Socialist Worker

NHS jitters show that the Tories fear a battle

Issue No. 2246

The Tories are in crisis over the NHS. They are running scared of mass opposition to their plans to hand over health service funding to GPs.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has been forced to delay the project, which would see private firms gaining control over budgets.

His problem is simple. No one trusts the Tories with the NHS. It doesn’t matter how many wards they tour, how many of their children get treated in NHS hospitals, how many nurses they shake hands with.

The memory of Margaret Thatcher’s attacks on the health service hangs heavy over the Conservatives.

David Cameron tried to distance himself from this history last year with billboards of him saying, “I’ll cut the deficit not the NHS.” But no one believes him.

A fight over the future of the health service could be toxic for the Tories. And they know it.

Cameron was nowhere to be seen when Lansley admitted to parliament that he was delaying his plans.

The Tories are fighting each other—and their Lib Dem flunkies.

This is happening in the week when many cuts have hit across the country at the start of the financial year.

Old people’s lunch clubs and youth centres are closing their doors, grants to local community groups have been stopped and almost a million people have lost out because their housing benefit has been capped.

These and other attacks can be stopped. But we have to get organised.

There is a mood to stand up against the cuts. On the TUC anti-cuts demonstration last month, hundreds of thousands cheered the trade union leaders when they called for unity and coordinated strikes.

The size of the protest has given people confidence to fight back.

We have to keep up this momentum.

There are plans for education unions and the PCS union to call a joint strike over pensions in June.

This could involve as many as 700,000 workers and lead the way for the resistance.

The government looks weak and divided.

Let’s make the most of it and fight to make united action a reality, which could help bring an end to this rotten coalition.

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What We Think
Tue 5 Apr 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2246
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