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Demonstration against Andrew Lansley

Today saw the start of the Royal College of GPs conference in Liverpool. Keep Our NHS Public held a protest outside the venue, the BT Convention Centre, as health minister Andrew Lansley was set to be the day's keynote speaker. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation joined the action.

As the land was private property, the security had taken the trouble to set up a protest pen using steel barricades, in which the demonstrators were to be contained. Liverpool Solfed members and others were resistant to this, but too many of those who turned up complied willingly either by going inside or by keeping their distance from the centre whilst giving out leaflets. The minority who chose not to be caged - especially as there were no police present! - simply kept moving about so that they were never static enough to be herded back to the pen.

UK news in briefs

Government 'war games' against the working class

The Cabinet Office has reportedly been carrying out ‘war games’ to prepare for possible strike action against sweeping cut backs. Plans have centred on ensuring there’s enough scab labour available to break strikes in key sectors. 

Ministers have already suggested they will tighten Britain’s already draconian anti-strike laws in the event significant strike action breaks out. A string of recent strike ballots have been ruled unlawful in the courts, using technicalities to annul majority votes for action. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have threated to further tighten the law “as a last resort” if union bosses don’t co-operate.

Merseyside protest at planned plant closure

Silent Nightingales - Karen Reissmann, the NHS and the threat of a good example

In his 1992 book, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Noam Chomsky attributed the role of the US administration in its interventions in places like El Salvador, Chile and Nicaragua in part to the desire to negate the ‘threat of a good example’.

Battle to Save GP Surgeries

Sixty years after its birth, the process of auctioning off the most profitable sections of the NHS is now well and truly underway. GPs who have traditionally run their own small, locally-based surgeries are now being forced to compete with huge international companies as a result of legislative changes introduced in 2003.

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Solidarity Federation