Last night we had some great speakers all very different.

Shirley Franklin - Inspirational.

Shirley told the story of the Save the Whittington Hospital Coalition. Against the odds they began a campaign in the community which grew and grew. 17,000 signatures on a petition to save the A&E. Now that is a challenge.

But signing a petition is not what helped win. By taking the petition into the community they had to speak to residents, so when they needed the support of residents for the march. The residents were already ready and willing to support. As she said residents can’t help if they don’t know what is going on!

John Lister - Powerful

I have heard John speak on the NHS before and he has lost none of his fire and enthusiasm for the battle to defend the NHS. John spoke about the dangers of the White Paper which could see the end of the NHS by 2013 if communities don’t rise up to oppose these attacks. He exposed the waste of public money, the lack of accountability in the White Paper proposals.

Nick Grant - Fightback

Nick got straight to the point that everyone understands. Public Sector workers are under attack, we have to stand up to defend ourselves. Trade Unions need to build alliances with staff and residents. It is not just staff who will face the pain of these attacks, it is everyone using public services. The Academies is a classic example of what this government is trying to do. Academies are seeking to break up state education and despite claims to the contrary, this policy will see the return of the ‘have and have nots!”

Ken Loach – A vision!

Ken reminded the meeting about how the country collectively responded after the Second World War. The country was bankrupt with debts far higher than we face now. Back then we owned Gas, Water, Electricity, Coal, Steel, Transport (Railway, Buses). Yet in spite of the financial crisis, the government created the 8th Wonder of the World otherwise known as the NHS. What an achievement. What vision.

Ken made it clear this was defining point in our history. The Government were embarking on a clear strategy to demolish public services and it is our duty to respond.

Their vision for public services is not our vision.

Our vision is of the community coming together with the Trade Unions to protect public services. Our vision is one where we the community ‘are in it together.’

What next?

First task of the alliance planning meeting next week is to organise a public march across the borough.

If you want to help out, the meeting is being held here