The better part of the UK has been in mourning for Harry Leslie Smith, the 95-year-old crusader who came to public attention in 2014 with his campaign to save the National Health Service from destruction at the hands of a Conservative government.
If you’re a fan of Mr Smith, you’ll have read and heard so many eulogies that anything I say here about him will be superfluous. He was a valued reader of Vox Political, as I was a fan of him, but I didn’t know him well.
His finest moment was his speech to the Labour Party conference in 2014, when he spelled out the consequences of letting the Conservatives take our publicly-funded, publicly-provided, free-at-the-point-of-use health service away from us, as they have been doing piecemeal since 2010:
Harry decided to become a campaigner because he remembered living in a United Kingdom that did not have a National Health Service and wanted to do whatever he could to prevent a return to those – let’s face it – barbarous days.
You can get a taste of it in an extract from his book, Harry’s Last Stand, that you can read here.
It seems to me that people will propose many ways to commemorate this inspirational man – this suggestion from Rachael Swindon is a topical example:
Put Harry Leslie Smith on the new £50 note.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 28, 2018
They will all have merit, I’m sure.
But wouldn’t it be the best way to celebrate his life if we all do what we can to achieve his aim – and save the NHS from the Tories.
Harry knew he was close to the end of his life when he started talking about the NHS. He wasn’t doing it for himself – he did it for us.
Those of you who have followed This Site for a long time will know that I believe the best possible leadership is leadership by example – and I would say Harry has shown us the best possible leadership.
So let’s do something for him: Take up the torch he has left behind, follow his example and finish the job he started – by speaking out publicly against Tory dismantling of the NHS wherever we find it.
During his last few days, Twitter-based fans were urged to tweet using the hashtag #istandwithHarry
We can’t stand with Harry any more. He’s made his Last Stand. It’s time for us to make our stand instead.
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I think it is time for every person who WORKS for a living, to stand up and defend OUR NHS. The rich have been removing our living standards for far too long. They have been inviting foreigners in to do our work (often at a far lower rate) and have said they will continue to do this after Brexit! We have seen the worst of the right wingers advertise jobs with “Englishmen need not apply” at the bottom of the advert. They have killed decent apprenticeships, they have replaced factories where people could earn a living with automation(As seen on Greg Wallace’s Programme) so, they make and sell their products and our people do not earn the money to pay for them. Now they are “Out to get” our NHS. Surely we can stop all this knifing, fighting and robbing each other, and turn our attention on those who pay themselves far too much, Pay the Lord Justice millions of pounds to ensure they go along with the unfair treatment of the people, and watch us all slowly die when they stop the subsistence payments they made essential for the worst off’s survival. Enough is enough. Let us move to stop their unfair treatment of the people they call scum. That’s us!
Great I’ve retired with the other 28 million, so I will sit back and let those who work fight for me , not forgetting Harry was retired , should I bother voting Labour with the other people who are retired .
We will never see his like again. He was no less than a hero #IstandwithHarry