It was a nationwide day of action to Save Our NHS. More than 9,000 people were expected to take part in national protests organised by the campaign group 38 Degrees. So far, more than 340,000 people have signed the campaign group’s petition.
That same weekend, across the country in south Wales, Michael Sheen gave a speech in Tredegar. It was St David’s Day, and he was addressing a rally in memory of Nye Bevan, the founder of the NHS.
It was a speech for our age, in which Hollywood actor Sheen – noted in the past for his portrayal of Tony Bliar – spoke with true passion of Bevan’s “cast-iron integrity”. It was a warning as much to Labour as to the Tories.
Sheen’s speech was a total contrast to the Punch and Judy political point-scoring we endure each week from parliament, a world away from the sterile preaching we hear from self-serving, career politicians. We will never hear such effective, and credible, oratory from the likes of Tony Newman or Gavin Barwell, from Steve Reed and certainly not from Tim Pollard.
Sheen spoke of the perils of middle-of-the-road politics, where “all parties drift into a morass of bland neutrality”.
If you haven’t done so already, watch the Sheen speech here:
“You must stand up for what you believe, but first of all, by God, believe in something,” Sheen demanded. “If only Michael Sheen’s words were adapted for the parliamentary oath MPs are compelled to recite as they take their seats,” Owen Jones wrote in the Guardian yesterday.
The petition asks each parliamentary candidate to commit to protecting the NHS from privatisation, making sure it has the funding it needs, and keeping the NHS out of the TTIP trade deal with the United States.
Now you’ve seen the Michael Sheen speech, perhaps you will want to sign the petition to save your NHS, too: www.38degrees.org.uk/nhs
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