In glorious Autumn sunshine, supporters of the campaign for a People’s Vote took to the streets of Bath to protest about the government’s handling of Brexit and to demand a final say on any deal. Campaign group Bath for Europe has hired coaches to take people to the capital on October 19th for what is expected to be a massive turnout, rivalling the ‘one million’ march in March this year.
Waving Union Jacks, EU flags, placards and banners, protesters marched through the Bath streets chanting, ‘What do we want? A People’s Vote. When do we want it? Now.’ Two Bath Spa university students carried a stretcher with a dummy on it, symbolising the NHS as a sick patient. At the Circus, under the centuries’ old plane trees, Councillor Alison Born (Widcombe and Lyncombe), a former NHS manager, spoke about the impact of Brexit on the health service.
‘Boris Johnson told us in the referendum campaign that the NHS would benefit from Brexit but the reality is the total opposite. Brexit is damaging our economy and this will get worse if we leave the EU. Leaving with No Deal will have a huge impact on funding available for the NHS and other public services.’
She also talked about the impact on staffing saying, ‘EU doctors and nurses have all but stopped coming to work in the NHS and there are more than 100,000 vacancies that can’t be filled.’ Another major problem, she added, was the supply of essential medicines. A recent report by the National Audit Office on No Deal planning concluded there was no evidence the sector was ready. ‘This is extremely worrying for anyone needing treatment, particularly those on long term medication.’
She cautioned about deals with the US who she believed would use the NHS as a money-making venture. ‘The biggest cause of personal bankruptcy in the USA is the cost of healthcare. A Trump trade deal leaves us vulnerable in the UK.’ On a final note Councillor Born encouraged people to march in London on October 19th ‘to safeguard our NHS and our future.’