"The NHS is in a crisis, and one that has been created by political decisions. These political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on junior doctors, and removal of the student nurses' bursary. Political decisions such as these cause reductions in care quality, longer waiting lists, anxiety for patients and staff, and dangerous staff shortages. Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people have placed an additional burden on the NHS. ... If all that sounds political, that is because the NHS has always been political. It was set up in the face of political opposition. It is Britain's finest public service and a cornerstone of our society, something that binds us together. People value the NHS, and are proud that we treat everyone equally when they are sick. The NHS brings out the best in us. We cannot lose it."
I won't even pretend to understand the nature of Stephen Hawking's legacy as a scientist (I've not attempted to read A Brief History Of Time, and a trip to Jodrell Bank at Christmas left my head spinning), so I'm happy to leave it to others to acclaim its significance. What I can wholeheartedly endorse, though, is his view on the NHS, expressed succinctly and unequivocally in this Guardian article from last year. So, whenever you hear or read a Tory eulogising Hawking's contribution to science, just remember that they're deliberately trying to kill off the very thing that kept him alive to make that contribution.