For the sick, the elderly, the disabled and anyone else who's working class, it's like World War 3, with constant attacks by the ConDem Government and local councils on the NHS and the Welfare State.
Now a new open meeting and discussion group, the Mary Quaile Club, has been founded to link the current fightbacks to the history of how it all started. And it has its first get together next Saturday, 15th February, 2pm at the Langworthy Cornerstone to which everyone is invited.
Appropriately titled Whatever Happened To The Welfare State? the public meeting features a talk by author Paula Bartley who will discuss the life and politics of Manchester born MP Ellen Wilkinson.
Paula's book, From Red Suffragist to Government Minister (Pluto Press), charts the life of the former Manchester councillor who later became MP for Middlesbrough and Jarrow. Wilkinson took part in the famous Jarrow March of the 1930s and became Minister of Education in the 1945 Labour Government that set up the Welfare State.
Alongside Paula Bartley will be Hugh Caffrey, Secretary of Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public, which campaigns against the privatisation of the NHS. He will outline what is happening at the moment and explain what people can do to save the NHS from being taken over by the private sector.
This is the first event of the Mary Quaile Club, named after Manchester trade unionist, Mary Quaile, hugely active in the early 20th Century, beginning by leading a strike of café waitresses and later becoming an organiser for the Manchester and Salford Women's Trade Union Council. Her life was suffused with passion for people's rights and when Mary died in 1958 the Manchester Guardian wrote…
"Her determination to get trade unionism for women accepted was often met with jeers, boos, rotten apples, and threats of violence. She spoke at hundreds of factory gate meetings in both the East End of London and Manchester; she never betrayed any sign of fear when faced with hostility. Her warmth and lovable personality won for her many friends in the labour and trade union movement."
It's great that Mary Quaile is being re-born in spirit through the Club that carries her name. A Mary Quaile Club spokesperson says "We believe there is a new generation of political activists campaigning on issues such as the Bedroom Tax, the privatisation of the NHS, zero hours contracts, fracking, the slashing of welfare benefits etc who would engage with discussions on history and politics, but who are not being reached at present. We will be holding regular meetings linking history with current political issues."
And the first such meeting promises to bring the activist fire of the past screaming into the present day…
Whatever Happened To The Welfare State?
with Paula Bartley author of From Red Suffragist to Government Minister (Pluto Press)
and Hugh Caffrey Secretary of Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public
Saturday 15th February 2pm free
451 Liverpool Street
Salford M6 5QQ (for map see Cornerstone website click here)
For further details and future events of the Mary Quaile Club – click here
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