By Thomas Foster
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2910

Corbyn rally taps into anger at Tories—and Starmer’s Labour

People are angry that the Labour candidate is a private healthcare boss
Issue 2910
Corbyn and three people at the Corbyn NHS rally

Jeremy Corbyn at the NHS rally in north London (Picture: Dave Gilchrist)

Around 400 people rallied for Jeremy Corbyn and the NHS in north London on Saturday, as he fights to become the independent MP for Islington North. 

It had echoes of the big Corbyn rallies, marking a possible turn to a more insurgent campaign

Corbyn slammed the Tories’ record on the NHS, saying, “Tory governments have opened up our NHS to private companies, to take over hospitals and specific services. 

“What will come next is the NHS will start charging for specific services, and become a service of last resort.

“We must demand the end to all privatisation—that’s a crucial part of our campaign. I will be that voice that’s demanding for a free healthcare service if elected into parliament.” 

This is in contrast to the Labour candidate, Praful Nargund, who’s a private healthcare boss. “I am astonished that they have put a private health care executive forward for a seat like Islington,” Ken, who travelled in from Twickenham, told Socialist Worker. “It shows the sort of party Labour has become.”

He added, “It’s also appalling how Jeremy has been treated by the Labour Party. Jeremy stands on principle rather than expediency, while Starmer is the epitome of expedient politics.” 

A healthcare worker, who spoke from the stage, echoed this, saying, “We don’t want a private health boss in Islington to be our MP. We want Jeremy to be our MP, who will fight to keep our NHS public.

“Privatisation is why our NHS has broken down. Government policies have made it easy for private companies to leech off of the NHS.” 

Aisling spoke about her experience of being treated in the NHS for a lung disease. “Imagine if the size of your wallet determined the quality of the health service you receive,” she said. “This is the reality if we allow privatisation to win.

“The NHS is not for sale. My health is not for sale. I won’t ever vote for anyone who stands for private healthcare.”

“The Tories are selling it off. Will the next Labour government put the final nail in the coffin? I haven’t seen any promises of nearly enough investment from Labour, who talk about using more private healthcare.” 

Nuru lives in the neighbouring constituency of Islington South, where the Labour MP is the Starmer apologist and Israel supporter Emily Thornberry. She came out to support Corbyn because “he stands for Palestine” and “for all oppressed people of the world and is always against war”. 

“The biggest issue for me right now is the genocide in Gaza. I think we need more independents like Jeremy standing up for Palestine,” she told Socialist Worker.

Another health worker said, “The vast majority of healthcare workers can see that Keir’s Starmer’s acts during the genocide in Gaza have been unforgivable.” 

The health worker added, “What happens here in north Islington will have wider repressions in British politics. We need to say no to Keir Starmer’s politics.”

Millions of people want to kick out the Tories, but aren’t inspired by Starmer’s Labour and horrified by his support for Israel’s genocide.

It was great to see a mass rally and campaigning for Corbyn that taps into that mood. An insurgent campaign—with Palestine front and centre—could light up  general election dominated by Sunak’s and Starmer’s business as usual politics. It would boost the movements that will have to fight a Starmer government from day one. 

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