A petition against the privatisation of the NHS won the support of hundreds of North people during a day of action.
Campaigners from 38 Degrees took to the streets at Durham Market Place and on Teesside to drum up support for protecting the NHS after the next election.
They are challenging parliamentary candidates to protect the NHS from privatisation.
A petition which has been signed by around 2,000 people in the area will be handed to Durham City candidates in the coming week.
And campaigners delivered a 700-strong ‘Save our NHS’ petition to Middlesbrough parliamentary candidate Andy McDonald on Saturday.
Members of the independent campaign group 38 Degrees have called on parliamentary candidates, if they are elected, to “do everything they can to protect the NHS,” from what the group describes as “funding squeezes, privatisation, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal”.
The message behind the campaign is spelled out on the 38 Degrees website which says:
“The NHS has been part of our lives for 67 years, but now it’s make or break.
“The NHS isn’t getting the cash it needs. And the government is letting money-hungry private companies carve out profits from treating the sick.”
Alan Rose, one of the campaigners, said:
“‘Our NHS has always been there for me and my family when we’ve needed it. But some politicians seem determined to break it up and sell parts off to the highest bidder.
“The thought of my family being cared for by profit-making companies really worries me. It’s not just about campaign promises to spend this or that, it’s about the fundamental values of the NHS. Could we be heading for a two-tier service based on ability to pay?
“What about the massive structural changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act in 2012?”
“I would estimate that we collected around 400 signatures.
“We were so impressed with the number of people who were prepared to stop and talk to us in the cold and rain, because the weather really was awful on the morning.
“This petition is important because there is a great danger to the North East if there is a substantial amount of privatisation of the NHS.
“The 2012 Health and Social Care Act went a long way to dismantling the NHS.”
David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, said:
“We want Durham City’s MP candidates to see that the best way to win votes is to pledge to save the NHS from privatisation and funding freezes.
“Every candidate needs to realise that cutting NHS funding, or handing it over to private companies, is a huge turn off for voters.”
‘Boro’s petition has attracted 792 signitures and was handed to Mr McDonald at the Bottle of Notes by Stella Worton, a 38 Degrees member from Middlesbrough.
David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees said:
“We’re sending a clear message to our local MP candidates – you’re being watched by hundreds us. And we all want you to protect the NHS.
“Politicians can’t sit on the fence about the NHS. If they want our votes, they need to promise to keep the NHS safe from private companies and funding freezes.
“We won’t stand for another five years of the NHS being broken up or squeezed to breaking point.
“Saturday’s petition delivery event is all about the people of Middlesbrough telling our next MPs exactly what we want for our NHS.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 26 Apr 2015
MPs should be content with pay packets a third of the size of those they get now, according to a socialist bidding to become Jarrow’s next representative at Westminster.
Norman Hall thinks it’s outrageous that our Parliamentarians are set to receive salaries of £75,000.
The semi-retired software engineer believes that puts them out of touch with ordinary working people.
That’s why the 59-year-old, of Gateshead, has pledged his support for proposals for MPs to receive no more than the salary of the average skilled worker.
“It would help them to directly understand the issues that affect working people.”
Mr Hall, representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) at the general election on Thursday, May 7, is also campaigning on an anti-austerity platform.
“All of the six major parties are parties of austerity.
“They are all in favour of cuts. Our stance is simple. We are saying no to austerity.”
This is the first time that Mr Hall has stood for Parliament, but he has made two bids to become a councillor in Gateshead.
Originally a member of the Labour Party, he became disillusioned with what he says was its “lack of support” for the miners during the strike of 1985 and 1985 and joined the Socialist Party, and it allied with trade unions to form TUSC in 2010.
The union coalition plans to stand in more than 120 seats across the country in May, including Washington and Sunderland North, North Tyneside and Newcastle East.
Mr Hall, a married stepfather of two, said:
“The coalition is exactly what it says on the tin.
“I’m well aware of Jarrow’s heritage stretching back to Ellen Wilkinson, and in 2011 I was involved in the Youth Fight for Jobs, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow March.
“I’m from Wallsend, and it shared with Jarrow many of the problems that stemmed from de-industrialisation.
“In terms of what support I’ll receive, that’s somewhat up in the air, but it’s clear that people are disillusioned with the mainstream parties. We are here to give the working class an alternative voice, one against austerity and against the cuts that took place under Labour and the Tories.
“It started under Alistair Darling, who made ordinary people pay for the banking crisis. The working class needs a new voice.”
TUSC opposes all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions and rejects increases in council tax, rent and service charges to “compensate for government cuts”.
The party also supports nationalisation of the banks and the financial system, is against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and all secret austerity treaties.
The other candidates standing in Jarrow on May 7 are: Stephen Hepburn (Labour), Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat), Steve Harrison (UKIP) and David Herbert (Green).
Source – Shields Gazette, 16 March 2015
What is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) ?
The TTIP is a scheme organized by international big business to gain access to public budgets. It’s a trade treaty that is being negotiated in secret between the European Union (EU) and The United States of America (US), and what knowledge there is of negotiations comes from leaked papers.
Your elected representatives, the Members of the European Parliament (MEP), only get to vote yes or no after the negotiations are completed!
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The Coalition government has finally put its cards on the table, calling for the completion of a ‘free trade’ agreement with the United States of America that will end democracy as we know it today.
Do you think this statement is needlessly hyperbolic? In fact, it probably does not make the point strongly enough!
You will lose the ability to affect government policy – particularly on the National Health Service; after the Health and Social Care Act, the trade agreement would put every decision relating to its work on a commercial footing. The rights of transnational corporations would become the priority, health would become primarily a trade issue and your personal well-being would be of no consequence whatsoever.
Profit will rule.
Also threatened would be any other public service that has been privatised by this and previous governments, along with any that are privatised in the future; all would fall…
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