Thousands of junior doctors marched through Westminster on Saturday to protest proposed contract changes. Mark Smith reports
This unprecedented mobilisation by the health profession represents a corner turn in the movement against austerity. Most of the doctors marching today were doing so for the first time but it is unlikely to be their last.
Anger against the tories was visceral with particular contempt reserved for Jeremy Hunt. Hunt looks sent to succeed Michael Gove as the austerity regime’s hitman of choice, and demonstrations like today will ensure his ministerial reign will meet a similar end.
Veteran activist Harry Leslie Smith spoke movingly of a world before the NHS. The sense of connection and solidarity with the NHS was palpable among today’s marchers.
This demonstration was magnificent but to be more than a flash in the pan these doctors need to make ready for strike action and – crucially – connect with other sections of the movement especially other health unions.
Outbursts against austerity will continue to take unexpected forms, and the People’s Assembly’s role as galvaniser and focal point has never been more important.