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The News Line: Editorial Force leaders who won’t fight to resign – organise a general strike! THE third reading of the Health and Social Care Bill was approved by MPs by 65 votes on Wednesday evening, with just four LibDem MPs voting against.

So much for the LibDem revolt and the Labour-trade union leaders’ policy of keeping the working class quiet, while pleading with the LibDems to do the decent thing.

The LibDems slapped the Labour-TU leaders in the face after Lord Howe told the House of Commons point-blank: ‘To be honest I don't think it should matter one jot whether a patient is looked after by a hospital or a medical professional from the public, private or charitable sector.’

Earlier, he had told a private medical conference that the Bill presented ‘huge opportunities’ for the commercial sector, and that should not matter ‘one jot’.

Earlier in the day, the Tory-led coalition had already slapped down the trade union leaders when it declared that it was going to proceed with the policy of mass redundancies at the Bombardier train maker.

This was after Unite leader Len McCluskey told a delegation of Aslef workers, attending and supporting the Bombardier lobby of parliament, to take their trade union banner down, as the union leaders had decided to make a national appeal to the Tories and LibDems, and that there was no place for trade union banners in this scheme of things.

Now the Health Bill will go forward to the House of Lords, and the trade union leaders will no doubt transfer their policy to this august body, and seek to convince this pillar of the capitalist state that it must stop the government privatising the NHS.

On Wednesday night, up to 1,000 workers assembled outside the House of Commons. Many of them told News Line that they were disgusted by the refusal of the trade union leaders to fight the coalition and demanded a general strike to defend the NHS by bringing the coalition down.

The essence of the situation is, however, that the trade union bureaucracy, both in the TUC and non-TUC trade unions, is determined not to take mass actions especially a general strike.

The TUC trade unions are opposed to the Bill but refuse to call any action to fight it, while non-TUC unions such as the BMA have a policy that the Bill should be withdrawn, with the leaders limiting their call to that the Bill should be amended!

The battle lines have been established. On one side there is the ruling class determined to privatise the NHS and put an end to the Welfare State; in the middle are the trade union leaders, both TUC and non TUC, determined to prevent a general strike by the working class to smash the class enemy; and then there is the army of the working class, becoming more and more frustrated and angry at the lack of action.

The misleaders are keeping the Tory coalition in office!

This is the essence of the crisis of leadership.

The way to resolve this crisis of leadership is through the building up of the revolutionary leadership of the WRP and the YS, in a struggle to force the old leaders to resign, and organise the necessary general strike.

This struggle means the building of councils of action to organise the masses to occupy hospitals threatened with closure to keep them fully functioning, and to support these occupations with a general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism.

We urge workers and youth to take part in the YS lobby of the TUC Congress next Monday to fight for jobs for youth, to smash the Health Bill, and for a general strike to bring down the coalition.


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