Keep Our NHS Public!


There was a fantastic turnout for the Keep our NHS Public demonstration in Leeds City Centre this afternoon. I believe that the creation of our NHS is one of the things that our country can be most proud of. It's why myself and many other Labour Party members marched with friends and family to show how angry we are about what the Conservative and Liberal Democrats are doing to our NHS.

It was a Labour Government, elected to deliver a better, more equal and less poverty-stricken society after the horror of World War II, that created our NHS on the 5th of July 1948. And it was a socialist and trade unionist, Nye Bevan, who was Labour's Minister of Health in charge of this project of putting socialist principles into practice by ensuring that access to medical treatment would no longer be about the amount of money in your pocket and fat-cats and profiteers making a killing out of people's ill-health and misery.

As a Labour member, a socialist and a trade unionist, I'm proud that the post-war Labour Government set up our NHS and I'm ever mindful of Nye Bevan's words that "The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it".

It's no exaggeration to say that just as it fell to the generation after World War II to create our NHS, so it falls to our generation (and by that I mean everyone around today, regardless of age) to save our NHS from privatisation. We can't allow our NHS to be turned into a USA-style healthcare system, where they feel for your wallet before they feel for your pulse.

I've been a campaigner for our NHS for a long time.

Last year, I organised "Save Our NHS" street stalls in Crossgates, in Harehills, in Halton and in Seacroft, where we collected signatures for a petition to support a 'Private Members' Bill' in Parliament by Labour MP Clive Efford calling on the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government to stop its process of privatising our NHS. This Private Members' Bill was passed in Parliament by 241 MPs' votes to 18 MPs' votes (most of the Government MPs didn't even both to turn up).

But the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government has ploughed on with its privatisation process nevertheless.

Unless we have a change in Government on 7th May, the process of privatising our NHS and handing it over to fat-cats and profiteers will not only continue - it will pick up even more pace.

A Labour Government will scrap the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government's Health and Social Care Act (the piece of legislation which David Cameron and Nick Clegg pushed through Parliament in order to put in place their NHS privatisation process) and reverse the Conservative / Liberal Democrat NHS privatisation project.

A Labour Government will also ensure that the NHS is exempt from trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ('TTIP').

A Labour Government will also expand - not reduce - our NHS, by bringing aspects of Adult Social Care into our NHS rather than leaving it to 'the market' and profiteers in the private sector.

No political party is perfect.

But I believe that just as it was a Labour Government that set up our NHS, it will only be a Labour Government that will save our NHS from privatisation.

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