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Year 2001 No. 90, May 28, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Roger Nettleship to Hold Election Meeting in South Shields

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Roger Nettleship to Hold Election Meeting in South Shields

Among the Independent and Alternative Candidates Standing in the Election on Tyneside

Letter to the Editor:
What Serious Discussion Should Be Like

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Roger Nettleship to Hold Election Meeting in South Shields

Roger Nettleship, the Independent Health Worker Politician candidate for South Shields, is to hold an election meeting in South Shields on Tuesday, June 5. It will take place at 7.00 pm at the Brinkburn Community Centre, Harton Lane (next to South Shields District Hospital). The meeting will discuss the disastrous "Third Way" programme of Tony Blair’s New Labour government towards health care.

This programme, if carried through, would mean a return to the days when private health care is reinstated for most with only a second class system for the poor. Today, the situation is in fact already grave with many vulnerable sections such as the elderly continuing to have to pay for residential nursing care. The destruction of the Health Service begun by Margaret Thatcher with the introduction of neo-liberal policies has been continued by New Labour. This involves using such measures as the Concordat with the private sector and Private Finance Initiative (PFI). These measures, and the proposed "Private Operating Theatres", have nothing to do with solving the health crisis but are about cynically using waiting lists and so on to justify privatisation in order to secure profits for the big business. All the time, increasing pressure is being put on health workers and other public service workers to deliver more with less staff. For this reason the government has continued the "efficiency savings" of the previous government, which are continuing to take £1 million from our hospital budget every year. This is around £1 billion which is taken out nationally from the NHS.

Should not health care be recognised as a fundamental human right and be provided professionally through a system fully funded by government? There should be no issue of restrictive considerations on resources. The government claims a "moral imperative" to bankroll the payments to big business and the city and in conducting its aggressive interventions in the affairs of other peoples such as with its continued bombing of Iraq. The people should be empowered to decide otherwise. The needs of the people must be resourced.

In this respect, the candidate will elaborate that the political system in which parties are elected to power should be replaced by a system where people and not parties choose the candidates. He will call for people to support candidates of the alternative and for everyone to organise to build the opposition to the "Third Way" programme of New Labour. This is the crucial task to safeguard the future of the NHS. This is the way forward.

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Among the Independent and Alternative Candidates Standing in the Election on Tyneside

Blanche Carpenter is the Socialist Labour Party Candidate for Newcastle-upon-Tyne East and Wallsend. Blanche worked as a health worker and union activist. She is also a human rights and political activist and she has waged a number of campaigns for the rights of people throughout the world. She is a regular panellist on local radio.

Jimmy Fitzpatrick is the Socialist Labour Party candidate for Tyne Bridge. Jimmy is a campaigner for the disabled and an activist among the pensioners movement to restore the link between earnings and pensions. He has made an important contribution to a number of these recent actions of the people.

John Bisset is a candidate for the Socialist Party of Great Britain in Jarrow and Hebburn. He lives locally and is a regular contributor to the local newspaper exposing the increasing gap between rich and poor and waging a campaign for the programme that socialism means a society of common ownership and democratic control where production is solely for use.

Pete Burnett is Socialist Alliance Candidate for North Tyneside. He is a law centre worker who has been involved in many campaigns in defence of the rights of the unemployed and those in insecure employment. He actively opposes racism being one of the organisers of a recent demonstration in defence of asylum seekers.

Ken Capstick is a candidate for the Socialist Labour Party for North Tyneside. He is a former NUM official who was involved in the miners’ strike of 1984/5.

Gordon Potts is a candidate for the Socialist Labour Party in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is a probation service tutor and an activist in the National Association of Probation Officers NAPO.

Martin Levey is a candidate for the Communist Party of Britain in Newcastle-upon-Tyne East and Wallsend. He is a lecturer at the University of Northumbria and union activist in NATFHE.

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Letter to the Editor

What Serious Discussion Should Be Like

The whole aim of the politicians of the various bourgeois parties and the bourgeois news media is to prevent any serious discussion on the life and death issues affecting people's lives and to prevent the ordinary working people from taking part in the election in any real and meaningful way. This is done through trivialisation and distortion of the issues and barefaced lies.

An example of the latter came from the Labour minister for health, Alan Milburn who, interviewed on BBC's The World at One, claimed that the government had embarked on an unprecedented building programme of new hospitals. He conveniently omitted to say that he had also presided over a massive programme of closing existing hospitals and that, through PFI, the building programme was a source of massive profits for private finance at the expense of health care for the people. An example of this is in my own area of Greenwich in south east London which has seen the closure of the Greenwich District Hospital and the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital which has less beds!

Discussions and interviews with bourgeois politicians are characterised by vain promises, butting in, shouting down and blaming anyone and everyone but themselves for the various disasters facing the people. This was starkly demonstrated in the BBC Radio 4's Election Call on Thursday, May 24, with the Labour minister Margaret Beckett. One caller, in great distress because her life was actually in danger through being kept waiting so long for a major operation, attacked the Labour government's record on health. Ms Beckett's response was repeatedly to interrupt and shout the poor woman down. She even had the effrontery to say at one point, "well, we all get ill sometimes" (!); and this to a woman whose life was in danger because of her government's refusal to provide anything like the health care needs of the people!

The two London Political Forums, organised by RCPB(ML) in London, which I've been to, offer the greatest possible contrast to this very depressing picture. In these meetings, the serious issues facing working people – in education and health – have been explored in depth in an atmosphere of calm discussion through excellent and detailed talks from speakers working in these areas together with lively contributions from the floor. These Forums clearly show the way in the task of getting the working masses involved in the political process to increasingly take control of the crucial decisions affecting their lives.

Revolutionary greetings

Reader in South East London

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