Yesterday, TLW & I joined a couple of dozen thousand people and had a little walk to a park, in aid of a very good cause. That cause being trying to stop the closure of a local, and pretty decent, hospital to prop up the finances of another almost local, and thoroughly shite, hospital.
My reasons for supporting this are simple:
- I would trust the local hospital with my life and the lives of those near and dear to me, based upon what I’ve seen of them and what I’ve hear about them. I would trust the other hospital with neither, and would happily sit bleeding on a train for half an hour to get to another hospital just to avoid a ten minute trip to the A&E there.
- The reason that this closure is being considered is that the almost-local hospital needs more business thrown at it to fund the PFI contract that built it – but that’s already been tried, three years ago, and it evidently didn’t work.
However, a great many other people who were there annoyed me to the point that I almost changed my mind. Amongst them the local Unison convener (apparently you can never trust a tory with the NHS, never mind that it was Labour who (a) bankrupted the country, (b) thought up this particular gem of a PFI contract and (c) already tried rearranging the local hospitals to fund said PFI, failing absolutely); the head of the FBU (who really wants us to go back to the heady days of the 1980s and solidarity thatcher bastards bullshit) and the local Labour MP (failed to mention anything about why this particular bunch of bankruptcy happened).
But my particular favorite wasn’t one of the main speakers, like those mentioned above. No, it was a charming gentleman who had set up a PA on his bike, and was saying that there was a better way that we all could live without these tory cunts, and that it was being shown to work in Venezuela! Yay, we can Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! just like they do with the dear Mr Chavez. I had a read through their newspaper, and was shocked to find that apparently the murder of a prison officer in Norn Iron recently was to be applauded as he was clearly a nasty imperialist; how the situation in Syria is clearly another British imperialist plot; how the progressive immigration policy of Cuba was going to destroy the United States. Oh, and how it is a shame that housing projects begun under the previous and benevolent Gaddafi-led government in Libya are not yet finished…
I’ll be honest, it’s even worse tripe than was to be found in the Socialist Worker Student Society back in the day, and that’s saying something.
It’s a shame – this hospital campaign is a sensible one. And of the 15 – 25,000 people who were there on Saturday, there’s probably only a few dozen who think like this. But by fuck, they were among the loudest there, and people were listening.
(Anyway – ignore the twats: Save Lewisham A&E.)