bill will become an Act.'  Maybe so, but by the time it reaches the end of its passage through both Houses of Parliament it could look different in some key respects.  And it remains to be seen how long Lansley's Liberal-Democrat allies will endure being seen as co-responsible for the results.

And how long will the measures in the Bill survive if it is passed?  What may the Labour leadership find it necessary to promise, if opposition to the legislation among the public is sufficiently widespread and profoundly felt?  In his first comments on the issue since becoming leader, addressing the Welsh Labour Party Conference in February 2011, Ed Milliband denounced the Bill but stopped short of any commitment to repeal it. (My italics. Norman)  A sufficiently strong and focused public reaction in England could stiffen Labour's resolve.  The cuts that were beginning to be implemented seem bound to work in this direction.

That penultimate sentence, 'a sufficiently strong and focused public reaction in England could stiffen Labour's resolve'  is one of the tasks of Furness Against the Cuts: to increase public awareness and build opposition to the cuts in order to apply pressure on the Labour Party, and another is to persuade the Liberal-Democrats that, politically, they are backing the wrong horse.  Unfortunately, for Furness anti-cuts campaigners, it would be easier to make progress through thick, waist-deep, mud than through local public apathy in this locality.  Nevertheless, the work will continue.

Tuesday 6th  Barrow Trades Union Council, 7pm, Engineers' Club, Abbey Road, Barrow.  (Trade union members may attend and contribute to discussions but only official delgates may vote)
Wednesday 7th Furness Against the Cuts, Steering Group, 6.30 until 7.30pm, Greengate Children's Centre, Greengate Street, Barrow. (Representatives of unions, community associations, charities, social welfare campaigns and church organisations welcome)  
Monday 12th Barrow&Furness Pensioners' Association, 1.30 until 3.00pm, Studio Theatre, The Forum, Barrow.            
Wednesday 14th  Live Theatre performance of Robert Tressell's 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists', Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, 7.30pm. Tickets £14 and £13

Dates of Furness Against the Cuts upcoming events to be announced shortly.

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