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Jeremy HuntAN UPDATE: JOIN THE HUNT FOR HUNT! 
The NHS is under attack!

Up to 100 jobs cuts are planned at Royal Surrey Hospital including front line staff. There are also planned cuts to Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

Since taking over as secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt has lost 7,000 nurses, handed billions of our health pounds to his private sector friends, ‘downgraded’ a very successful London hospital and has kept out of sight as other hospitals and NHS services close units and sell off services. 

WE MUST FIGHT THIS!
Together, communities can stop our services from being broken up. The NHS belongs to all of us. Join the campaign, make sure it stays that way!  As many of you will know Unite, together with the Save Lewisham Hospital  Campaign, are planning a search in Surrey South West for local MP and Secretary of State for health Jeremy Hunt which is leading the against on the NHS.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:
Meeting Place: The Hart Road, opposite, Waitrose Car Park,Farnham at 12:15- 12:30.
There we will split up into those who wish to leaflet and petition in the town centre and those who wish to canvass door to door and get petitions signed. Street theatre is being arranged to draw attention. Kids packs and balloons are being arranged to provide a family friendly environment. The two groups will reassemble at 3 pm for a short march and rally outside Conservative Association Offices.

Coaches are leaving from Lewisham, Whittington, Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Kingston and St Helier Hospital Campaigns. Seat reservations are available by calling 07846008703Coaches

FOR MORE INFO:
http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/events/huntthehuntandsaveournhs/
http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/the-hunt-for-hunt/

OR JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP:
https://www.facebook.com/events/500290676696673/pr

EMAIL:
saveournhs@unitetheunion.org

Hands Off Our NHS


The Crimes Of Jeremy Hunt  – Criminal & Social Saboteur 

Jeremy Hunt and The Murdoch Scandal
As Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt hid an Ofcom report recommending that Murdoch’s £7.5bn takeover of BSkyB be referred to the monopolies commission. Following an investigation by MP Tom Watson, Hunt was later found to have misled parliament when he denied having formal meetings with Murdoch’s News Corp executives.

Later In 2010, ‘The Hunt’ managed to wriggle out of trouble again when it was found that he failed to declare thousands of pounds of donations from BskyB, media and arts companies the previous year.

The ‘Hunt’ faced demands for his resignation in 2012, when documents submitted to the Levingson enquiry in to telephone hacking, revealed that his office was secretly passing information to Murdoch during his bid to take over BskyB.  It was described by one MP as “a strait forward criminal offence”.

Jeremy Hunt and The Abortion Debate
After only a month as Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt told the Times in October 2012 that he backs halving the legal time limit for women to have abortions, from 24 weeks to 12. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said it was “insulting to women” and they were “speechless”.

Selling the NHS – The Crime Of The Century
The Hunt’s views on the NHS were exposed  in the Guardian last September, when it reported that Hunt attempted to have scenes celebrating the National Health Service removed from the Olympics opening ceremony. MP Andy Burnham told the commons “it proved Hunt didn’t support the core values of the NHS”. In the run up to privatisation, hospitals across the country have already been forced to save £20bn.

Jeremy Hunt’s Health and Social Care Act is set to reorganise the NHS so that it is little more than a logo on contracted out services. The regulations – made under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act 2012 – puts competition at the heart of the NHS and brings in privatisation on an unprecedented scale. Regulations will force commissioners to open up to private sector competition any part of the NHS that companies are interested in.

Local health decision makers will be able to do little or nothing to protect local NHS hospitals which will be starved of funds as a result of losing out to private providers. The regulations require all NHS services to be put out to competition “unless the commissioners can prove there is only one provider”.

Lord Philip Hunt, in the House of Lords said: “Parliament was assured that clinicians would be under no legal obligation to create new markets; however these regulations being debated in Parliament provide no such re-assurance”.

Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said recently: “The NHS has delivered what no other health service has managed: universal, accessible, high quality care at a cost far less than comparable health services. These regulations remove the legal framework for a universal, publically provided and managed, democratically accountable health service.”

Crimes Against Surrey
Meanwhile here in Surrey two hospitals out of four are set to close their A&E and maternity departments. The Sutton Guardian reported in January that either St Helier, Epsom, Kingston or Croydon University Hospital will lose key departments. Kingston has already seen A&E waiting times increase following spending cuts last year, the Surrey Comet reported in February.

Lewisham Hospital, a hospital that makes a surplus is to Cut A&E, maternity, children’s and intensive care services. Patients will have to be transported to other hospitals because there will no longer be acute provision

The Surrey Advertiser reported in February that although the hospital was not in debt and had been making a surplus over the last few years, “a 100 jobs are about to go at the Royal Surrey Hospital”.  Who remembers the facical 2005 general election? When Ann Milton, our local MP stood as “Conservatives: Stop The Hospital Cuts”. One wonders where she is now.

Jeremy Hunt has nothing but contempt for us all – even fellow Tories. It was reported that he endorsed Conservative co-chairman Lord Feldman’s characterisation of Tory ‘grass roots’ activists as “Swivel-eyed loons”, describing Lord Feldman as a man of great honour.

Even on the roads Hunt thinks there’s one rule for us and another rule for him. As the Daily Mail found when it snapped Hunt riding through red lights and one way streets last year.

On Friday 24th May, The VOAG, together with the Surrey United Anti-Capitalists and the Kingston branch of the GMB union, hunted “the Hunt” down at Surrey University. He was there to deliver a speech to students. Unfortunately for him, the welcome he received was not quite the one he had expected. More people came to protest than came to hear his bull-shit.


Friday’s Hunt the Hunt was just a warm up for the main event. On Saturday June 15th, we’ll be hunting the Hunt again, this time in Farnham, his own constituency. There are coaches arranged from London. Hospital campaigns at Ealing, Hammersmith & Charing Cross, Kingston, and Whittington hospitals are all arranging coaches. Campaigners from Hackney, King George and Central Middlesex will also be attending the event, together with campaigners from around Surrey and Hampshire. Join the Facebook event page for more info and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/500290676696673/

Call 07846008703 or email: huntforhunt2013@gmail.comVoice Of Anti-Capitalism In Guildford

The Battle Of The Beanfield: 27 Years On 

June 1, 2012
Today year marks the 27th anniversary of the infamous police attack on travellers on their way to Stonehenge in an incident now known as the Battle Of The Beanfield.

“What I have seen in the last thirty minutes here in this field has been some of the most brutal police treatment of people that I’ve witnessed in my entire career as a journalist. The number of people who have been hit by policemen, who have been clubbed whilst holding babies in their arms in coaches around this field, is yet to be counted. There must surely be an enquiry after what has happened today.”-Ken Sabido, ITN journalist. 

Twenty four years have passed since the defining moment of the Thatcher government’s assault on the traveller movement – the Battle of the Beanfield. On June 1st 1985 a convoy of vehicles set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire towards Stonehenge, with several hundred travellers on their way to setting up the 14th Stonehenge Free Festival. But this year English Heritage, who laughably were legally considered the owners of the Stonehenge Sarsen circle (built several thousand years before by god knows who), had secured an injunction against trespass naming 83 people. This was considered legal justification enough for a brutal assault on the entire convoy. What followed was a police riot and the largest mass arrest in British history.As the Convoy made its way to the Stones the road was blocked with tonnes of gravel and it was diverted down a narrow country lane, which was also blocked. Suddenly a group of police officers came forward and started to break vehicle windows with their truncheons. Trapped, the convoy swung into a field, crashing through a hedge.

For the next four hours there was an ugly stalemate. The Convoy started trying to negotiate, offering to abandon the festival and return to Savernake Forest or leave Wiltshire altogether. The police refused to negotiate and told them they could all surrender or face the consequences.At ten past seven the ‘battle’ began. In the next half hour, the police operation “became a chaotic whirl of violence.” Convoy member Phil Shakesby later gave his account of the day: “The police came in [to the grass field] and they were battering people where they stood, smashing homes up where they were, just going wild. Maybe about two-thirds of the vehicles actually started moving and took off, and they chased us into a field of beans. 

By this time there were police everywhere, charging along the side of us, and wherever you went there was a strong police presence. Well, they came in with all kinds of things: fire extinguishers and one thing and another. When they’d done throwing the fire extinguishers at us, they were stoning us with these lumps of flint.”By the end of the day over four hundred were under arrest and dispersed across police stations around the whole of the south of England. Their homes had been destroyed, impounded and in some cases torched.

THE VAN GUARD?
In today’s surveillance society Britain it is seems inconceivable that festivals like the Stonehenge Free Festival ever happened. At their height these gatherings attracted 30,000 people for the solstice celebration – 30,000 people celebrating and getting on with it without any need for the state or its institutions. The festivals themselves were just the highpoint of a year-round lifestyle of living in vehicles. As one traveller said at the time, “The number of people who were living on buses had been doubling every year for four years. It was anarchy in action, and it was seen to be working by so many people that they wanted to be a part of it too.”Having seen off the miners strike – the first casualties in the plan to re-order Britain according to neo-liberal economics (or as it was known locally – Thatcherism), the state turned its force on a more subtle threat. This time not people fighting for jobs and a secure place in the system but people who rejected that system outright. Although prejudice against travellers was nothing new, the traditional ‘ethnic’ travelling minority represented no significant threat to the status quo that couldn’t be dealt with by local authorities. But to many of the millions left unemployed by the Thatcher revolution, life on the road looked increasingly appealing. This was inconvenient for a state determined that conditions for the unemployed be miserable enough to spur them into any form of low-paid work.

WHEELS ON FIRE
The propaganda directed against the so-called ‘peace convoys’ by all sections of the media created an atmosphere which allowed draconian action. The Beanfield was not an isolated incident. The Nostell Priory busts of the previous year were a vicious foreboding of what was to come. Months before the Beanfield a convoy-peace camp site at Molesworth was evicted by police acting with 1500 troops and bulldozers headed by a flak-jacketed Michael Heseltine, then Defence Secretary. In 1986 Stoney Cross in the New Forest saw another mass eviction. At the time Thatcher said she was “only too delighted to do what we can to make things difficult for such things as hippy convoys”. This attempt to create a separate yet peaceful existence from mainstream society was to be ruthlessly suppressed.Over the next ten years – notably with the Public Order Act 1986 and the Criminal Justice Act 1994 the whole lifestyle was virtually outlawed. As John Major said at the Tory Party conference in 1992 to thunderous applause: “New age travellers – not in this age – not in any age”. The CJA removed the duty of councils to provide stop-over sites for travellers and regular evictions began to punctuate traveller life. But it wasn’t all one way, thousands stayed on the road and the free festival circuit was infused with fresh blood from the rave scene. Even after the massive crackdown that followed the Castlemorton free festival the convoys in many cases moved onto road protest sites.

Ultimately however travellers were forced to adapt – abandoning the garish war paint of the hippy convoys for more anonymous vans, moving and taking sites in smaller groups. Many went abroad or were driven back into the cities. However, despite the worst excesses of the cultural clampdown, travellers remain all over the country. Many are now in smaller groups, inconspicuous and unregistered. It’s become more common for vehicle dwellers to take dis-used industrial sites blurring then lines between travelling and squatting. 

The fact that Stonehenge is now open again on the solstice might – on the face of it – look like a victory. But the event is a top-down affair complete with massive police presence, burger vans and floodlights – a far cry from the anarchistic experiments of the 70s and 80s. A smaller gathering had been permitted just down the road at the Avebury stone circle over recent years with the National Trust taking a far more lenient stance on live-in vehicles than English Heritage. But even there, since 2007, there’s now a ban on overnight stays on the solstice. 

Much of the festival circuit these days is in the hands of profit-motivated commercial promoters apart from the growing shoots of a range of smaller festivals, who continue in the spirit of people-led celebrations of community co-operation. But festivals today are also mostly buried under an avalanche of red tape and security, health and safety requirements – The Big Green gathering saw its security costs treble in one year (2007) as they were told to ‘terrorist harden’ the event.

When popular history recalls the pivotal moments in the mid-80s for Thatcher’s Britain, the Battle Of The Beanfield rarely adequately takes its place alongside the Miners Strike and Wapping. For UK Plc, travellers became – and remain – another ‘enemy within’, to be dealt with by organised state violence, like all others who have found an escape route from a society subordinated to profit, where freedom had been reduced to a series of consumer choices.

* For the definitive account see Andy Worthington’s book ‘The Battle Of The Beanfield’ – www.andyworthington.co.uk