Traybake, Soda Farl and I went for a walk today. So did up to 25,000 other people.
It took us just over an hour and a half to walk about a mile and a half. Our local A&E is recommended for closure. The hospital is well managed, not in debt and provides a pretty good service by all accounts. The staff are also excellent singers which I for one consider to be an important benchmark in assessing medical care.
Another hospital in south east London is in dire straits due to a PFI contract which has proven to be a disaster. I have been thinking that PFIs are like endowment mortgages - enormous cons which enable a tiny minority of people to make shitloads of money in the short term and the vast majority to suffer in the long term.
Many, many people are angry about the closure of the A&E and they were out in force today. Despite the anger it was actually a very good tempered demonstration. Lots of old people, small children and teenagers were marching or rather being pushed, carried or shuffling along. The maternity services are being severely reduced as well so many kids were carrying posters with the date on which they had been born in the hospital. I saw a set of triplets and later discovered their father is quite a well known comedian.
These four girls, students at Goldsmith's, who I'd seen the night before on Youtube were performing much to the amusement of the passers-by. They were really pleased when I told them I'd seen their clip.
I also bumped into the Surly Niece's friend, who briefly lived in the flat downstairs. I hardly recognised him as he now has an enormous, bushy beard which is bigger than he is.
The roads hadn't been closed so there were massive traffic jams and the buses and some black cab drivers had given up and were standing next to their vehicles. They didn't seem too bothered at being held up.
A local cafe had a sign outside saying "Free Instant Coffee for demonstrators!"
I got stopped by the BBC and asked for a comment. I wittered on for a couple of minutes and then spent the rest of the day worrying about whether I'd be on the news tonight. I doubt they used it but haven't switched on the TV yet so I can't be sure. TB said they must have picked on me because I looked "sensible". I am supposed to be politically neutral and thankfully I didn't let myself down by calling Jeremy Hunt, Jeremy Cunt as they have been known to do on the BBC.
We didn't hang around much when we got to the rally. It was very muddy underfoot and we were in need of lunch.
I'm glad I went but not sure if it will have any impact.