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Gresham College: Prof. Vernon Bogdanor – Postwar Political Crises in Britain – #1/6 – 1951 National Health Service


This series from 2015 is most interesting, even if you do not necessarily accept Bogdanor’s perceptions and interpretations of the events.

About this series

A series of lectures to analyse six political crises since 1945, crises which shook the British political system.

This lecture

The NHS had been established by the post-war Labour government in 1948. By 1951, there were already heavy pressures on health spending. In addition, after the Korean War broke out in 1950, Britain decided to rearm. In his budget, the Chancellor, Hugh Gaitskell, sought to balance his budget by imposing charges on false teeth and spectacles. Two cabinet ministers resigned in protest – Aneurin Bevan, architect of the health service, and Harold Wilson, the future Prime Minister. The crisis provoked a running battle between Left and Right in the Labour Party which lasted for over forty years.

Vernon Bogdanor CBE

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Law, current Visiting Gresham Professor of Political History, Research Professor at King’s College London, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Prior to 2010, Professor Bogdanor was a Fellow of Brasenose College and Professor of Government at Oxford University.

He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. His books include The People and the Party System, Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution, Power and the People, and Devolution in the United Kingdom. He is a frequent contributor to TV, radio and the press and is a sometimes special advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities (1982-83), and the House of Commons Public Service Committee. Most recently he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the Political Studies Association.

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