It was so good to see so many people in the demonstration, many of whom were so passionate about the hospital that has formed a central part of the community for many years. Particularly inspiring were the children born at the hospital, and the people whose lives had been saved by this vital facility. It was such an inspiring feeling to be marching with thousands of ordinary people who all felt the same way, singing songs to get behind this hospital and to save the NHS that so many of us hold dear.
What I didn't enjoy was the political co-opting of the protest by some groups and individuals. Early in the march I got stuck near one man who insisted on telling everyone in the vicinity "you all voted for Boris Johnson back in May, and where is he now??" Er, no, we really didn't. I quickly moved as far away from him as possible. I similarly tried to stay away from another loud man with a loudhailer who kept trying to turn chants of 'Save the NHS' and 'It Must Not Close' into some kind of Occupy movement. Happily, he didn't seem to getting a huge amount of response.
There was also, as might be expected, a Socialist Worker Party contingent present, and many of the banners bore their logos and slogans. This is something I'm particularly not a fan of, partly because it feels like a larger organisation co-opting something local for their own purposes, but also because it gives those against the campaign more fuel. Politicians including Nadine Dorries have already used their presence as a reason to dismiss the campaign, and it's not something we can afford to have happen.
@savelewishamnhs Demo when I was at QT totally dominated by the Socialist Workers Party who were aggressive and rude. March will be same
— Nadine Dorries MP (@NadineDorriesMP) January 21, 2013