The Best of British; The NHS, the Welfare State and David Bowie
Massive anti-austerity marches have just ended all over Britain. Tens of thousands of protesters in Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol and London have turned out to let the Tory government know that the fight against the right has not ended with the general election.
Speakers included maverick Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, London Mayoral candidate Dianne Abbott, the Green’s Caroline Lucas, activist Russell Brand and Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, who hit the nail on the head when he said:
“It’s David Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires, they are the people who are the real spongers. They are the people who are given free rein to live out their Thatcherite fantasies at the expense of ordinary, decent communities throughout these islands.”
Probably the best speech of the lot came from Welsh singer Charlotte Church, who has been saying in recent days that she would happily pay more tax to save the NHS. Her summary is that Britain is still better together and being British is still something to be proud of, but not for selfish reasons:
“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.
“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS, the welfare state and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.
“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.
“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.
“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked!”
Britain is still united constitutionally. The challenge for the left there in the next few years is to find political unity on the issues that matter. These huge marches show that success comes from bringing progressive forces together.
Solidarity for a Better Britain!