The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and so it was yesterday outside Kings College Hospital in London where the Artist Taxi Driver crawled from to Downing Street with a petition against the privatisation of the NHS... and a toy pig.
The effort to raise awareness of the issue was highlighted to a number of media outlets including the BBC and the Guardian but neither saw fit to cover the event, instead it was left to independent media sources to do it. Initially the crowd was small, perhaps ten people, but as we made our way through the sunshine down to Camberwell road the numbers grew and by the time we stopped for The Artist Taxi Drivers alternative news broadcast special the numbers were beginning to increase. By the time we made it to the Elephant and Castle there approximately fifty people now with placards and banners stopping people and traffic to explain what we were doing.
Everyone was in agreement that privatisation of the NHS is wrong.
As we made our way across the bridge and down towards West Minster the crowd got larger with passers by sometimes sneering at a man on his knees in their Gucci suits, seemingly almost aloof to the situation that was unfolding in the building behind them. Every single one of us on that street at some point in our lives has been saved by the magical people that work in the NHS from the moment we were born. To have the NHS carved by these millionaires with special interests is a disgrace to the history and the memory of it.
Some passers by did ramble on with rhetoric cast out by the Sun or the Daily Mail that it is 'foreigners' coming over and using it which has caused the problem but as I pointed out, we are probably spending more money on air conditioning in military bases than we are on the NHS so the money is there. The government just need the media to keep playing us off against each other.
Walking up Parliament Street a band had joined us and the crowd was now up to one hundred, we awaited at the gates and the crowd cheered as The Artist Taxi Driver addressed the actors standing guard. A number of people were allowed through the gate and the Artist delivered his petition that had gained hundreds of signatures along the way, he was not allowed to push his pig up Downing Street, apparently it was due to the abusive references and the actors just generally not liking pigs.
The petition and protest is against section 75 that was being debated in parliament whilst we made our way to Downing Street earlier in the day. It will potentially open up the way for a fire sale of the NHS. Privatisation is often sold to us on the idea that it drives competition and keeps prices down. Anyone that regularly uses the railway system or is being held hostage by the energy companies will know that what privatisation really means is one or two companies monopolise the area and end up charging whatever they want.
If you are concerned that the government are selling your NHS you can do something about it here.