Nye Bevan Speech about the NHS in Audio and Text

This is another piece from Youtube of a clip from a great left-wing politician, Nye Bevan. Bevan was undoubtedly one of the greatest Labour politicians, and was the man, who set up the NHS. In this short clip, he describes his setting up of the health service. He describes it as ‘good Socialism’, and ‘good Christianity too’. He expresses his pride in having created it, pointing out that it was set up when Winston Churchill said the country was bankrupt. He goes on to say that there is no country in the world, capitalist or Communist, that has anything to compare to it. And he states clearly that when he set it up, he had two aims. The first was to make sure that the medical science and arts of healing were available to all, whether they could afford them or not, and that they well to do should pay. He then clarifies this further by stating that in other words, he rejected the insurance principle. ‘After all,’ he says, ‘you can’t have a second class operation because your insurance card isn’t fully paid up’.

Unfortunately, the video to the clip just shows the crowd, not Bevan himself. I think it may well have been shot from his vantage point, given the megaphone in the foreground. The text also appears in the eye-catching, but also annoying way in which words seem to randomly appear from all over the screen.

Nevertheless, it’s a great speech, from a truly great man.

When Bevan and Atlee set up the NHS in 1948, Britain was indeed bankrupt, and the Tories tried stalling, if not actually trying to stop it’s establishment altogether, by claiming that the country could not afford it. Just as more recently successive Tory administrations from Thatcher onwards have been telling us that we cannot afford the NHS, and that some services must be cut, or else they will be made more efficient through privatisation. And remember the form Labour peer, who got very shirty after he made a suggestion that people supporting the NHS should pay an extra £8 a month for the privilege, only to be told where he could go? The Tories are busy privatising the NHS piecemeal, accelerating a process begun by Maggie and continued by Bliar and New Labour. They must be stopped.

So remember Nye Bevan and this speech.

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