Today is the 63rd birthday of the National Health Service. If ever a day merited National Holiday status it’s this one. Instead we got a day off to watch a couple of posh kids get wed. Nonetheless, it’s our duty to honour the creation of one of the finest antidotes to free market capitalism the world has seen. The NHS is the reason why loads of right-wing Americans see us as, effectively, a communist country. And that’s how its architect, Nye Bevan, would have wanted it to be. In place of fear Nye wanted us to be safe in the knowledge that the state would provide. And he chose one of those very few moments – when men come home from bloody wars, tooled up and refusing to accept that things would be as bad as they were before – to slide it under the radar of the ruling class. But what choice did they have? It was that or a proper workers’ state.
Now, you can argue that, were it not for Nye’s blueprints for an evolutionary democratic socialist society, we would have gone the whole hog by now, and successive Tory governments wouldn’t have clawed back all those gains that Nye, and those around him, fought so hard for. They’ve got a point. But Nye made things better for his class. Full stop. He improved the lives of working people more than any other British politician, by driving through change with the force of a thousand bulldozers. And so today we pause for a moment to remember him, and his finest creation.
Of course, let’s not forget that Nye was MP for Ebbw Vale – a town Thee Faction will be forever associated with. If you were amongst the comrades at the Marxism 2011 After Party at the Vibe Bar last night you might have picked up a free CD in a plastic wallet, with no information on it other than a link to this blog. What you have in your hands is a copy of Thee Faction’s legendary At Ebbw Vale. Recorded in situ, it captures a band at the peak of its powers in 1984. So, if you’re listening to it, here’s the artwork and track listing:
1. Union Man/Proletarian Man
2. Don’t Sell Your Consent
3. Conservative Friend
4. Charm Alone
5. The Cactus
6. Gone Too Long
7. Hands Untied
8. Rise Up
9. Julie Got a Raise
10. Social Inclusion Through Marxism
12. I Can See The Future
If you love the album, and want to own it on vinyl (the format we recorded it for, and still our most approved format), you can get it from Soviet Beret Records for very little money.
If you’re wondering why lots of your favourites from last night at Marxism 2011 aren’t on it (366, Marx My Main Man, Ready, Customer and so on), you’ll find them on our new album: Up the Workers! or Capitalism is Good For Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism is Bad All Your Life. You can get that from Soviet Beret too. But you might prefer to take advantage of our special comradely offer (which we’ll reveal in our reply to you) by emailing us at email@example.com and placing the words “one solution: revolution” in the subject box. We promise it’s a good one.
Wear your badges with pride, brothers and sisters. And come and see us at the next gig: Mods Against the Cuts at Blow Up, Denmark Street on Saturday August 13th.
So, Happy Birthday to the NHS, and thanks for having us to the SWP. We had a great night. Can we come back next year?