Aneurin Bevan: A Biography: Volume 1: 1897-1945
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Michael Foot's two-volume biography of Aneurin 'Nye' Bevan (1897-1960) - arguably Britain's greatest socialist, indelibly associated with the founding of the National Health Service, - is one of the major political biographies of the last century. It is the life of an inspirational politician, written by one who knew and unabashedly admired him.
Volume I, first published in 1962, describes Bevan's life from his birth in Tredegar in the South Wales Valleys, through his abortive schooling, his employment at a colliery and the subsequent embrace of socialism that would make him a leader among South Wales miners. It follows his path to the House of Commons as a Labour MP with a fast-rising reputation as a defender of the working class; and his marriage in 1934 to fellow firebrand MP Jennie Lee. The volume closes with Labour's landslide election victory of 1945, and Bevan's appointment as Minister of Health.
With some reluctance throughout 1944 the Labour leaders were making up their minds to reject the Churchill proposal for a post-war Coalition. Today all concerned who are still able to do so would doubtless condemn as quite unwarranted his suspicion that they had ever contemplated the idea at all. The claim may be correct, although no evidence has been adduced to prove it. What is incontestable is that well into 1945 Churchill still thought his project feasible. Attlee and Bevin, it seems, did.
This time, are completely united on this matter. There are no differences between us now, and any memories of past differences we shall erase from our minds and from our hearts, because we have before us not only the greatest opportunity this nation has ever provided for a Party, but the greatest responsibility that any nation has ever undertaken. It is in no pure Party spirit that we are going into this election. We know that in us, and in us alone, lies the economic salvation of this country.
Blaina quoted on page 46. But the claim has been contested by others who were present at the demonstration and Archie Lush’s recollection is that on this occasion Bevan was away attending a conference in Stoke. The probable explanation is that Bevan had mixed up in his mind two marches to the Guardians – this first one which certainly occurred on the date given and another demonstration of a similar character which took place in 1927, following the introduction of the Guardians Default Act (see.
Prevailed about those dinner conversations; it must be a full concerted orchestra, not a series of duets. At the head stood the conductor with his carving knife and the whole company responded, including Ma Lee in the kitchen. Benn Levy and Constance Cummings were among the most frequent visitors in those days. ‘Everything was laughter and fun and larger than life,’ says Constance. ‘Everything was words and talk and flamboyance. I remember so often being at their home and hearing Nye in the.
Done fire me with a wish to join the Labour Party? This slouching leadership, this parasitic attitude towards the Government of the other class, would attract no young man.’1 The division between Right and Left was as much one of tone, temper and temperament as about precise differences in policy. The Left was convinced that the crisis in Europe was moving towards a climax in which the role played by Britain’s National Government was both contemptible and dangerous. But the Right-wing leadership.