The campaign against plans to centralise and downgrade local health services in North Wales took a massive step forward tonight.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board had arranged a stage-managed consultation in Flint Town Hall, trying to limit attendance to just 40.
Outside, they were met by a wonderful sight - about a fifth of the town's inhabitants had turned out to protest against the threatened closure of the town's community hospital. The streets were closed down and there were about 2500 people out of a town of 12000, many waving home-made placards.
This is the beginning of a mass movement against Betsi Cadwaladr management and Lesley Griffiths' plans to impose a city model on our region.
Local campaigners deserve huge credit in bringing the town to a standstill and insisting Betsi Cadwaladr upped the number allowed to attend the "consultation" from 40 to 100. There was damning condemnation from the chair of how superficial the consultation has been at the earlier sessions. Betsi had tried to limit questions to just 10 and limit the information provided.
As a footnote, it was interesting to see how embarrassed Labour politicians were to be present - David Hanson MP said he'd make sure people's concerns were heard, Aaron Shotton (Flintshire council leader) said he supported the campaign but had to be dragged up on the platform and the local AM Sandy Mewies didn't even bother to turn up. If they were serious about opposing this downgrading, they would be publicly challenging their fellow Labour politician to take action.
Sooner or later the public are going to cotton on that this whole centralisation plan is being driven by the Cardiff Labour Government. Congratulations to Flint - they did North Wales proud tonight.