Aneurin (Nye) Bevan was the Minister for Health in Clement Attlee’s post-war government and was responsible for the establishment of the NHS. The son of a coal miner, Bevan consistently defended social justice and the rights of working people. Here are seven quotations that we think define his legacy as a radical politician and a man who should always be remembered!
1. “Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune the cost of which should be shared by the community.”
Today, the NHS is one of the UK’s most prized-possessions. The value, common-sense and necessity of free healthcare has become ingrained in the national psyche, perhaps because very few people remember living without it. But it hasn’t always been this way: in 1952, the idea of free healthcare was largely viewed as an absurdly idealistic hope. And yet, despite opposition and hostility, Aneurin Bevan fought for what he believed in and proved himself to be more than just a radical, but a visionary. If he hadn’t remained committed to his belief that illness was an undeserved misfortune, society today might be very different indeed.
Again, this quotation, in just 20 words, demonstrates the absurdity of paying for healthcare. Why should someone with more money deserve to live longer than someone with less? Why should lack of means have any affect on health and well-being? When put in these terms, the idea of healthcare in exchange for money seems wholly barbaric, and it’s something the USA must address. Of course, the only American presidential candidate addressing it is self-declared Democratic Socialist and radical Bernie Sanders – #FeelTheBern!
3. “It [the NHS] will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.” Continue reading