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SALFORD MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGNERS TAKE FIGHT TO LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE
 

Star date: 30th September 2012

ED MILIBAND PROMISES TO HAVE A WORD WITH SALFORD MAYOR IN DROP-IN CLOSURE FIGHT

Salford mental health campaign have taken their fight to the Labour Party Conference this weekend, gatecrashing Ed Miliband's Question and Answer time yesterday, where he promised to talk to Salford Mayor Ian Stewart about the closure of drop-in centres.

Today they joined hundreds of protesters outside the Labour Party Conference centre, urging the delegates to promise to repeal the ConDem Government's Health and Social Care Act, and to start acting like the party that cares for the vulnerable.

Full story and photos here…


Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo
Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo
Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo Labour Party Conference Demo
Labour Party Conference Demo
click image to enlarge

Yesterday, Ed Miliband got a shock when confronted by people campaigning to stop Salford Council's proposed closures of drop-in groups and centres for those with mental health issues (see here and see here for previous Salford Star articles).

The group USUCUnited Service Users Committee – gatecrashed Ed Milliband's Question and Answer session in Manchester, got a private audience with the Labour leader afterwards and gain national news coverage at the same time, appearing on BBC, Channel 4 and SKY.

"We managed to ask Mr Miliband about Salford Labour Party's plans for these cuts, and at first he wasn't very forthcoming so I had a bit of a go at him" says Vee Ball, chair of USUC "To my surprise he responded that he'd speak to us later and he kept to his word as he met myself Steve Cullen, vice chair of USUC and Salford UNISON's Steve North. He talked to us and listened with great concern when we explained how Mr Stewart and his deputy Mayors of Salford were planning to close these really important venues.

"More importantly we tried to explain to him that there weren't really many savings to be made" she adds "We explained to him the consequence of closing the drop-ins - more work for the police, the A&E departments, the crisis teams, the paramedics, and told him that when you added it all up it made more sense to stop the proposal and keep these very beneficial centres open to support these people. He seemed, in hindsight, to be thinking about that and he said he would speak to Mr Stewart, so we were absolutely delighted."

Today, USUC was out again, by the Labour Party Conference HQ, joining hundreds of demonstrators, including Manchester Users Network, trying to embarrass Labour Councils making health cuts and to persuade delegates to the Conference to promise to repeal the ConDem Government's hated Health and Social Care Act, privatising the NHS.

Amongst the campaign groups were Salford Pensioners Association, Salford Against The Cuts and representatives from the city's trade unions. Other groups had come from all over the north, some dressed as doctors and nurses, some real doctors and nurses…and one bloke dressed as an albatross, campaigning for sea bird safety.

Let's hope Labour Party policies on health, both physical and mental, don't become an albatross around its neck.

Tomorrow sees the big Public Meeting against mental health cuts in Salford. Ed Miliband was invited by Vee and co but couldn't make it. But will the Mayor of Salford and his Assistant Mayor's attend to defend their policies?

Public Meeting
Defend Mental Health Services
Monday 1st October, 7pm
Swinton Royal British Legion
Cheetham Road, Swinton, M27 4UQ

Main photo by Andrew Goudie

Winston Smith wrote
at 12:24:28 PM on Saturday, October 6, 2012
Vee, I have no doubts that a party leader will be all ears and tell you what you want to hear when they're in opposition. But even he does help this time (and I sincerely hope he does), it still means we'll have a local party who only behave themselves when their boss is around. Anyway, I do respect what you're doing and I strongly believe that the council needs less Party operatives and more people like you!
 
Vee Ball wrote
at 4:23:29 PM on Friday, October 5, 2012
perhaps i did misunderstand Mr Smith on his posting however with reference to whether Ed Miliband will speak to the mayor we have had proof that he actually did he said he would saturday night and he did Sunday or at some point during the labour conference because we had this confirmed by the director of the service who shared with us the mayors response as requested by Mr Miliband. I understand you being sceptical but I guess Mr Miliband actually listened after all and when he met with us there were no press so it was not a show. We are pleased and grateful at least in the hope this has helped these vulnerable people.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 7:37:10 AM on Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I appear to have been misunderstood, so I'll put it another way: In Salford, Labour voters voted for the Labour Party who, unsurprisingly, start to dismantle mental health and other services. Logically therefore, if you voted Labour, you voted to close the drop-ins. The Salford Star headline, regarding Miliband having a word with the mayor, seems to imply that Miliband won't be happy about the closure of drop-ins and will tell the mayor so. My point is that Miliband won't give a shit - The Labour Party is all the Labour Party are bothered about, and they're doing very nicely in Salford (Mayor, Council, MP). So this *word* that Miliband is hardly likely to be a telling off, is it? Nothing will change - it's just Party spin and sound bites. For the record, I didn't vote Labour (I didn't want services cut) and I personally do know many people who use drop-ins and other mental health services. I believe mental health service users (along with the elderly) are some of the least represented and often most excluded members of society and, as usual, the Party politicians are targeting the most vulnerable or least able to defend themselves. In short, the drop-ins should stay open and the blame for their closure rests with, of all people, Labour voters - shame on them.
 
steve U.S.U.C. wrote
at 2:59:02 PM on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
With regaurds to Winston Smith comments I would say to him go out and ask the people of Salford & Manchester what they think about these drop-ins.As I was also present on saturday with Ed Miliband. And a strong campaigner for these drop-ins actually meeting & speaking to local people who support us in our fight to save our DROP-INS.
 
Vee Ball wrote
at 1:50:29 PM on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
With respect Mr Smith I hope you never have anyone close to you that you care about fall ill under Mental Health. With regard to your reference to safety in Salford it sounds like you are saying these poor vulnerable people are not safe if your voters that you refer to second this harm being done to them. If this is the case then they can keep their bigoted opinions and we dont care if they vote. I met Ed Miliband personally saturday night and sorry he was concerned this was behind closed doors without press to impress (sorry when did you last speak to him re: his views on Mental Health support) Please do tell us.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 1:49:52 PM on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
See TP's comment below:Says it all really...
 
TP wrote
at 1:46:13 PM on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Miliband not Milliband
 
lottie wrote
at 8:42:17 AM on Monday, October 1, 2012
Well done USUC. Maybe the amount of noise you're making, will make a difference. I'm Very Proud of you All... Keep up the good work
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 8:41:46 AM on Monday, October 1, 2012
Promises to have a word?!? What about? Salford is one of the safest Labour strongholds in the UK, and contains Labour voters who must actually want drop in closures, an army of expensive mayors and chief execs, less bin collections, etc (otherwise they wouldn't have voted Labour, would they?!). All Milliband can possibly say to that is Well Done! You're giving your voters what they voted for!
 
Peter Franzen wrote
at 8:39:18 AM on Monday, October 1, 2012
The reality is that the Labour party and their city and town Councils all over the UK are aiding and abetting the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition to cut vital public services and jobs. Only a few days ago Labour shadow Chancellor former member of the Conservative Association and ex public schoolboy Ed Balls said: QUOTE Labour will be "ruthless" about cutting public spending if it wins the next election UNQUOTE Peter Franzen Leader Community Action Party
 
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