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Thoroughly decent chap, that one. Shame to lose him.
Such an admirable politician and an incredibly nice man. His death really does feel like the end of an era in British politics.
What a terrible week for the left.
...but as continued presence in, as an MP or otherwise, and a reminder of the fights very much worth fighting, he was exceptional.
A brilliant man. Whose central question of `If they can create full employment so we can go and kill a load of Germans, why on earth can't they do so so we can take care of our own citizens` has still not been satisfactorily answered 60 years later.
A sad, sad loss.
Q: `If they can create full employment so we can go and kill a load of Germans, why on earth can't they do so so we can take care of our own citizens`?
A: Self-interest and/or greed trumps apathy and/or naivety.
"I don't believe in the idea that you can build a new socialist party. There have been lots of attempts to do it, and they've all failed. There is a radical element, and that element ought to be able to live within the Labour party." sums up a lot of my political beliefs. Sad that he won't be able to contribute more but there's a lot of people in the Labour Party who will make sure his ideas live on.
"Having served for nearly half a century in the House of Commons, I now want more time to devote to politics..."
respect him for being very honest and a person that actually believed in what he said. What we'll be left with eventually politically is a 650 ubiquitous careerist MPs with no soul.
Nonetheless shame that he passed away.
ahead of child in a crashing aircraft. :D
wear the parachute, then hold the child.. everyone wins
he was so great on this.
Glad I was pushy enough to do so. What a guy. RIP.
RIP old chap.
Was one of very few political figures I could listen to without suspicion or cynicism.
A man who had respect for his fellow man, if you'll excuse the patriarchal language.
In a lifetime of amazing speaking, campaigning and writing, it seems really crass to cite his interview with Ali G, but I'm going to, because it stayed with me. Unlike almost everyone else, he didn't treat the interview as a way of looking hip, and he didn't think Ali G was an idiot. He just treated him like a total equal, and it just became a conversation. Destroyed the whole aim of the interview just through intelligence and courtesy.
I think it nicely illustrated something about the man.
Shed a tear on the way in when hearing about tears streaming down his face during his son's maiden commons speech, but I'm a sentimental fool.
The kind of person that makes you want to be a better person.
Listening to conservative and labour politicians and they all are clearly genuinely fond of him and they all had reservations about his politics and actions. But none of it felt like point-scoring.
Especially when compared to Boris Johnson contractually-obliged Bob Crow tribute.
About people who disagreed with him coming out of his speeches being like "He's talking nonsense, but it was wonderful"
- the secret memorial he created to suffragette Emily Davison:
It just found it incredible that of all the things Tony Benn had done this one was suddenly everywhere.
Theo can't reply. He's busy replying to every tweet about Tony Benn with 'old'
Off to add all this to DiS Beefs.
so his values will no doubt live on.
in order to galvanise the left against the right. keep it up, comrade.
...but it would be nice if his values were to live on. Although, perhaps with a bit more political constraint.
Glad you agree.
whilst there is fire in the eurosceptic belly.
are exactly the same.
Let him have this one lads.
Let's not be a complete bastard.
We dont drag that sort of thing into a political discussion.
"If we can find money to kill people, we can find money to help people."
- Adolf Hitler
I think it's often forgotten how much he did outside of parliament, before, during, and after he was sitting there.
I think he also understood that the parliamentary Labour party doesn't now represent the Labour party as a whole, and stayed true to the principles of those who believe in the party, rather than just those elected to represent it.
My grandfather, for example, and a lot of that generation who supported Harold Wilson's Labour, viewed him with a fair bit of suspicion, largely over the renouncement of his peerage and his nomenclature, and for the plotting that indirectly led to Thatcher's election and re-elections (although it's nothing compared to the contempt in which the Gang Of Four are held).
I think he's actually most popular amongst those under the age of 40, which is probably quite unusual for a politician who left parliament before most of them were able to vote.
Michael White's obituary in the Guardian today delves into the heart of exactly that. He created most of his enemies on the left - which is why you won't hear too many dissenting right-wing voices to mark his passing. Plenty on the left lay the blame at his feet for Labour's supposed unelectability during the 70s and 80s... Some never forgave him.
But yes his value comes for those under 40, like myself, as someone who was able to articulate the principles of social justice, international compassion and equality more clearly than anyone else, and with a visibility which extended beyond politics. I remember vividly during the Iraq War, he was filmed several times in discussions with members of the public (during demonstrations and whatnot) for he was always in the thick of it himself. I remember even seeing him get rinsed by a young pro-war Iraqi student who was battering his assertion that the UN sanctions were causing more harm than Saddam ever had. You could see the admiration, if not agreement, he had for the young lady berating him. It was quite something.
But yes, he will be fondly remembered by folk like us for those reasons. He was principled, accessible and genuine. That and the fact we never had to work with him, and never had to support a Labour Party with him wrecking havoc (justifable or otherwise) within it!
Surely the following line from Michael White's piece - "he was both loved and loathed in equal measure" - is overstating the case though?
Might've been true in 1981 but think a bit of critical distance and 33 years might have just tipped the scales in Benn's favour.
usually said by people who can't be bothered to research whether it was true or not.
He didn't say anything that trite for Thatcher's obit, I noticed...
“We will always remember him – not just due to www.Parliament.uk, which maintains a thorough record of UK politics, but also because of those little things that made him Tony. His face, his torso, his legs – many have said that these were excellent. Oh, and his diaries! I’ve seen them on shelves in people’s houses. People I admire. Actually, I remember the last one I picked up – Tony Benn, Diaries, Vol. 6 it said. Classic Tony”
- David Cameron
I met him at the Labour Party conference a few years back. My mum has a framed photo of me and him hanging on his wall. Genuine love for the man.
Seemed like a good, well-humoured, principled man. You can't ask more than that really. Couldn't name another British politician whose ever held my attention, tbh. Would be nice if sincere, humble people weren't so rare in politics, but hey ho.