I add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Darzi, on an inspiring opening speech.
In the life of a nation, there occur a few ripe, golden days—the kind of day that you want to “bite to the core”, to borrow a line from the poet Edward Thomas. Undoubtedly,
The National Health Service was, and is, one of those national banners around which my generation rallied, as it has served us since we were in our cradles. No doubt we will still laud it as it eases us towards our graves. Talking about the welfare state in 1948, Nye Bevan said to his Parliamentary Private Secretary, Barbara Castle, who recorded it for me in a television interview 20 years ago:
“Barbara, if you want to know what all this is about, look in the perambulators”.
Given our average age, that encompasses many of us in the Chamber—we very fortunate children of the early post-war period.
Let us go back to vesting day 70 years ago. More anxiety was lifted off more shoulders on
In this vexing era, when we torture ourselves daily with our differences over Brexit, perhaps here at last is a consensus that is there for the taking. I dearly hope that it will be taken, shaped by that rigorous, realistic national debate of which the noble Lord, Lord Winston, spoke so forcefully. We owe it to the founders of 1948 and the generations who have devoted their professional lives to this extraordinary institution over the past 70 years. This is an hour for seizing.