Wednesday 8th October 2014 will become a monumental date in local community action. Over 11000 local people had signed a petition to make a very firm statement to the governors of Dorset County Hospital; the Coalition government and all those who support selling off the people’s resources to large corporations. Just by signing an online form declaring that a local service should be retained and maintained by the public purse and not by those who seek to profit (above all else) has won a very important battle. Alongside those who have actively demonstrated and sought support by educating the community they can now rejoice wholeheartedly that their campaign has found sympathy and understanding and has been successful. Local jobs have been saved. Morale has dramatically increased and people now know, that by not giving up, pride can be restored.
Thankfully many governors (numbers not known) were either against or very reticent about buying in services from the private sector. They trusted the staff at the hospital and realised that no matter how competent the team members are at Taunton that their employers have not got the same priorities. The governors also new that in a relatively low populated community 11000 people is very significant and that the patients must have trust in their hospital. Let down the community and just like neo liberalism (privatisation), it is potentially a very slippery slope. The matching of principles and pragmatism therefore became very potent and favourable.
Imagine if every local community stood up together across the country and took on those who were focused almost entirely on feathering their own and their friends nests? Instead of seeing the creeping privatisation and concentration of resources in to the hands of the few we could have democratically accountable services that could call upon the expertise of those who are routinely affected. Not CEO’s thousands of miles away who frankly do not care as long as the cash is rolling in.
We must applaud loudly what has been achieved but never rest on our laurels and remember that many others also require our support and guidance. It is a shame that the likes of Oliver Letwin and Richard Drax are not representing our interests. They are representing their distorted and flawed ideology. A democracy that calls itself ‘representative’ might want to begin by identifying to whom it represents.
Three cheers for the local people and the hospital Trust for ensuring that the spinning head stopped when facing the right way. Now let’s help others to do the same.