A bad couple of days, we have lost two giants of the political left, Bob Crow and now Tony Benn, we are still standing though and the struggle will go on.
A couple of years ago Tony Benn was doing a book tour and was to speak at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, 3 invites were sent to Renfrewshire Council to attend as invited guests as our constituency of Renfrewshire is where Glasgow Airport who were sponsoring the tour is located, I got one of those tickets because Labour leader of the council Jim Harkins found himself dealing with some emergency or other and had to drop out, lucky coincidence number 1. We, (provost Ronnie Burns, Cllr. Tom Williams and myself) turned up at the venue over an hour early by mistake, lucky coincidence number 2. We were shown in to the invited guest reception area where we took the only table there to wait, it was a stand around and mingle affair and we were first in and it was the only table and it had 5 chairs. Minutes later in came Tony Benn with his assistant and we sat there mesmerised as he looked over and we realised he was coming over to ask if he could join us, happy coincidence number 3.
I take what some might consider to be a simple stance when I say ‘if the Labour Party is good enough for Tony Benn then it is good enough for me’. Tony Benn is by no means unique in this regard, there are a great many fine Socialists like him in the party but he is famous and as such he’s a good example to use. I watched a tribute programme last night on Tony Benn and was struck by the twisted logic that was used by some of his opponents like Healey, Kinnock and Hattersley, essentially what they were saying was that his opposition to them was divisive and their opposition to him was not divisive?. I think there is great anger and jealousy now among those who fought these bitter battles with him, it was never anything else but left V right and the latter are regarded as the people who let the party down while the former Tony Benn, is regarded as a Labour hero. Be prepared for more settling of old scores over the next while as the right wingers regroup to traduce his memory.
Politics is a funny old game. Tony Benn R.I.P.