Marr just witnessed a car crash. It was a Tory minister on NHS pay.

Andrew Marr on Sunday 7 March
Support us and go ad-free

The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 7 March saw a Tory minister crash and burn. But education secretary Gavin Williamson wasn’t talking about schools when it happened. He was defending the Tories’ appalling 1% pay rise for nurses.

An insult?

BBC News reported that:

In November [2020], the government announced that public-sector workers would have their pay frozen in 2021-22. The exception was for those on salaries under £24,000 and NHS staff…

On Thursday [4 March], the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) gave its evidence to the NHS pay-review body.

And, as BBC News said, the DHSC opted for:

a 1% pay rise across the board for 2021-22, citing the “uncertain” financial situation and current low inflation.

Unsurprisingly, people have been angry about this.

Read on...

On the defensive

NHS organisations have spoken out. Trade unions are incensed. So, the Tories are, naturally, on the defensive. But sending out Williamson to do the Sunday morning TV shows maybe wasn’t their best idea. Because on Marr, he fell apart.

The host forced Williamson to watch footage of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak clapping for carers. Then, Marr asked him if he clapped too. Williamson said:

Like everyone. The whole nation went out there to clap.

It was obvious from Williamson’s pained grimace that he knew where this was going.

Just a little prick

Marr was straight back on him, asking:

do you think, therefore, that the whole nation agrees with the Royal College of Nursing [RCN] that this 1% pay increase is frankly an insult?

Williamson went straight into typical Tory spiel mode. He started talking about the government’s “largest investment” in the NHS. But Marr wasn’t having it. He interrupted him, saying:

none of that helps an exhausted, crying nurse. … Do you think the nurses deserve more than 1%?

Again, Williamson twisted and turned. Marr again interrupted. Williamson squirmed and stuttered. Marr interrupted once more. But overall, Williamson’s defence was that 1% was all the government “can afford”. He said this is because the Tories are dealing with:

an incredibly challenging economic situation

Here we go again.

Del Boy economics

As The Canary has already debunked, the Tories aren’t that ‘economically challenged’. All they’ve done is get their mates at the Bank of England to print a load of money. And it’s cash the Tories won’t have to pay back to anyone:

So it seems this is the austerity that was all too predictable. But by the looks of things, nurses and their supporters aren’t going to put up with it.

Everybody out?

Some unions are talking about strike action. The Canary reported that the RCN:

has warned a large number of nurses could leave the profession due to the “slap in the face” from the government. RCN has decided to set up a £35m industrial action fund to support members wanting to strike.

On Saturday 6 March, #NHSStrike was trending on Twitter. So, could industrial action be looming? Unite has said similar to the RCN. And Williamson’s weak excuses on Marr will only compound the anger.

Featured image via BBC iPlayer – screengrab

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
      1. Yes, MP’s gave themselves a huge pay rise.
        I support the nurses time for a general strike, Boris you and your Tory mates need to understand exactly who is running this country.
        Time we got rid of this corrupt government and stood together in this class war.

    1. MPs actually got an immediate £10,000 work-from-home bonus long before this derisory 1% pay rise was anywhere near on offer, but Marr probably got on top of it only because he supports the nurses. Which is rare for Marr to care much about anybody else’s health. If he did he would realise the appalling treatment faced by the sick from the DWP is the exact treatment he would have faced after his stroke if he’d been a butcher or baker and not a broadcaster. Doesn’t he realise this, or is it because he can work and earn he doesn’t care?

    2. Johnson and his mob mismanaged the covid crisis so badly and NHS workers saved the situation. So as a thank you for pulling the government out of the manure they get a kick in the teeth. What a bunch of gangsters!
      If the depraved media had not conned the British public into voting tory how different things would have been with a Corbyn led government. But the obedient British did what they were told and voted for a mob who have zero interest in the welfare of the people. Will they ever learn??

      1. Elsewhere I read that according to the latest poll, tories have increased their lead over labour by, I think, 13%. This means that the very people who stand to lose most under a right-wing administration are the people supporting the tories.

    3. The long game is close to completion, the full transferal of the NHS to the private profiteers..
      Since the Thatcherite 80’s they have been eroding it’s foundations as passionately as they tried to prevent its creation in the first place.
      If you join up the details, you’ll discover why Mr Corbyn was so totally smeared and attacked..

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.