Guest post from Gay Lee from Lambeth Keep Our NHS Public
Last Saturday saw a singing flashmob action organised via Lambeth Keep our NHS Public, to highlight Richard Branson’s Virgin takeover of much of NHS healthcare.
It’s part of the nationwide ‘People’s Assembly Bonfire of Austerity’ actions, mostly taking place today. In central London people were blocking Westminster Bridge at 6pm tonight and burning their energy bills in protest.
30 – 40 people targeted the Virgin Media phone shop at Brixton with the aim of alerting members of the public to the creeping privatisation and destruction of our NHS by companies like Virgin who want help create a health system modeled on the US one – expensive, exploitative and inefficient.
This is going on under our noses but few of us realize it. Virgin doesn’t shout about it but it now runs 270 plus community and primary health services in England, including half of Surrey’s community health services.
So we wanted to alert people with specially adapted ‘Virgin’ songs and a Richard Branson guy collecting a ‘penny for the NHS’. We handed out 600 leaflets to interested passers-by.
The flashmob also achieved another goal – to stop people going into the Virgin shop. But we didn’t even have to ask them to boycott it – the fierce-looking staff on the door, presumably trying to keep us out, managed to stop everyone else getting in. So – own goal!