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Aneurin Bevan (1897 – 1960)


Welsh Labour Party politician who is best known for overseeing the creation of the National Health Service in the Labour government after World War II Bevan, a left-winger, was intermittently in trouble with the Labour leadership; in the 1950s he astonished his supporters by opposing unilateral nuclear disarmament.
Aneurin Bevan
It has been suggested, I think by the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Mr. Boothby) that the most constructive suggestion he could make was to urge an early General Election and a return of a Tory Government in Britain. Why on earth should he want to prophesy what might result from a Tory Government when history has the record for him? Why read the crystal when he can read the book?
Bevan quotes
You have got to purge the army at the top. It will have to be a drastic purge, because the spirit of the British Army has to be regained. We have in this country five or six generals, members of other nations, Czechs, Poles, and French, all of them trained in the use of German weapons and German technique...I know it is hurtful to our pride, but would it not be possible to put some of these men temporarily in charge of our men in the field?
Bevan
I read the newspapers avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction.




Bevan Aneurin quotes
Apparently some fire-eaters to-day have been saying "Never again must we allow ourselves to get into the same condition of military unprepardness, so we are going to build up a vast war machine in this country in order to surround defeated Germany with a sea of peaceful tranquillity..." It looks as though the consequences of defeat will be more desirable than those of victory.
Bevan Aneurin
I know that the right kind of leader for the Labour Party is a kind of desiccated calculating-machine who must not in any way permit himself to be swayed by indignation. If he sees suffering, privation or injustice, he must not allow it to move him, for that would be evidence of the lack of proper education or of absence of self-control. He must speak in calm and objective accents and talk about a dying child in the same way as he would about the pieces inside an internal combustion engine.
Aneurin Bevan quotes
We could manage to survive without money changers and stockbrokers. We should find it harder to do without miners, steel workers and those who cultivate the land.
Aneurin Bevan
This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.
Bevan Aneurin quotes
That is why no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were.
Bevan
There is only one hope for mankind — and that is democratic Socialism.
Bevan Aneurin
Freedom is the by-product of economic surplus.
Aneurin Bevan
Economics, said Mr Stanley, is 50% psychology … What we need, apparently, is not statesman but hypnotists, not scientists, but witchdoctors, not confidence born of scientific prediction of the future, but confidence created by a political Confidence Trick. There is nothing surprising in this. It is the kind of mystic Mumbo-Jumbo to which capitalism is driven when austere reason pronounces sentence of death upon it. It is the primitive recoil from reality and the burdens of reality which lies at the root of Fascist psychology.




Aneurin Bevan quotes
The language of priorities is the religion of socialism.
Aneurin Bevan
He refers to a defeat as if it came from God, but a victory as if it came from himself.
Bevan quotes
Damn it all, you can't have the crown of thorns and the thirty pieces of silver.
Bevan Aneurin
Sir Anthony Eden has been pretending that he is now invading Egypt in order to strengthen the United Nations. Every burglar of course could say the same thing, he could argue that he was entering the house in order to train the police. So, if Sir Anthony Eden is sincere in what he is saying, and he may be, he may be, then if he is sincere in what he is saying then he is too stupid to be a prime minister.
Bevan Aneurin quotes
The Labour Party should oppose the Government arms plan root and branch.
Aneurin Bevan
The spectacle therefore afforded us by the United States is one of technical brilliance and social blindness.
Aneurin Bevan quotes
Not even the apparently enlightened principle of the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ can excuse indifference to individual suffering. There is no test for progress other than its impact on the individual.
Aneurin Bevan
What argument have they to persuade the young men to fight except merely in another squalid attempt to defend themselves against a redistribution of the international swag?
Bevan Aneurin
Soon, if we are not prudent, millions of people will be watching each other starve to death through expensive television sets.


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