Political Promise

Expect Resistance to the Cuts

In David Brownsey-Joyce on February 28, 2011 at 10:07 am

Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill will meet resistance, explains David Brownsey-Joyce in the aftermath of the ‘Hands off our NHS’ demonstration in London.

Having read about the Prime Minister’s determination to open up virtually all public services to the possibility of privatisation I was downright furious when I heard about the Health Secretary’s Health and Social Care Bill which could see the NHS become nothing more than a commissioning service.

The key part of the Bill that has a lot of people worried is the opening up of services to any provider in the aims of increasing competition and innovation. This could lead to bids for services coming in and the best providers getting the contracts, delivering under budget and improving the system; what I expect to happen are those who have the cheapest bids or the best lobbyists to get the contracts and those services to have increases in waiting times.

A small demonstration

That’s why I was determined to show my anger at these proposals. So on 26th February I trudged down from Tufnell Park to the top of Hyde Park in the pouring rain to join like minded people in voicing our disapproval of the Coalition Government’s decision to pursue this agenda of privatisation within our public services.

After a bit of cajoling, a few speeches and a run through of the demonstration chants, all twenty five of us (fifty if you include the number of police there when we first arrived) we were off, accompanied by two fabulous police officers shepherding us through the city, the rest having been redeployed to ‘Fight Crime’ or fill in paperwork, and on our way to Downing Street to hand in a petition against the Health Bill.

We then politely went into our designated area across from Downing Street, opposite the 9/11 conspiracy demonstration, typical that they would get the prime location right outside Downing Street, luck of the draw I suppose, began a renewal of chants and waited whilst the demonstration’s organisers went into Downing Street to hand in the petition. After this it rather fizzled out and having accomplished what we set out to do, we promptly went our separate ways in the hope of dry socks and central heating.

So all in all, not the most successful demonstration I have ever been on and if the Bank of England can use this excuse so can we, the weather was to blame for low turnout.

All jokes aside, this Government better get ready for mass demonstrations, there are already small ones popping up all over the country, whenever there are council meetings voting on service cuts, there are demonstrations, where there are proposed hospital cuts, there are demonstrations, the same is going to happen the moment we hear about specific services being lined up to be privatised, there will be demonstrations.

Mass demonstrations

Day X will be the next wave in the campaign to save the NHS, 9th March, when fingers crossed, demonstrators will converge in London, in larger numbers than so far have been mobilised (if the sun is shining).

The British Medical Association are voting on the 15th March on whether to switch it’s official policy of ‘critical engagement’ to one of ‘outright opposition’ this would be only the beginning to launch coordinated demonstrations with mass unions.

Leading up to the big one ‘March for the Alternative’, 26th March, the TUC march in central London against all public sector cuts by the Coalition Government. A number of unions will be bringing members to London to generate a loud and proud voice, all saying ‘No’ to the Prime Minister, all asking him to think again, and all with their own individual agendas.

Mine will be to keep the NHS away from the private sector, to keep it as a service rather than have it turned into a business.

That’s my position and I will fight for it, and I expect anyone who feels the same way about anything to do the same, otherwise we deserve what we get.


  1. This article touches on an important theme, namely the nature of public resistance to what is an extraordinary programme of government spending cuts.

    To begin with, surely it’s accepted that resistance to the government cuts is inevitable. How can it not be when hundreds of thousands are living under the constant stress of knowing their livelihoods are under serious risk? How can there not be resistance when the job related ‘perks’ enjoyed by hundreds of thousands if not millions are under threat? How can there not be resistance when hundreds of thousands, if not millions will see the services they have taken for granted being diminished if not obliterated entirely? However, as the author correctly observed, serious resistance is thus far manifesting itself as small, insignificant pockets of protest in various locations across the country. However these pockets of resistance will grow as the consequences of the government’s programme to vanquish the budget deficit are increasingly felt during the course of what is planned to be a full term parliament. If this parliament is to last for just over another four years, then that is plenty of time for all kinds of possibilities to transpire.

    This glimpse into the future begs the question, what will this resistance look like when it reaches its peak, and what will be the consequences? Will the major union leaders succeed mobilising discontent and achieve a national protest against the coalition? Will Bob Crow achieve the ‘civil disobedience’, which he craves? This is what I believe is the nightmare scenario, which fortunately I doubt will come to serious fruition as the populace continue to generally accept the governments argument that spending cuts are needed in order to contribute to erasing the deficit which will in time provide the foundations for economic prosperity. Furthermore, no major western government is going to be swayed any time soon as austerity has become the new convention wisdom, regardless of the immediate consequences. Therefore, in this country at least, there will be no lasting national resistance which brings the country to its knees, or the government to the bargaining table. However, in respect of protests which are querying aspect of reform, which are intelligently presented and are reasonable, then those protesters may find they don’t need to resist, rather they will find a government more accommodating to their arguments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: