THE Labour government’s policy to cut, close, reconfigure, and privatise the NHS has caught up with a number of senior government ministers, including leading Blairite cabinet minister, and Labour party chairman, Hazel Blears.
Blears supports Labour’s NHS policy, but out of consideration for preserving her living as an MP, and of course her pension pot with it, has joined the NIMBY, not in my backyard faction. She supports health cuts in general but not in her particular backyard.
That this is classic Labour party opportunism at work is obvious. However, it also shows a great fear of the masses of the people and of their determination to defend the NHS.
What is of interest to serious opponents of the government’s smash the NHS policy, is that feeling against the Labour NHS vandals is now so high that Labour MPs, even cabinet ministers, consider that if they support the government’s NHS policy in their own area they will be unseated at the next general election.
It is this reality that is responsible for the sight of Blears demonstrating, just before Christmas, outside the Hope Hospital in Salford, Greater Manchester, against proposals to close its maternity department.
Since the government is determined to push through this programme to ‘reconfigure’ over 70 general hospitals, closing a number of them, in the teeth of massive public opposition, it is obvious that a number of senior Labour MPs will be forced to resign their government jobs to save their livings, as soon as the closure list is made public.
It is becoming clear to many that a huge movement of the working class taking action to defend the NHS will blow the Labour government and the Tories who support it right out of the water.
It is this revolutionary movement of the masses that now must come onto the scene.
The way will be cleared for it by the trade unions locally, and all of the different NHS defence movements, forming Councils of Action, made up of representatives of every union and every section of the community to stop A&E and maternity department closures, and the closure of entire general hospitals, by occupying the hospitals concerned, and putting them under the control of committees of workers, patients, doctors and nurses.
Such occupations will maintain much needed services and win the support of millions of workers and youth locally and nationally, who will support and defend the occupations.
The government will no doubt decide to push through the cuts and closures regardless. They will be met by the trade unions organising local strike actions in support of the occupations, and mass pickets of the hospitals, all actions that will prepare the way for organising the trade unions to call national strike actions.
The workers movement will then be on the way to stopping NHS cuts and closures and NHS privatisation by defeating the government.
This can only be done by organising a general strike by the trade unions to bring the Blair-Brown government down.
Occupations of threatened hospitals organised by Councils of Action, and supported by the local unions and communities, will prepare the way for the calling of a general strike to bring down the government.
The object will not be to go back to the Tories but to proceed forwards to a workers government that will defend the NHS, end the privatisation programme, and carry out the nationalisation of the banks and the drug companies to obtain the finances to maintain and develop the NHS.
The sight of Blears demonstrating at her local hospital against her own policy is a sure sign that the government is afraid of the masses.
Its worst fears must be realised by the organisation of Councils of Action to occupy hospitals against closure to defend the NHS, bring down the government and go forwards to a workers government and socialism.