A march took place to voice fury at the incumbent government's insistence that the National Health Service is malfunctioning and needs to be fixed. Lewes, United Kingdom. 25/06/2011
An overcast Saturday morning with few people about was what I encountered on arrival at the Gallops in Lewes. A few spits and splats kept people guessing as to whether we could expect a downpour or get away lightly. Lewes has a record of being forthright with its views and opinions and like other venerable people feel they should be listened to!
People gathered and talked, children played and open discussions were had with the police in attendance: Nothing unusual! I overheard passers-by understanding what was being planned after reading the banners and thought they should support. People arrived from different directions and the occasional car hoot of approval was heard.
Ideological discussions took place in small groups as to the merits of the proposed changes to the NHS and it was not until much later the speakers shared their views with the throng of listeners.
Placards and banners popped up, moved about and jiggled themselves into position. They were off. The marchers took a short time to find their voice and then repeated well heard chants. Being well heard does not diminish there poignancy! I noticed more casual bystanders become involved and about half way along the route two chaps in wheelchairs joined to the applause of the forerunners in the demonstration.
The local MP Norman Baker’s absence was noted at a particular location on the route …. and then the march arrived in the town centre.
Planned speeches were made; not all were public speakers but the message was still delivered. The first speaker made the key points: Politicians are making a great deal from a ‘Broken Health Service’ but appear not to be able to substantiate their claims. Figures that are in the public domain, and quoted here today, contradict the basis upon which the politicians are using to fuel their thoughts and construct their arguments. It was pointed out, not for the first time, that privatisations means money has to be invested, which means profits have to be made. These profits directly bleed money from a service that has already been paid for out of the public purse, and dictate profit before patients and service will be the managerial ethos. I effect we are being robbed twice.
Another speaker (from Brighton) stressed how over time the situation has taken backward steps rather than improving the lot of the unemployed. There is a class divide (the speaker) which causes great problems and while he was not against wealth he would like to share what he has so people appreciate how far a little does not no go.
The third speaker gave a rallying call to remind people exactly what the aimed day of action on 30 June is about and not to be complacent.
Two impromptu speeches were made. No introductions or formalities were entered into. For Mr. and in this case a Mrs Average to speak up for themselves in public can be a daunting affair. The blood has to boil! It had, and I suspect will boil over time and time again in the future.
A grandmother of two children, from her exasperated delivery, was at her wits end because both of her grandchildren suffered from a rare condition which precluded a vast amount of everyday produce from their diet. Until recently it (basic food) was considered as medication and life, while difficult to manoeuvre through, was achievable. Future prescriptions have been withdrawn: A cruel fate ahead to be sure.