Apart from the unfortunate fact that CBT is also an abbreviation for an extreme male-genital focused sado-masochistic practise, I have always had my doubts about this sort of tuppenny-ha’penny cod, pseudo-psychology. Have I expressed my misgivings strongly enough? CBT. I ask you…
“That this conference, in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that: i. the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons ii. the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society”
That is what Scottish doctors think, as expressed through the BMA.
Assembling in Victoria Square, Birmingham, outside the Council House with its Pre-Raphaelite frieze and classical columns from 4pm were a group of people coming together to demonstrate against public sector cuts. The idea, replicated across the country today, kicked off by the event adjacent to Downing Street, London, in the morning was to form up as a ‘dole queue’ to signify the public sector job losses already signed and sealed, and in anticipation of the continuing attack on health, fire, police, armed forces, civil service, education and local government leaked in advance of the budget of March 21.
In Birmingham, this is what we did.
We had support from the PCS union, who supplied placards and organising skills. Banners in support of Columbian trade unionists, Moseley Baths, Birmingham Against The Cuts and Birmingham Uni students were in evidence and with various chant-leaders we started to make some noise.
At 4pm we were about 50 strong. At maximum the numbers swelled to around 75. Not a torrent but ideally located to be noticed. The event drew a crowd, and provided a training ground for aspiring chant-meisters. Believe me, ranting into a loud-hailer is far more difficult than it appears. If you don’t believe me, you try it sometime!
By 5pm, our peaceful, very British demo dispersed.
As with the candlelit vigil outside the Birmingham Children’s Hospital on Monday (19/3/12) evening there was no visible police presence, no sub-machine guns, no kettling, no aggro and no arrests.
event FB page link
Midlands PCS FB link
Birmingham Against The Cuts link
Following a flurry of micro blogging over the weekend a candlelit vigil in protest against the NHS Reform Bill began to form in Steelhouse Lane in Birmingham, outside the Children’s Hospital (formerly the General) and opposite the police station.
At 7.45pm when I arrived there were about half a dozen of us. Numbers started to increase. At around 8pm candles were lit and a number of speakers shared their experiences. The mood was calm, dignified, good-natured yet concerned.
By 9pm, when our hour was passed, we started to disperse. The numbers had swollen to around 70, bathed in candlelight, from different walks of life. Health service employees, users, teachers, seasoned campaigners, people making the first protest of their lives, male, female, young and not-so-young, ambulatory and those mobile thanks to sticks or wheelchair. The usual suspects were there but so too those for whom the Health Reform Bill has pushed, shyly, into direct action. Their first experience of exercising the right to make their opinions known will be positive. New friends, new alliances, new perspectives.
For those politicians and trade unionists who didn’t come – you missed an opportunity to network with your electors, members and potential members. Your absence was noticed. If you miss opportunities like this do not be surprised when people of this century treat you as an irrelevance. If you are seen to decline the initiative too often, the new activists will stop giving you that option.
They are perfectly able to organise themselves. An evening of protest repeated all over the country passed off without vandalism, kettling, riot-police and lawlessness. It arose not through weeks of planning but by a weekend of social networking.
link to the FB event page