After alighting at St Pancras it was again jam-packed all around us with people from all over the country making their way to the assembly point in Tavistock Square. The noise, the banners, the immense crowds but, most importantly, the camaraderie and common cause of all there made the strength of unity all-encompassing.
After 250,000 people marched through London to stop the Tories killing the NHS, Pavilion Labour Executive member Ian McIsaac reflects on his experience of the massive Our NHS Demo of 4 March 2017.
This was always going to be great! I knew that when we boarded the train at Preston Park to find standing room only as it was jam-packed with those from Brighton going up for the march.
It was even better when we stopped at Gatwick and were joined by air passengers transiting to London who were absolutely bewildered by a packed trainload of noisy and enthused left-wingers practising protest songs with the assistance of a loud hailer… It was amazing.
Such a sight, the march commenced at 1pm, the numbers were so immense we did not begin to move for about a hour! As we turned into the long straight approach towards Trafalgar Square all that could be seen was the marchers stretching from one end to the other, the front of the march being well on the way to Parliament Square and out of sight.
It was a day when the many voices of protest joined up in one great shout of anger, the mantra “Whose NHS?… OUR NHS” bellowed forth over and over again in the tens of thousands. People stood up to say “we value our NHS” and, again, junior doctors were at the forefront of those fighting wholescale privatisation of our NHS.
If May, Hunt and the rest of the Conservative Party, their supporters and donors, did not hear it then perhaps a visit to their private Harley Street clinics would be in order to have their hearing checked!
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP and all the other speakers at the rally in Parliament Square certainly had no doubt. Their speeches encompassed the current deliberate destruction of the NHS by the Tories, using open privatisation, underfunding, neglect and, as always, the blinkered vision which defines the Conservative obsession with profit, the free market and the Tory abhorrence of all things public.
A truly great day and one in which Brighton, Hove and Portslade were all represented by so many members from our three constituency Labour Parties: Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Kemptown and Hove & Portslade. We were all there to help save our NHS from the Tories.
The Labour Party founded the NHS, and we will not allow the callous, uncaring, false hope, elitist, Establishment-supporting Conservative Party to fail it, nor destroy it. The hundreds of thousands on the march yesterday are also the voice of countless millions of others who were there in spirit.
The message was loud and clear:
OUR NHS is NOT FOR SALE!
Ian McIsaac, 5 March 2017