Why are the British so proud of the NHS? Because it saved most of our lives, resulting in increases in life expectancy year-on-year until the Conservatives took over government in 2021 and started privatising parts and starving it of cash.Let me tell you a story about my life. My maternal grandmother was caught in a bomb during the Second World War and became a Type 1 diabetic after her pancreas failed. Now my grandfather was a successful amateur musician and owned many expensive musical instruments. But before the NHS was founded he had to sell all of them to pay for to keep his wife alive. He was saved from bankruptcy and she was saved, period, by the NHS.Being diabetic my grandmother had difficulties with childbirth and had many still-born children. Only my mother survived, thanks to the NHS.My father suffered from schizophrenia. He was admitted to mental hospitals for treatment until the best medicines were found to allow him to rejoin society and work to support his family, thanks to the NHS.My mother suffered from high blood pressure. This increased severely during pregnancy but she safely delivered my brother and I, thanks to the NHS. In her middle-age she became asthmatic but received treatment free of charge, thanks to the NHS. In her old age heart surgeons discovered she had a defected valve and clogged arteries, so she was given a double bypass free of charge on the NHS. She is now fit and well, living out her eighth decade.When my brother was born he was four weeks premature and weighed only 4 pounds 5 ounces. When he was born the umbilical cord wrapped around his throat and he didn’t breath for several minutes. But he survived and is fit and well, and the condition of his birth has had no lasting effects, thanks to the NHS.As a child I was long-sighted, with a lazy eye, and wore down my shoes due to weak ankle muscles. On the NHS I was given glasses, eye patches and supports for my shoes to prevent them from wearing out. Now I don’t wear glasses, don’t have a lazy eye and walk perfectly normally, thanks to the NHS.A couple of decades ago I was knocked unconscious by a thug in the street where I lived. I was found on the pavement by an off-duty police officer who called an ambulance that took me to my local emergency unit. There I was treated for concussion. All free of charge, thanks to the NHS.A couple of years ago I badly cut my knee on a broken ceramic basin at home. I patched it up as best I could and drove to my nearest minor injuries unit where I was quickly treated by a nurse, who bandaged up the wound and gave me a set of clean dressings to replace the ones he had used. All free.I could go on. But the reality is that virtually everyone in the UK owes their lives to the NHS. Yes it costs us some tax, but having a state founded health service makes treatment a third of what it costs in a private system such as that present in the USA. The poor can be treated just as easily as the rich, although the rich pay for the NHS through their taxes, the cost is probably less than private medical insurance due to NHS bills being a third of equivalent American bills.National Insurance, invented by the Liberal Party and expanded by the Labour Party, is an insurance premium that looks after the NHS, pensions and out-of-work benefits, so no-one should be sick, hungry or homeless in the UK. Unfortunately the two Conservative governments of Thatcher/Major and Cameron/May have implemented cuts that weaken the power of the NHS and cut benefits, to save money while ignoring the effect such cuts have on the health of the nation and the economic impact that increased sickness and poverty has on the economy. Nevertheless, the NHS, implemented by Aneurin Bevan when the UK was in vast debt to the USA after WWII, is the most splendid example of what a government can do if it invests money for the good of all by taxing the richest to save the poorest. As Nye Bevan said, “No society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”And this isn’t just a nostalgic view of someone that’s come out of the rationing of World World Two, with the illusive hope of modernity glistening in his watery eyes. This is the belief of many still today. As the actor Michael Sheen put it, “In 1945 Aneurin Bevan said: ‘We have been the dreamers, we have been the sufferers, and now, we are the builders.‡ And my God, how they built. And what they built. Every bit as much a wonder of the world as any architectural marvel, or any natural miracle ‡ The National Health Service. A truly monumental vision. The result of true representation. Of real advocacy. A symbol of equality, of fairness, and of compassion.” (The Guardian, 2 March 2021. Full text of Michael Sheen's speech) This is why the British are so proud of the NHS, and why it is the envy of so many nations around the World - even now in its weakened form, once again starved of cash by more Tory cuts and plans for irrational and expensive privatisation to extract profits from the sick and the poor.