'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Wednesday 16 March 2011

I want to wave a placard to support the NHS. Where does a Lib Dem go to do that nowadays?

The Sheffield conference sent about as strong a message as you can imagine about the memberships view of the NHS reforms – the party said 'stop them please'. But when asked the direct question on BBC Breakfast yesterday, Andrew Lansley refused to say he would make changes to the bill – saying he had already made numerous changes and all that was needed now was clarification. He presumably thinks no one voting on Saturday understood the bill. Ha. Ha ha ha.

So all the signs are that Paul Burstow et al have a mountain to climb if we are to get the Tories to change things. How can we help them?

Now, a Lib Dems natural reaction to this sort of thing is – to protest. To get our voice heard, to let people know what we think.

So my question is – how are we meant to do that now we’re in coalition.

A quick web search of some protest options doesn’t help:

The TUC have organised an ‘Altogether for the NHS’ day on April 1st – but that’s not our bag is it?

Kelvin Karim, a nurse in south Yorkshire, has put together a protest organisation called NHS SOS with a website and Facebook page. It’s saying many of the right things. But their home page sets that organizations’ face against the (and I quote) ‘ConLibDem plans for the NHS in England’. So I guess we’re not welcome there.

There’s UK UnCut – a broad coalition of the progressive left who are protesting about many things we’d sympathise with, not least tax avoidance by the banks and big corporations. But of course, what they are principally set up to oppose is the cuts in general plus their website on the day of protest is directly modeled on the TUC’s - so that doesn’t sound like our bag either…

And then there’s a good organisation called NHS Direct Action, modeled on UK UnCut but with a specific goal of stopping the NHS reforms. A more likely source of like minded thinking for us – but do they have the clout?


All answers gratefully received

PS. Someone has already (only half in jest) suggested 'Cowley Street' as an answer to the question above. So to be clear – I want to help our leadership to get the bill changed. How can we help best?


  1. Yeah i think the Cowley Street answer may have been me. Perhaps we need to mobilise ourselves over this issue without relying on anyone else.

    Perhaps we need a committee of LibDems to take up the mantel and get things moving?

  2. How about 38 degrees?


  3. That's a great suggestion, thank you

  4. Hi Lisa - what's Evan Harris doing on this, do you know?